Finding the perfect garment manufacturer to produce your clothes can feel impossible. There is an overwhelming amount of options online but most factories have awful websites making them difficult to find. In fact, finding a garment factory is often still conducted via word of mouth. And that's just finding a factory, not assessing their ethical and sustainability standards and quality. So once you've done the hard work of finding a garment factory, what do you do to get the highest quality production possible? Creating a great relationship when working with your garment factory is key to great production, and here's 5 ways to manage that.
1 | Understand cultural dynamics
The key to unlocking a great relationship with your garment factory is first understanding where they are coming from. Study the work and communication differences of their culture online. Take a lengthy visit to the country(ideally for your first production run), spend time with locals, and get to know their celebrated holidays. This way you have a framework for what kind of communication and work ethic to expect compared to your own.
2 | Use clear language
Similar to understanding cultural differences is remembering English might not be your factory partner's first language. When communicating across language barriers you want to be as clear and simplified in your language as possible. Be kind but direct. Being overly flowery and apologetic can be misunderstood for decreased priorities and you do not want that.
3 | Set clear communication standards
When working with a garment factory it's important to schedule regular communication up front. Learn what form of communication they prefer to use the most and you'll find you get a better (faster) response. Setting weekly or sometimes daily checkins during production is crucial to catching any mistakes in production.
4 | Define every detail
Never assume your garment factory understands what you mean as many things can be lost in translation and cultural/style differences. Describe in detail every aspect of your garment and use photos whenever possible to avoid incorrect assumptions.
5 | Have a Backup Plan
In a perfect world, your production arrives on time all beautifully completed to the upmost standards of your design. But as we are all humans, things happen and it's better to be prepared for them. The current coronavirus delays in production are a great example of this. Having clear terms in place for delayed or damaged production will set standards and a policy for recourse for both you and the factory.
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