The apparel business is a fast paced, time sensitive and price point driven business. Bottomline. That being said, how should you source your product’s materials? Not everyone lives in downtown LA where the fashion district is a block away and for those who may live in Southern California do not have the time to sit in traffic for hours and then drive around to look for parking. For everyone who does not live in DTLA or are new to the industry, here are a few options you can choose:
1. SOURCE ONLINE
One of the best options would be to visit fabric.com. You can place your order for material and even have it drop shipped to where you plan to have it produced (dye house, cutter, sewer, etc.). This will save you both time and money. Some of the benefits here are the time ability to have them send samples for less of the cost it would take to drive there yourself, plus you can shop 24/7 no matter where you happen to be.
You can relieve yourself stress and the time it takes from your business when you hire a broker. Experienced brokers usually know the right sources and have built solid relationships within the industry. Giving them your specs and ideas to move forward, should lead them to providing you a great finished product. At the same time, they may be able to suggest a better, more cost effective product than what you originally may have had in mind. A broker will save your the precious time you need to focus on your marketing and sales and well as providing you top quality materials.
Since this business is very tight on profit margins as well as the expectation of producing a high quality product from those margins, trusting your manufacturer source it all and produce it to spec could be in your best interest. If the manufacturer is a vertical company like some are in China or even here in the USA, having them source everything maybe the most ideal way to go. Often times, they may find available fabric in house that can be used helping both your bottomline as well as helping them get rid of inventory at a fraction of the cost. When doing your large unit productions, this route may be your best way to go but is not ideal for boutique, niche lines with small production runs.
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself, how many things do you personally have time to manage? Do you have more time than money? Would you rather focus on sales and marketing or can you afford time to drive around and make deliveries all day? Only you know your best option to move forward…