Do you find yourself on the brink of starting a fashion apparel company? You know you the basics, maybe you have funding, but you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of the complicated labyrinth that is sourcing and production? I’d love to de-mystify a couple of things for you. During my time as a Production Coordinator for sweaters at Tory Burch, I learned what to anticipate when starting a production run. Here's the 3 things to expect in fashion production.
1 | Raw Materials
Raw materials include anything from fabric to buttons to trims like bias binding, to labels and zippers. Depending on where you purchase these from, they can get expensive, fast. Not to mention, the shipping and duties costs added on. One tip to consider, if for example you’re a North American based fashion company, you can eliminate duty fees by ordering raw materials from North, Central, or South America. Another challenge to keep in mind is, raw materials can sometimes “expire” and or go bad. For example, knit fabric when sitting in a storage facility in a humid climate goes bad faster than if it were stored in a dry climate.
2 | Pre-Production
For every style you’d like to produce, first you’ll need a perfect sample. And by perfect I mean an exact blueprint of everything about your style; every style line (sewing line) correct, every button placement correct, and even your lining in place. By having your sample made perfectly, you’ll be able to calculate your fabric and trim consumption per style. This is how you’ll know how much bulk fabric to order. Keep in mind that when calculating consumption for woven goods, you’ll be adding up the yards used. For knit goods, you calculate this by how much weight of yarn is used.
Ideally, your sample would be made by the same factory you’ve chosen to also do your production. If your sample is not made by the same factory, you are setting yourself up for a risky situation. There will be differences between each factory and you’ll want your production factory to have made a sample before they start the line of production, whether it’s 10 pieces or 10,000, so you can see and approve it. You want to make sure your sample is being executed the way you envisioned it.
3 | Production
At this point, you have your raw materials and your sample is made. If you’re having trouble finding and choosing a factory email THR3EFOLD now to get started. Another challenge in Production to expect is DELAYS! They almost always happen. I would pad your calendar by about 4 more months than you’d expect. This will allow for delays in the raw materials ordering time and in production. Similarly to expecting delays, expect this process to be expensive, especially if you’re producing in the US. You’d be surprised how quickly $20,000 can be used up, but have no fear! There are resources out there to help you get equipped so nothing takes you by surprise.
If you’d like help getting started, I recommend signing up for the THR3EFOLD Consulting Package today. You'll get a 2 hour consultation on production or development and 2 hour consultation on social media and marketing. Plus a helpful guide sheet for each area that you can refer to for tips, tricks, and tools to help get you going. Follow me on Insta for an inside look into the life of a designer (and all the production woes that go with it) @Lindy__Fox!