How to Find an Activewear Manufacturer Part 3: The Final Step: Selecting the Best Activewear and Sportswear Manufacturer
Welcome to the final part of our "How to Find an Activewear Manufacturer" 3-part series. In this series, we will delve deep into the challenging process of finding the best clothing manufacturers for Gym wear, Activewear, Sportswear, Athleisure, and more.
In the previous blog, we discussed where to find fitness clothing manufacturers and how to search for them. Today, we will end this journey with The Final Steps of Selecting the Best Activewear and Sportswear Manufacturer. We're just one step away from turning your business dreams into a reality, so let's dive right in.
Now that you've reached the final stages and narrowed down your list to a few potential manufacturers, it's time to delve into the details.
1- Gather Quotes and Information:
Reach out to these shortlisted manufacturers and gather quotes from at least three of them to make an informed comparison. For local manufacturers, consider scheduling a tour of their facility or arranging an in-person visit to their office.
Along with pricing details, ask these vital questions:
These questions are your toolkit for making sure the manufacturer is the right partner for your startup.
Can they accommodate custom orders? Do they have the skills, equipment, and flexibility to create something tailored to your brand? This question helps you gauge if they're a good fit for your creative ideas.
What is their sample pricing? Find out if they charge for product samples. This helps you budget and assess the feasibility of testing their products.
What is their turnaround time? Determine how long it takes for them to produce and deliver orders. This information helps in managing expectations and planning inventory.
What are the shipping costs? Shipping costs can eat into your profits, so it's important to have a clear idea of how much it will cost to get your products from the manufacturer to your doorstep. This helps you calculate your overall expenses more accurately.
What are their Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)? MOQs are the minimum number of items you need to order to get the production process rolling. If they require large quantities, it might not be the best fit for a small startup. This question helps you figure out if their MOQ aligns with your business model.
What's the cost per unit? The cost per unit is simply how much each product will cost you. Understanding this cost helps you set your product prices in a way that ensures a healthy profit margin. The larger the order, the lower your cost per unit can be.
What's their defect policy? Sometimes things don't go as planned, and products can be incorrect or flawed. You want to understand how the manufacturer handles these situations. It's like knowing the store's return policy before buying something.
Are they sustainable and ethical? Investigate their commitment to eco-friendly and ethical practices in manufacturing. This allows you to align your brand with responsible values.
How do they handle delays? Know their processes for handling unexpected production delays. This helps in planning for unexpected incidents and maintaining customer satisfaction.
What are your payment terms? Understand their payment conditions, such as upfront payments or flexible terms. This helps you manage your finances and avoid unexpected financial burdens.
If you're new to the supplier game, you'll quickly encounter the term "MOQs" (Minimum Order Quantities). Many manufacturers may ask for a commitment to purchase hundreds or even thousands of units for your first order. But remember, MOQs are often negotiable.
Before you start negotiations, understand why the supplier has set a minimum. Is it because there's substantial upfront work? Knowing their reasons will help you propose the best counteroffer and find common ground.
When dealing with MOQs, especially as a startup, it's advisable to seek out manufacturers offering low MOQs, typically ranging from 1 to 50 units. Such suppliers, often startups themselves, are more open to accommodating smaller orders to attract customers. Additionally, for certain products, consider small-batch manufacturers in developed countries like the USA, even if their MOQs aren't as low. These manufacturers prioritize quality and adherence to high standards. Remember, MOQs are negotiable, and understanding the supplier's reasons behind them can lead to mutually beneficial agreements.
3- Reviewing the terms of payment
Payment terms can be a crucial aspect, especially for new businesses. Some suppliers may require full payment upfront, which can be a significant upfront cost for your startup. Inquire if they provide payment terms for future orders. You might propose 50% upfront and 50% after receiving the shipment to share the risk. This can help alleviate the financial burden and establish a sense of trust between you and the supplier. Additionally, it's important to clarify any potential penalties or late payment fees that may be associated with the agreed-upon payment terms.
4- Effective Communication with Manufacturers and Suppliers:
Suppliers' responsiveness can make or break your partnership. Effective communication with suppliers is critical to ensuring that businesses get the products and services they need on time and within budget.
Here are some tips for effective communication:
Be clear and concise in your initial communications. When you first reach out to a potential supplier, be clear about what you need and when you need it. Avoid sharing too much detail upfront, as this can be overwhelming and time-consuming for the supplier to review.
Focus on the critical details of your request. When communicating with suppliers, be sure to focus on the most important details of your request, such as:
Use plain language. Avoid using technical jargon or industry-specific terms in your communications with suppliers. Instead, use plain language that is easy for everyone to understand.
