Vetting Factories: An Essential Guide for New Fashion Designers
For those new tothe fashion business, finding a factory is a major challenge.
With factories around the world to choose from, how can you select one that will reliably produce quality products within a specific timeframe?
Along with the basic factors such as your budget and deadline, here are some essential tips you need to consider when evaluating factories:
Most factories set high production minimums starting in the thousands of units. This is especially true when trying to produce overseas. If your brand is new, if you want to keep your inventory levels low and if you want to be able to quickly order and receive additional units, make sure you select a factory that can offer this kind of flexibility. Asking for a factory’s minimums should be among your first steps.
Provide as much detail about your designs and your needs as possible to ensure that the factory has the necessary expertise. With so many methods to produce garments, it is essential you find a partner that has all the right equipment and tradespeople to produce the best possible version of your designs.
Ask the factory for a list of client references. Get in touch with the factory’s recommended clients to ask about their overall experience working with the factory. Knowing how the factory solved product quality issues is vital for seamless production.
Schedule an in-person meeting with the factory representatives. Having a direct, one-on-one consultation is absolutely necessary because it allows fashion designers to ask all of their questions and get a feel for who they are working with.
During the meeting, ask the factory representatives about last time they had a quality control problem and what they did to address it. If a factory claims that they never faced a quality control problem, consider it a red flag.
Coupled with quality control, it is crucial for the factory to know your creative vision, your main product and your expectations.
Quality management system
Does the factory have an internal quality management system enforced? Have they designated an employee for this particular task?
Visit the factory to evaluate how they implement and maintain quality management standards.
In case any obstacle arises, will you be given a credit? What is the factory’s policy on refunds and discounts?
As a rule, ask these types of questions via email so that you have a written record.
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