Consumer fashion is competitive. So first impressions count.
If you can make a customer remember the first time they put on your clothing, chances are you've secured a repeat purchase. The best way for your brand to create those memorable first experiences, is to deliver apparel with a premium feel.
That means sourcing high quality fabrics and blanks.
Finding a wholesale blank supplier that can consistently provide great-feeling, durable fabrics involves some trial and error. But making the right choice will help elevate your brand to the top of customer's minds. Word spreads, and good word-of-mouth is the best sales tool in the book.
With the right research and questions, it's possible to find the right wholesale clothing supplier for your brand. Here’s how to start.
How to Find a Clothing Manufacturer
The first step to finding the right clothing supplier is knowing where to look. The first option usually won't be your best option, so researching upfront will help you avoid wasting time and running into obvious pitfalls.
Of course, you can use search engines to start compiling your list. However, if you want to increase your odds of striking gold, consider the following two options:
Find a Domestic Wholesale Marketplace
A wholesale marketplace is a onestop shop that connects small businesses with wholesale suppliers. Most of these marketplaces aren't exclusively for clothing, but they'll feature a wide range of wholesale clothing suppliers. The variety they offer makes them a great starting point for your research, because you use them to quickly compare prices, available styles, minimum order quantities, and fulfillment times.
Use domestic wholesale marketplaces to get a strong first impression of who the local players are in your area, then start networking.
Here are some examples of Canadian wholesale clothing marketplaces:
1. Fashion Wholesale Canada (FWCanada): This is a comprehensive online wholesale directory dedicated to the Canadian fashion industry. It includes clothing, accessories, and footwear categories.
2. Wholesale Clothing Canada: This platform offers a range of clothing items for men, women, and children. They offer a varied range of styles and designs, including eco-friendly options.
3. The Globe Showroom: Based in Toronto, the Globe Showroom offers a range of designer and high-end clothing, accessories, and footwear at wholesale prices.
4. Alanic Wholesale: This is one of the top Canadian wholesale clothing suppliers, providing a variety of apparel, including activewear, casual clothing, and more.
5. Wordans: A popular Canadian-based wholesale marketplace offering a wide array of clothing, including t-shirts, hoodies, and other items from popular brands.
6. BlankClothing.ca: Ideal for businesses looking for blank apparel for customization, it offers bulk clothing at wholesale prices, including t-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops.
7. T-shirt.ca: Known for their wide variety of plain tees, they also offer other clothing items at wholesale prices.
Remember, when choosing a wholesale marketplace, consider factors such as pricing, product quality, variety, and their return policy.
Network for Recommendations
The great thing is, you don't have to go at it alone. Plenty of other brand owners will help you out, if you take the initiative to introduce yourself. Of course, some are protective and don't want to help a competitor - but many remember being in your shoes and will be happy to help out someone eager.
Be ambitious with your outreach. Find brands you admire, and start reaching out to the right people. Use LinkedIn, send out DMs on Instagram, and shoot cold emails. Connecting with just one experienced person can help you gain industry knowledge that's otherwise not accessible through public channels.
Trade shows can be another great option. Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada is a great example. Trade shows give you the option of connecting with both local and overseas manufacturers. You can also build rapport with other clothing startups and get a better idea of which suppliers others in the industry work with.
Once you know your options, it's time to start reaching out to suppliers and comparing prices.
Getting a Fair Price: How to know you’re getting a reasonable quote from a Supplier.
Many clothing manufacturers offer discounted prices for wholesale buyers. See these prices to compare by creating an account with them.
Request Quotations & Compare Prices
A Request for Quotation (RFQ) is a formal document that businesses use to ask suppliers or manufacturers for detailed information about their products, services, and pricing. In the context of a clothing brand, creating an RFQ allows you to gather essential information and compare prices from multiple clothing manufacturers, ultimately helping you choose the best fit for your business needs.
Once you have shortlisted potential manufacturers, prepare a detailed RFQ document, which should include information about your company, an overview of the products you need, specifications, customization requirements, quantities, and desired delivery timelines. Be as specific as possible to ensure that you receive accurate quotes and avoid misunderstandings.
After getting quotations from the manufacturers, you can start comparing prices. When comparing prices, consider not only the unit cost but also factors like shipping costs, taxes, and any additional fees.
Comparing prices between clothing manufacturers through the RFQ process is important for several reasons. First, it helps you find a manufacturer that offers competitive pricing, which can significantly impact your profit margins. Second, comparing prices allows you to identify potential hidden costs or discrepancies that might affect your business in the long run.
