Buy Cheap, Pay Twice (Fashion Manufacturing)
Why cheaper manufacturers are the worst
So, you have this vision. You'd like to start your own fashion brand and with finding reliable custom clothing manufacturers being a difficult task, you end up knowing that breaking the bank and matching the high MOQs imposed by overseas factories isn't a viable option, nor is all of the associated costs that come with designs, tech-packs, logo files etc. So, you prow Google on the search for a low quantity clothing manufacturer.
Upon your Google travels you come across a company (who knows which one, there's so many of them) that sell blank products- except these are brands like Gildan. You suddenly think that you've found some sort of loophole- how can they look so good, be so cheap and have such high potential mark-ups? The answer is simple- they don't. You think- this is great, they're basically one of the clothing manufacturers in the UK you can use. The only issue is that they aren't. There’s a big difference between clothing manufacturers who specialise in producing both white label clothing, as well as bespoke manufacturing for fashion brands and those who specialise in promotional and workwear.
We’re not here to downplay any businesses achievements and we certainly don’t think brands like Gildan, or Fruit of the Loom are bad - they certainly have their place in promotional wear, but when it comes to creating a fashion brand and reaching for clothing manufacturers; these brand names shouldn’t go hand-in-hand with your brands’
You get what you pay for
Do not, I repeat- do not be that brand that picks out the cheapest possible product in thinking that this will yield success in your business because your mark-ups will be higher. The fashion industry is a competitive one. It's full of up-and-coming brands, or industry leaders who own a large share of the market all competing to win over customer loyalty and increase sales through constant innovation within their product development.
Let me ask you a question- if building a successful fashion brand was as easy as printing a design on a Gildan t-shirt and switching over the labels, then why do industry leaders spend a large percentage of their operating expenses on product development? Employing fashion designers, buyers, developers, fabric specialists or garment technicians? It's because consumers are more conscious of quality now than they ever have been and with so much noise in the market, everything- from creative, social and to your end product have to be at the very best it can be to leave a lasting impression on that consumer.
This might sound a little hypocritical from a business that's core offering is white label clothing, but our aim is to provide clients with premium products that compete with the likes of fabrics, cuts and constructions that are in demand in the current market. The products we sell to consumers are ones that have been extensively tested, not only to our standards but further to each individual clients standards and to date- the feedback as a whole has been very good. Every client has a different perception of how products should perform, but we've taken careful consideration and care to ensure every product fits the bill; in terms of quality, whilst maintaining a competitive price point, which ultimately results in a garment that is durable and will sell for higher RRP's.
The issue is for most start-ups, is that the brand owners are relatively unaware of what they can get for their money. Just like some clients might have an unrealistic idea of what a set budget will get- i.e. you can't get Nike quality at 100 units MOQ, but this can also happen in reverse. Truthfully, it can feel like an uphill battle and some brands might feel like the only option they have is to approach these wholesalers whilst disregarding custom clothing manufacturers and purchase the lower quality product because ultimately, it's product, right?
Sure, some product is better than none but building a brand is hard. Once you get a consumer buying into the brand message and actually purchasing product, you want to be proud and excited to hear their feedback; not worried that they might think they've not received good value for money and this is where we feel we can massively help you.
The harsh reality of the fashion sector is that as soon as that product leaves your facility, it now needs to do the talking for your brand. If you have a steady and reliable supply chain, using high quality clothing manufacturers; regardless of whether they’re UK clothing manufacturers, or overseas - your implementation of regimented quality control, attention to detail and reinvestment into product development is what will take a start-up to a successful clothing business.
It’s very easy to make the front end of your business look good, whilst the back-end is messy, unorganised and studying to cope (we know, we’ve been there) but the truth is - the reinvestment into the infrastructure of your business is far more crucial than any form of branding, website, advertisements or influencer marketing. Yes, these things are important, but once you get to a certain point; you need to make sure your clothing manufacturers, your supply chain and your infrastructure can deal with the demand you’re generating from the hard work on the front-end of the business.
Through years of working in this industry, we've pulled together a strong collection of over 600 sku’s within a white label collection that comprises of garments that fit the bill. We offer a fully comprehensive service; from woven neck labelling, to a variety of branding and customisation options- including screen print, DTG, vinyl and embroidery and not to mention getting you retail ready with barcoding. We can really add that value to the product, so that when all the hard work is done and you get that notification of an order has come through- you can ship the product knowing the consumer will be happy and you're that one step closer to building a brand with longevity. Not to mention that we're also one of the leading bespoke clothing manufacturers so we can also cover any production requirements that extend beyond the design capabilities of the white label clothing service!
If you'd like to hear more about the products, or services we offer then head over to white2labelmanufacturing.com and leave your contact information. One of the team will be in touch as soon as possible to help you out!
Anthony Mellor is a fashion entrepreneur, writer and consultant. Anthony writes in-depth articles about topics related to fashion, business and supply chains.
Anthony successfully scaled and exited a D2C fashion brand at the young age of 20. Since then, he's gone onto start and successfully operate two multi-6-figure clothing manufacturing businesses and currently offers up one-to-one constancy to brand owners.