Sportswear sourcing – Make sure you ask the right questions…

As a brand founder and owner, you know just how much work and investment go into the building of your brand and products in order to make it perfect. When you are putting everything into your collection, there is no room for any error that can jeopardise your success.

One area that can become a common pitfall for many founders is sourcing. This is essentially deciding what fabric is going to be used when creating your sportswear garments and also who will manufacture the clothes? While this might sound simple enough, without the proper knowledge, sourcing can become a complete nightmare.

Research, that’s the name of the game here. As with anything else, if you are going into it with no idea what you’re looking for, you aren’t going to get very far or select the wrong choice. When you choose a fabric mill or factory, you should have done a complete and thorough research and gathered enough information to know that you are making the very best choice for your brand.

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Factories and fabric mills that produce the best fabric and sportswear are not desperate fort your business. They produce for the sportswear giants and even spending time to discuss your project isn’t high on their agenda. While there is no such thing as a “Stupid question” and it’s always better to ask than guess, some questions shouldn’t be the focus when negotiating with a factory to even consider working with you. We highly suggest that your leading question is not “How Much” as this will be dictated by quantity, the style, components used and features and ask yourself, If my closest competitor produces here and can afford it, so can I.

Also, never ask a mill of the factory to share what another brand is doing. Put yourself in their shoes, would you share the latest development of an established customer with a start-up that has no guarantees of success?

So you want to produce in a great factory and think you have a concept to help convince them to work with you. Do you have the expertise and information to make this happen? All factories work to a standard and will require precise designs, tech packs and a BOM for them to create the first sample. If you turn up to your initial meeting with a sketch on the back of a fag packet then they won’t take you seriously. This process cannot be compromised otherwise you leave things to interpretation and you can imagine what happens when this is left to chance. You have a very fine idea of what the product looks like or needs to perform so why would you leave this to a factory to try to guess?

Blue Associates Sportswear has been sourcing performance kits for over 21 years and works with many start-ups, creating their collections and guiding them through the above pitfalls. We manage the design, tech packs and BOM and also the samples and production to make sure the relationship between your brand and the perfect supplier is as smooth as possible. The advantage of working through us is our ability to achieve much smaller minimums than factories would normally provide to a new customer because they trust us to bring them clients that will become the next big thing.

For more information, please contact us.

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