Finally, having a clear understanding of pricing structures from different manufacturers enables you to make informed decisions when choosing a manufacturing partner, ensuring that your clothing brand has a strong foundation for growth and success.
Understand each Supplier's Minimum Order Quantity
Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) refers to the minimum amount you need to order for a manufacturer to offer supply. Minimums orders vary depending on the manufacturer. Can range anywhere from $250 to thousands of dollars.
If you're just starting out, it's important to make sure a supplier's MOQ fits the amount of clothing your brand will source. A lower MOQ will help your brand manage inventory effectively, reducing your risk of overstocking and tying up cash that could be used for other needs in your business.
Is this supplier responsive to calls, emails, and follow-up questions?
The finishing is not quite how you want it. The shirt colors are just a little off. You were hoping for the fabric to feel a bit denser.
Sometimes stuff turns out differently than you hoped. And if anything goes wrong - an unresponsive supplier can be not just a headache, but also a huge expense.
When you first introduce your brand to a supplier, take note of how quickly they respond and the quality of their response. Do they sound interested in learning about the unique needs of your brand? Are they professional? Do they answer questions in detail? These are important hints for what a long-term business relationship with that supplier will look like.
Asking detailed questions can help you gauge a supplier's responsiveness and investment in customer service. Prepare a list of specific questions related to their products, pricing, production capabilities, and customization options. Include inquiries about their quality control processes, lead times, and minimum order quantities. Gauge their responsiveness based on how thoroughly and timely they answer your questions.
Request a Sample
Ask the supplier for samples of their products. This will not only give you an opportunity to assess the quality of their offerings but will also serve as a test of their responsiveness and willingness to meet your needs. Monitor the time it takes for them to send the samples and their follow-up communication.
How to Vet a Supplier's Reputation
1. Evaluating Supplier References: To assess a clothing supplier's reputation, one crucial step is to ask for references from their previous clients. By contacting these references, you can gather valuable insights into the supplier's overall reliability, product quality, and customer service. Be sure to ask specific questions about their experiences with the supplier, focusing on aspects such as order accuracy, communication, and problem resolution.
2. Clarifying Payment Terms: Understanding and negotiating the payment terms with a potential clothing supplier is vital to ensure a healthy business relationship. Transparent and well-defined payment terms can help avoid misunderstandings and disputes in the future. Inquire about the supplier's preferred payment methods, credit terms, and any applicable discounts for early payments or bulk orders. Assessing these factors can provide insights into the supplier's financial stability and willingness to accommodate your business needs.
3. Assessing Delivery Dates and Lead Times: Reliable and timely delivery is crucial for maintaining inventory levels and meeting customer demands. When vetting a clothing supplier, ask about their delivery dates and lead times to ensure they align with your business requirements. Investigate the supplier's track record of meeting promised delivery dates, and inquire about their policies for handling delays or unexpected circumstances. This information can be a key indicator of the supplier's dependability and commitment to fulfilling orders promptly.
Sometimes proximity is your safest bet. Finding a supplier near you can make the vetting process easier and lower risks for your clothing brand.
Here are three advantages of going local:
- Environmental sustainability: Supporting local suppliers promotes more sustainable and eco-friendly practices, which are increasingly important to consumers. Working with local suppliers minimizes transportation distances and costs. In turn, it reduces your clothing brand’s carbon footprint.
- Supply chain reliability: Sourcing clothing blanks from a local supplier can ensure a more reliable supply chain. You're less susceptible to transportation disruptions. And communication is usually more straightforward, allowing for quicker response times to unforeseen challenges and changes in demand.
- Quality control: Quality control is easier if you can just drive and meet with a manufacturer face-to-face. Being able to visit your supplier can also give your brand a strong vantage point, because you can get a glimpse and their process, standards, and ethicality. Gut instinct is powerful, so meeting in person can often be the best way to make sure your decision is correct.
Do You Need a Manufacturer for A Clothing Business?
As a clothing brand, you might be wondering if you should partner with a custom clothing manufacturer to level up your game. To help you decide, let's dive into the advantages of working with a custom clothing manufacturer and the factors you should consider before taking the plunge.
Advantages of Working with a Custom Clothing Manufacturer
- Expertise: A custom clothing manufacturer has the knowledge and experience needed to bring your designs to life. They understand the ins and outs of the production process, which means you can focus on building your brand while they handle the manufacturing.
