MOQs (minimum order quantity) don't just determine if you can work with a factory, but when used correctly they can also increase your sustainability. The minimum order quantity starts at the fabric level and typically determines how much production you purchase from there. So if you get really good with pattern cutting and design you can use all of that fabric to eliminate waste. Here's some ideas for designing for the minimum order quantity to increase sustainability.
Start with your minimum bulk yardage of fabric, and design into it to use it all. Designing into the minimum units at the production level, is all about smart pattern cutting. But pattern cutting wouldn’t do much unless you made your own markers, so think through this.
Planning collections more than a season out to create an assortment that would cover the fabric minimums for longer than one collection, etc. Those are just some ideas. The key is to reduce and minimize waste, while also being able to source and procure materials and manufacturing
Source Stock or Running Fabric
While stock fabric allows to avoid minimum order quantities all together, you should still think sustainably when designing the fabric you do use to maximize it's potential. Start by requesting the stock and running fabrics from the factory so you can assess what you can work with to design well.
Watch Out for Other Minimums
Don't forget to check with the rest of your supply chain as well. For example, if a dying facility says their MOQ is 50lbs per each color but you only have 25lbs of shirts, then may need to design a couple other styles in the same fabric and color to meet the minimum and they all get dyed together. Again, by planning your designs and collections in advance you can pre-produce future collections to best use the materials, labor, and minimums of all partners in your supply chain.
Once you build relationships with factories, MOQ's will be come easier to navigate. You will be able to get the design you want and not be wasteful by having extra product sitting in a warehouse. Not only will you be less wasteful but you will be saving your business money, and helping your profit margins, that you can use to create future designs. Learn more about how MOQ and production with our production pro course.
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