Sourcing your fabrics is an important step in creating your brand. Here is a list that will help you avoid errors when purchasing materials.
To create your clothes, you need fabric. This fabric will give life to a design. Everything can change depending on the choice of it. I advise you to read the practical guide of textiles in order to learn the different particularities of textiles and to source your fabrics. Sourcing your fabrics well is fundamental. Here are some tips that can help you.
Before you even start working on your prototype, that’s you need to do! You have to see and touch the material, know how it lives and reacts to sewing for example.
Your goal is to build you a reliable supply chain, in order to respond favorably to the demand of your customers, if a product works well. Therefore, asking for samples first allows you to see how the supplier behaves with you.
Analyze, in the exchange of emails or calls : its responsiveness, it’s ability to offer you solutions and the delay in sending its samples.
Ask yourself the right questions
When requesting samples, pay attention to the details. Above all, you will need more quantities of this same fabric when you have completed your prototype. So, ask yourself these questions and properly notify all these aspects to your future suppliers :
Width of the fabric
Do not assume that the fabric has a standard width. Always check, ask, get confirmed. Hand-woven fabrics are often thinner and some bulk fabrics may be wider than you normally assume.This really makes a difference and can also mean that you can buy less fabrics and therefore save on the cost of your clothing. Nice, isn’t it?
Remember, fabric prices are always based on length, not width. Measure all the parts of your model before ordering in order to know ham many meters you will actually need for your realization. It’s a shame to waste money by ordering more than you actually need, just because you haven’t done your math!
Minimum and maximum quantities (MOQ : Minimum of quantity)
All suppliers require a minimum quantity of at least one hundred meters of fabric. This is the problem when you start your business. You don’t necessarily have the money and you have no idea how much to order. In such cases, look for replacement materials from a supplier that will accept an order with smaller quantities for you, and negotiate the terms. Indeed, the purpose of this first order is to negotiate a compromise, which will work for both parties. Many things can be taken into account during negotiations. Delivery times, payment times, quantities, quality. But also, the commitment if a first order is placed. You can also negotiate prices according to your quantities. Know that the price is never fixed. If you order more materials, ask for a commercial gesture on something to help you.
Know, it is possible at some suppliers to supply you by the meter, so no need to invest a huge amount of money to have its fabric.
It is important to fix on paper the date of availability of your goods with the supplier. It will also be necessary to validate with him that he takes charge of the insurance in case of litigation during transport ( theft, damage, fire, water damage…) If your fabric comes from far away, all details are notified in the sales inciteras. Together we can determine which incoterm selling is the most suitable.
Dicuss stock availability and continuity in advance, especially if you only order a small amount for sampling. Imagine if the supplier abandoned the fabric when you needed it to make your collection? It would upset all your plans! Make sure you have inventory with him!
Small quantities of materials are usually more expensive. Determine of the supplier has wholesale or multi-level prices. Thus, you can imagine increasing your margins, if you order more quantities afterwards.
Sustainable product concepts and eco-responsible
These are issues that are becoming increasingly important to consumers. Here is a very interesting study on the subject : the Ethnicity studies. According to the results of the study, well-being and health are more than ever at the heart of French people’s concerns.
Health is the first criterion for purchasing products that are more environmentally friendly.
Sustainability and ethics must be embedded in your brand. Today, sustainable supply chains are becoming easier to access. Consumers are asking creators to be transparent about how they work and what the prices are. The HonestBy site is the perfect example :
Social and societal issues must also be taken into account. Who made my clothes? Under what conditions?
For your own design, it is your responsibility to know what is happening at each step.
Circular Economy and Eco-design
Around your business model, you can add one or more guidelines to follow for your brand. if you want to promote employment in your country, for example? Then you follow the principles of the circular economy.
You want to create, while reflecting on the end of life of your product? Unknowingly, you use the Cradle To Cradle method.
Recycled materials, vegan materials
My favorite subject, alternative materials. The choice of your materials can constitute your brand DNA. You can also simply choose some specific materials such as pineapple leather in order to make a product from your collection. You can also use recycled fabrics such as cotton, denim (You can contact me to help you in sourcing your materials).
Many alternatives are possible, the whole thing is to remain consistent with your brand, and what you want to convey through it. For some, Made in France may not be irrefutable. On the other hand, a Made In Europe sourcing will present several advantages already attractive, at cheaper prices at first. You can definitely consider making made in France, like the 1083 brand, but you can also do it later if you don’t have the finances immediately. The key is to know where you want your brand to go.
Common Brakes when searching for fabrics
The language barrier
The language barrier can sometimes block you from the start. Speaking, negotiating in English, can generate big misunderstandings if you don’t really know how to speak English (Psst, I can help you)
Be prepared to compromise
Even if you have an idea of what you want about your subject, you can’t always find out exactly what you have in mind, so be prepared to compromise.
Pay attention to fibres, colors, price, ethics, and deadlines. Find the right balance and be prepared to compromise when you have the opportunity to get a fabric that fits the design, meets essential requirements like minimum quantities, and also fits your budget.
Ask all your questions before planning your collection plan
You can find the perfect fabric and plan your design around it, and eventually you learn too late that the minimum quantities do not match your needs. Save yourself trouble by asking all the above questions right away, before you even start working on your design. However, be sure to select suppliers who have the fabric of your dreams in stock or who will make it to order for you.
How to fin suppliers
In general, suppliers are divided into different types, depending on what they store and how they work.
- Factories provide custom fabrics with a minimum of 1,000 meters or more.
- Wholesalers, They process unfinished products and often offer different printed fabrics, special effects ads colors
One of the best places to start your search for reliable providers is on the internet. Websites of online providers usually list all relevant details, and it’s a convenient way to locate what you need.
Trade show are privileged destination to source your fabrics. Through the fairs, you can see many fabric companies at one time, do the research for your collection, and discuss possible options with live suppliers. Once you have chosen the fabrics you like, you can order samples to build your material library.
Here is the list of the main shows to source your fabrics :
Premiere Vision : This show is held twice a year in Paris and New York. It is the unmissable show to source your fabrics.
Textile Forum : This is an exhibition of luxury fashion fabrics that presents stock collections and order fabrics forward to designers. It takes place twice a year in London.
The London Textile Fair : Established in 2007, the TLTF is an annual trade show where fabric manufacturers and their agents exhibit their products to British fashion buyers and designers.
DG Expo : DG Expo offers an exhibition of textiles and trimmings for designers and retailers. The exhibition also offers seminars on business growth and textile courses.
Texworld USA : Texworld USA is the largest sourcing event in North America for designers, fabric buyers and product marketers covering the entire fabric spectrum.
Queen Of Raw : Queen Of Raw is an online platform that allows you to source alternative and innovative materials to the piece and cheeper. This platform allows you to source your fabrics without too much investment.