- Consistency: With a custom clothing manufacturer, you can expect a consistent level of quality across all your garments. They'll make sure your products meet your specifications and maintain the high standards your brand deserves.
- Scalability: As your brand grows, a custom clothing manufacturer can help you scale your production to meet increasing demand. They can handle large quantities of orders, ensuring you have enough inventory to keep your customers satisfied.
- Customization: A custom clothing manufacturer offers a wide range of options when it comes to materials, styles, colors, and sizes. This means you can create unique garments that stand out from the competition and truly represent your brand's aesthetic.
Factors to Consider Before Partnering with a Custom Clothing Manufacturer
- Cost: Custom manufacturing can be more expensive than sourcing blank apparel. Make sure you have the budget to cover the increased costs associated with custom production.
- Minimum Order Quantities: Some custom clothing manufacturers have minimum order requirements, which may not be suitable for smaller streetwear brands. Check with potential manufacturers to ensure their order requirements align with your business needs.
- Timeline: Custom manufacturing can take longer than sourcing blank apparel. Be prepared to wait for your garments to be produced, and factor in any potential delays when planning your product launches.
- Communication: Working with a custom clothing manufacturer requires clear and effective communication. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your manufacturer's processes, and establish a reliable communication channel to ensure your vision is accurately translated into the final product.
Assessing Your Clothing Brand's Needs
To determine whether you need a custom clothing manufacturer for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
- How important is customization to your brand? If creating unique, one-of-a-kind garments is crucial to your brand's identity, a custom clothing manufacturer may be the right choice.
- Are you willing to invest in higher production costs? If you have the budget to cover the increased costs associated with custom manufacturing, partnering with a custom clothing manufacturer can help elevate your brand.
- Is your brand ready to scale? If your streetwear brand is growing and you need to increase production to meet demand, a custom clothing manufacturer can help you expand without compromising on quality.
FAQs about Domestic Clothing Manufacturers
1. Why should I consider a domestic clothing manufacturer for my apparel business?
When planning your clothing line, partnering with a domestic clothing manufacturer can offer several advantages.
Not only do we provide creative liberty for your unique fashion designs, but we also uphold high-quality standards, contributing to the superior craftsmanship of your products. Our commitment to ethical labor practices and sustainability also enhances your brand's reputation, attracting consumers who are conscious about a brand's values.
2. What benefits does a local clothing manufacturer offer over an overseas one?
Choosing a local, domestic manufacturer ensures faster turnaround times due to reduced shipping durations, contributing to a smoother supply chain and quicker product launches. Despite the potentially higher costs compared to overseas manufacturers, the quality assurance, ethical working standards, and enhanced brand image can justify the investment. You can also highlight your partnership with domestic manufacturers in marketing efforts to resonate with consumer preferences for locally made goods.
3. How can I identify a reliable domestic clothing manufacturer?
Identifying a reliable clothing manufacturer involves a blend of research, networking, and industry involvement. Begin by attending local industry events and trade shows, where you can meet potential domestic manufacturers like us. Online directories and search engines can provide additional leads. However, personal recommendations and industry networking often yield the most fruitful partnerships. We pride ourselves on our established reputation and positive reviews from our clients, standing testament to our reliability and quality.
4. Are there alternatives to partnering with a domestic clothing manufacturer?
Yes, there are alternatives such as wholesale and dropshipping. However, these models do not offer the same level of control over product quality and design customization that working with a domestic manufacturer does. While dropshipping eliminates the need for inventory management, it doesn't allow for personal touches or quality inspections before the product reaches your customer. Working with a domestic manufacturer like us ensures your unique designs are realized to your exact standards, ultimately delivering a product that genuinely represents your brand.
5. What factors should be taken into account when choosing a domestic clothing manufacturer?
When selecting a domestic clothing manufacturer, consider aspects such as quality, price, delivery times, and the manufacturer's experience. Opt for a manufacturer who can provide superior quality products at a competitive price point. Consider shipping times, particularly if quick delivery is essential to your business model. Also, select a manufacturer with a proven track record and positive client reviews.
Finding the right wholesale clothing supplier is a crucial step in building a successful and sustainable fashion brand. The right partnership can be a strong foundation for your brand’s growth. Don't forget to consider local options (read: us), as they offer advantages in terms of environmental sustainability, supply chain reliability, and quality control.
Investing time and effort in choosing the right supplier will help you create memorable first experiences for your customers, securing repeat purchases and fostering positive word-of-mouth. So, take initiative, explore your options, and make an informed decision.