Be responsive to supplier inquiries. When suppliers ask you questions, be sure to respond promptly and comprehensively. This shows that you are serious about the relationship and that you value their input.
Use multiple channels of communication. Don't rely on just one channel of communication with suppliers. Instead, use a variety of channels, such as email, phone, and video conferencing. This will help to ensure that your messages are received and understood.
5- Product Design Communication:
Once you've identified a potential manufacturer, discuss whether they can bring your design to life. Some manufacturers offer product development services, including prototyping and 3D modeling, like FittDesign, while others may not. If they don't provide design services, you can find freelancers on platforms like Upwork. Alternatively, you have the option to collaborate with a fashion design company that offers full service like Fittdesign. Whether you want to design and manufacture your products from scratch or already have a ready-made design, they can cater to your specific needs and handle the manufacturing process for you.
6- Order Samples :
Before committing to a full order, it's wise to request samples for testing. Ensure the sample meets your quality standards, and once it does, date and sign it for reference.
Ordering samples from suppliers is a critical step in the product development process. It allows you to test the quality of the supplier's products, ensure that they meet your specifications, and compare different suppliers before placing a large order.
There are several benefits to ordering samples:
Quality assurance: Samples can be used to assess the quality of the supplier's products in terms of workmanship, materials, and finish.
Specification verification: Samples can also be used to verify that the supplier's products meet your specifications in terms of dimensions, performance, and other criteria. This is important to avoid any surprises or delays when the full order is placed.
Supplier comparison: If you are considering multiple suppliers for the same product, ordering samples can be a helpful way to compare the quality, price, and delivery time of each supplier.
Identify potential problems: Samples can help identify any potential problems with the product or the supplier before a large order is placed. For example, if a sample is defective or does not meet your specifications, you can avoid placing a large order that would be costly and time-consuming to return.
How to date and sign samples for reference:
Once you have received samples from a supplier, it is important to date and sign them for reference. This will help you to track the quality of the supplier's products over time and to ensure that they are meeting your specifications.
To date and sign a sample, simply write the date and your signature on the sample itself. If the sample is small, you can write the date and signature on a piece of tape and affix it to the sample.
How to use control samples as a benchmark for future orders:
Once you have dated and signed a sample that meets your quality standards, you can use it as a control sample for future orders. This means that you can compare future samples to the control sample to ensure that they are meeting the same standards.
To use a control sample as a benchmark, simply compare the two samples side-by-side. Look for any differences in workmanship, materials, or finish. If you find any differences, contact the supplier to discuss them.
By ordering samples and using them as a benchmark for future orders, businesses can help ensure that they are getting the highest quality products from their suppliers.
7- Negotiate Further if Needed:
Between receiving a sample and placing your order, you still have room to negotiate payment terms or MOQs further. Remember, the goal is not to exploit your manufacturer but to establish a mutually beneficial partnership.
8- Place Your Order:
After completing quality control checks and ensuring the products meet your standards, it's time to place your order and kickstart the production process.
This marks the end of our three-part series on "How to Find an Activewear Manufacturer." Throughout this journey, we've explored the intricacies of selecting the best clothing manufacturers for gym wear, activewear, sportswear, athleisure, and more. We've covered topics ranging from where to find manufacturers to the crucial steps of evaluating and negotiating with potential suppliers.
Now, provided with insights on gathering quotes, understanding payment terms, and conducting quality checks, you're well-prepared to make an informed decision. Remember, finding the right manufacturer is a pivotal step toward turning your business aspirations into a reality.
While the quest to find the perfect manufacturer may require time and effort, the rewards of a fruitful partnership can significantly impact the success of your venture. So, stay patient, stay persistent, and keep nurturing your entrepreneurial dreams.
We hope this series has provided you with valuable guidance and knowledge to embark on your journey in the world of activewear and sportswear manufacturing. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out. Your success is our priority, and we wish you all the best in your exciting endeavors.
"How to Find an Activewear Manufacturer" 3-part series:
Part 2: Where To Start Your Search
Watch this video for extra Tips
Elevate Your Activewear Brand with Us!
At FittDesign, we specialize in designing and manufacturing top-tier activewear. From concept to creation, our team is committed to bringing your vision to life. Whether you're launching a new fitness clothing line or revamping your collection, we're here to support your brand every step of the way.
Ready to take your activewear to new heights? Contact us today to get started on creating exceptional activewear that sets your brand apart!