How can I find manufacturers and distributors for a new business?
I am looking to create a new line of clothing geared towards individuality and moving kids and adults into more professional and classier outfits that retain expression.
You can try alibaba.com, made-in-china.com and globalsource.com if you are looking to manufacture overseas. The sites for most of these manufacturers may not be reliable and I would suggest hiring an agent if you cant travel overseas yourself. As a designer I am currently living in Bali producing my own apparel line. As an agent, I am sourcing ethical manufacturers here as well as focusing on sourcing organic and natural fabrics/materials. I can understand how daunting it can be try to figure all this out, that is why I decided to come out here myself.
If you have more questions, I'd be more than happy to help.
Steve This is a TUFF space to enter. Many of the previous comments are spot on. You can fund inventory the way almost all clothing brands do by using factoring. But you will need designers, sample cutters, a huge inventory and supply chain to be ready to fill orders and this startup money is difficult to find. I would recommend that you attend and walk the MAGIC Show in Las Vegas. This is not for magicians but its the largest clothing show in the world. Network. Ask questions. Attend the seminars. Then decide how feasible this is. Good luck!
I would check hoovers.com. To start you could use one of their free trial periods, and if it is beneficial, sign up to use it on an ongoing basis. If you are looking locally you can also try SCORE. My wife found a manufacturer for her invention through the local SCORE office.
Best way is to locate them based on the type of product you have. If manufactures does not have to re-tool their shops to meet your requirements then your association with them will go smoother.
We can assist you in finding a manufacturer as well as provide as sales team to show the line to retail customers.
We work with only vetted vendors.
If you use Alibaba or similar service be careful.
Do you have the designs ready to go?
Do you have the financing available to produce the line?
What is your timeframe for moving forward?
What are your plans for "next" seasons designs/colors?
Steven: I'm a brand builder, marketer and international business consultant - maybe useful to your objectives ? Dont know ? Quite resourceful ! Must say I love the description you have given above! "geared towards individuality and moving kids and adults into more professional and classier outfits" ... its about time ! Regards - Andrew
All depends on what your estimated retail price will be - will you sell to retail or have your own chain? Or sell online in your own mall/site? The usual suspects are all great for manufacturing - you just have to go traveling for a while and see who can provide the best product for the price you want to buy at. There will be a lot of months in research and design development until you can build up a cohesive line of clothing to sell to your target market. So that means, you have to be passport ready and visa ready to go all around Asia, Indian Ocean and possibly North Africa. But first, have you really done due diligence on researching what you plan to make is truly marketable? PM me if you need my assistance.
To have the best suppliers on board is one of the key decisions you have to make. If something happens to your supply chain your business will suffer.
Thus it is important you know in detail what you are looking for and what not before you talk to anybody.
If you are looking for a supplier multiple criteria are important:
- Quality: This should also include how are you going to audit the quality of your products if your supplier is not close to you. You might want to have a sample done first which would be the benchmark for your quality.
- total cost: Cost will define your pricing on the market. Do you know what prices you are going to sell for?
- delivery: Response to orders and delivery on time
- packaging: How are you going to pack your clothes?
- customs: Depending on the region you are dealing with you will have different import regulations.
- supplier location: based on your "company policy" you may not want to deal with certain regions,
- and their may be more based on your specific requirements.
Once you are sure about your answers you can start to go to look for your supplier via suggested channels, e.g. Chamber of Commerce, textile manufactures organizations, social media and more.
In the end you have to build a strong relationship with your supplier, especially in the start up phase as this will define the success of your business.
I could assist you with the manufacture part if you would like to do that in India. We provide "practical advice that works" to SMB owners and have done this previously for a U.K. brand.
Steven, global sourcing sites such as this are a good start http://www.globalsources.com/manufacturers/x/Clothing/Thailand-Suppliers-of-Products.html, start small to make sure you are getting the quality you want etc. I have found it easier to do business in south east asia but it will depend on your background and if you have a trusted rep on ground in the source country.
