Why We Don't Offer POD (Print On Demand)
What is Print on Demand (POD) and why don't we offer it?
Clothing manufacturers are always looking for new ways to offer their clients their products and services. This could be as large as investment into further equipment, or could be as simple as offering new payment terms.
The end-goal is to ensure you’re constantly evolving in an ever-changing and demanding sector and that as a clothing manufacturer, you’re on top of the trends. Whilst this is a great way to operate and something we’ve always looked to do in order to cement ourselves as one of the leading clothing manufactures UK - we’re also well aware that in doing this, you could be steering yourself away from the goal you originally set, or creating new challenges that you don’t have the infrastructure for and ultimately, your service and quality suffers.
We get asked this question a lot - “Do you offer POD (print-on-demand) services?”
Print-on-demand services are essentially where a clothing manufacturer (or wholesaler) will create items for the client, but only when the client requires them; i.e. when they make a sale. This is great for start-ups, as it allows them to minimise the risk of getting into the fashion industry and really lowers the boundary to market.
So, if it’s so good, why don’t we offer it?
Truth be told, we don’t like this way of operating. Whilst we’re here to lower the boundary to market for clients, we feel quality and service should be paramount and the POD method makes it difficult to capture these two elements into the day-to-day operation. This is for two reasons;
- Providing a POD service means as a clothing manufacturer, you need to hold a lot of stock. This means you’re limited in terms of the variety of items you can offer, or are dictated by someone other brand’s supply chains/ stock levels if you source it in but it also means you often end up selecting the lowest unit cost items to stock to also decrease your risk. We’re all in business and every business has it’s own associated risk factors; just like a clothing brand buying too much stock they cannot sell and overstocking being a bad thing, this can also happen for clothing manufacturers.
- Service - POD services are designed to help clients fulfil orders on an order-by-order basis, but this often means longer fulfilment times. Even where a clothing manufacturer can promise fast turnaround times, your brand is still at the mercy of another business - if they’re slow for whatever reason, your business suffers. You’re the one dealing with unhappy customers asking why it’s taking so long to fulfil their items
Whilst we appreciate certain businesses are specifically designed to offer these services and would likely have their own arguments to back up the above, we want to make one thing clear - we like POD services, we just don’t think they work very well in the fashion sector. Promotional/ workwear, sure but not in a very competitive industry.
Nowadays, customers want more, faster. They likely want that tee they bought off your website today yesterday. The only way this is achievable as a business owner is to have stock in-hand and this is only possible when clothing manufacturers work with bulk orders.
Let’s be honest - would you truthfully buy clothing from a brand knowing they just screen printed on a Gildan tee and ripped the neck label out to replace it with theirs? If you feel the same as us, the likely answer to that is no and that’s why we aim to offer a similar service; where you can access lower MOQs, faster turnaround times and decrease your risk in the market, all the while maintaining the quality and service you desire from a trustworthy and reliable clothing manufacturer.
We will continue to look for new ways to better serve our clients as we continue to grow and scale. We’re at a pivotal point in our business where we’re really looking to cement ourselves as a leading clothing manufacturer and have since taken the necessary steps to get there - investment into bringing customisation in-house, moving premises, employing new staff and so on; all of which is with the aim to continue to maintain the high quality and service we’ve wanted to offer from day one.
Our latest catalogue launch has shown us that our clients like variety - they’d rather be able to select from over 600 sku’s and have access to high quality, durable and sustainable items, opposed to being able to utilise a POD service but be limited in terms of what they have access to.
In conclusion, we’d love to hear what you think about this - have you used POD services before? If so, what are your thoughts?
Looking for access to our latest catalogue launch? Click the link here to request a free PDF copy today - https://white2labelmanufacturing.com/catalogue
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.