Hi Dessy, help! Do I need to be fabric sourcing my materials and hardware, before contacting a factory or can a factory support me in sourcing this?
~ Magda, Poland
YES! Fabric sourcing raw materials in advance of manufacturing is an essential part of the development process. Only you – the designer – know what is the end product that you would like to create, what your target market is, at what price you would sell it at and if your materials are part of your unique selling point. A factory cannot know all this information and as such cannot do fabric sourcing the correct components for you.
The raw materials are what makes or breaks a product. You can have the most brilliant idea but if your materials are too cheap or too costly – then your product will not sell.
Fabric sourcing, while being aware of your business plans, is also an important activity for your brand. This cannot be delegated. Not only would you have to be mindful of the prices of the raw materials, but also the minimums required for production later on and the delivery timelines. Be careful not to over commit to a large volume minimum or order to meet a price point or buy raw materials that will be difficult to make and delay your whole production.
So fabric sourcing on your own, going to a factory with all your design worked out and materials sourced, is the best way to ensure a smooth development process.
However, if you are looking for something in particular that you cannot find or wish to improve on, by all means, speak to your factory and ask for their help or advise. Good and experienced manufacturers will have contacts in the industry they can refer you to or suggest alternatives.
Having a starting point for discussion and base from which you can improve is the best way to build a good healthy relationship with your manufacturer and build a successful business and brand with a long-term view.
Related reading: How to Source Fabric Efficiently?
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