How to keep sportswear manufacturing costs low…

Many brands have a very specific target consumer and price point in mind and want to create a collection that is as competitive as possible. There is an old saying “You get what you pay for” and this is very true.

There are however some tricks that can be used to help reduce the costs of your production without compromising the quality or chasing the lowest labour costs and cutting corners.

Below is a list of the key secrets to keeping manufacturing costs low.


Where possible, use fabric over several styles. Fabric mills have minimums and if you don’t reach these minimums, you pay a surcharge. One way to reduce costs is to use one fabric over several styles where suitable so that your order with the fabric mill is larger and therefore carries a smaller surcharge. Perhaps this fabric is treated differently between styles with colour and print being a few ways to differentiate between styles.

By limiting the fabrics used, you also reduce the development and testing times too as you don’t need to lab dip and match several materials and create several wash care labels/prints.


The more you order the lower the unit costs. Often, we get enquiries from entrepreneurs wanting to produce 50 garments to launch, however the overall cost to produce such as small volume isn’t much cheaper than ordering 250 per style as the factory, components and fabrics wont charge such a surcharge because they are producing such a small volume.

It takes the same amount of design, development and sampling time and energy to produce 10 garments as it does 10,000 garments. Factories, mills and component suppliers wouldn’t make any profit on supplying such a tiny volume, so they all add on huge surcharges to produce such a small volume.

Rather than creating a wider range with more styles, perhaps think about a core range with higher volumes so your costs will be more competitive and then grow the collection.


The same theory goes across the branded trims, keeping them limited and increasing their volume will help drive costs lower. Think about using the same print or embroidery across many styles to save on the set up and development costs and also the ease for the factory to print or embroider everything together.

Also consider how much branding is actually required on a garment. Sure, you are proud of your brand and want the world to know about it, but sometime less is more and the cleaner and simpler the branding, the more visible it becomes.


How you ship the goods has a large bearing on the cost of your sportswear. The lowest cost option is by sea, however only if the volume makes sense to ship it this way. Other ways to import goods is to fly it in via air freight or use a courier and when time is restricted but budgets limited, perhaps a blend of sea and air could be used.


EU production costs more that say India or Pakistan. China and Vietnam are in the middle and they all have their place.

At Blue Associates Sportswear we place your production in the factory most suited to your brand and products requirements. Our factories are selected based on service and quality rather than price alone. Producing something cheaply quite often becomes far more expensive when you get multiple returns and lost customers.

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