Updated: Feb 18
One of the most common questions I'm often asked is in the debate of whether to stay local, or go abroad when it comes to sourcing suppliers.
The common consensus, having read some forums and online blogs, is to stay local for your first few lines. I don't agree, nor disagree with this being the best course of action for one main reason- it all depends on what you need.
I personally went abroad for my first line and have ever since, and I've never experienced any issues with doing so. That being said, there are some things you need to be aware of when going abroad and the main thing is make sure you're not getting scammed. It's very easy for a supplier to seem genuine from the outlook, and samples be exactly what you need but when you go to send them the production money they disappear. One way to avoid this from happening is to visit the supplier in person, view their production line; this will also create a good business relationship between you both.
Let's say you are planning on going abroad and lets use Turkey as an example. People say it's "expensive" to visit the supplier, but you can easily get EasyJet flights for £100 return at certain times of the year.
However, having suppliers in other countries can prove logistical issues, such as public holidays you're unaware of, communication and things such as shipping delays & customs.
You then have to include the price of international shipping, and if the supplier isn't in the European Union you'll need to add in customs fees and taxes when they come into the country.
However, even with adding these costs in, using a supplier in the UK will definitely cost you more money as they often have a high MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) and one thing I would advise against is purchasing high MOQ, because there are always suppliers that will work with lower units, and it's best to save that capital and invest it into other areas of your business. It's better to sell out and have less units than you need, then to purchase more and have all that stock sitting in storage, which is lost money.
So, what should you do?
The best course of action for anyone who's new in the fashion industry, with no real idea how to find a supplier, let alone whether to stay local or go abroad is to find a consultancy, or a "middleman" who will alleviate some of the stress and headache that comes with finding the right suppliers.
That's where us at White2Label can come in and help you! We offer a wide range of services to help new and already established brands with their design and supplying needs.
Feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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