Hello Steve, Suppliers are essential to any retail business. Depending on your inventory selection, you may need a few or dozens of suppliers. Sometimes suppliers will contact you through their sales representatives, but more often, particularly when you are starting out, you will need to locate them yourself -- either at trade shows, wholesale showrooms and conventions, or through buyers' directories, industry contacts, the business-to-business Yellow Pages and trade journals, or websites.
Suppliers can be divided into four general categories.
Manufacturers. Most retailers will buy through independent representatives or company salespeople who handle the wares of different companies. Prices from these sources are usually lowest, unless the retailer's location makes shipping freight expensive.
Distributors. Also known as wholesalers, brokers or jobbers, distributors buy in quantity from several manufacturers and warehouse the goods for sale to retailers. Although their prices are higher than a manufacturer's, they can supply retailers with small orders from a variety of manufacturers. (Some manufacturers refuse to fill small orders.) A lower freight bill and quick delivery time from a nearby distributor often compensate for the higher per-item cost.
Independent craftspeople. Exclusive distribution of unique creations is frequently offered by independent craftspeople, who sell through reps or at trade shows.
Import sources. Many retailers buy foreign goods from a domestic importer, who operates much like a domestic wholesaler. Or, depending on your familiarity with overseas sources, you may want to travel abroad to buy goods.
Are you looking to find a test market yet? In your own backyard? Is there a 'Merchandise Mart' which is comprised of manufacturers reps that are open to new ideas.
Hello Steven , Its not difficult to find manufacturers for new business , Social media can it very easy for you , I used to contact manufacturers in china ,India , asking for details a bout different items , giving them shapes or specific required details , they can get you what ever you need , even they produce for you the exact models according to their quantities , Most of the brands are produced in these countries , even some of the traders take the samples to china to duplicate the brand , you can get Distributors through chambers of commerce for any item , by direct contacts , check their profiles before any deal , you can choose them according to their records available .
There are one or more trade shows in the US for just about any product line. Go to one or more and talk to as many possible sources as possible. If you are not
VERY familiar with this environment find someone that is familiar to get some insight. If you are not VERY familiar with this industry get a partner that is or somebody will eat you alive, so to speak. That applies to any product line.
have you talked to anyone about this product to see if there is a market would be my first answer and then do you have any experience in the garment world would be my second question .if you have a big enough budget you can get market share with advertising using a direct to customers channel .manufacturing can be done in india,china or mexico . i have a client in the sneaker business you could team up with him he needs a investor and he knows all the distributors and manufacturers
I agree with Joe Distefano as far ar start out with professionals on Linkedin that are already familiar with the garmet and clothing industry... There are many, many steps that I personally see that if I were to handle your business I would do as someone who use to be in the garmet and clothing manufacturing industry. Patents and Trades to wholesalers and suggested retail marketing...
I would get intouch with a good sound R&D incorporated agency that really can go through each step and can place your idea, your product(s), in a secured world until launch day.
I don`t know what steps you have already done but stealing trade secrets perse` are really big and easy in this world.
Here in Pennsylvania, we have Workforce Investment Boards throughout the state. These boards are quite familiar with all of the businesses in your area and would be able to help you locate appropriate partners. All states have such Boards, though they are sometimes called Workforce Investment Areas or something similar. Check with the state Department of Labor and Industry to find these Boards.
I would start by contacting the American Apparel & Footwear Association:
There are other trade groups to contact as well.
I would go to LinkedIn and join the apparel groups. Once you join you can post (as many do) what you are looking for.
You can contract trade publications/websites for additional advice.
I would recommend http://www.alibaba.com/Apparel_p3 for finding a manufacturer.
Learn a little about import/export and look for manufacturers that offer OEM and custom work. This would save you a lot in costs but also be sure to sign a non-disclosure agreement if you'll be using your own designs (especially if you'll be going with a Chinese manufacturer) so they don't sell your designs to someone else.
Hope this helps!