Choosing a Small Batch Manufacturer for Your Fashion Brand
It can be daunting for emerging designers and startup fashion brands to decide how many pieces they want to produce. Because no matter how confident you are in your designs, it’s difficult to predict which styles are going to be popular and which ones you’ll need to order more of. While producing large scales of each product is a viable option for saving on price per unit, it’s not the most feasible approach for small businesses just starting out in the fashion industry.
If you’re a new fashion designer wanting to keep your production volume low, working with a small batch manufacturer may be your best bet. Small batch production allows you to produce around 30-500 units per style, a small number compared to the minimum order quantities required by larger manufacturers. You also get to form closer relationships with your production team and have greater quality control over your products. Here are the benefits of avoiding the hefty requirements of a large scale manufacturing facility and choosing small batch manufacturing for your next clothing line.
Large vs. Small Batch Manufacturers
So what’s the real difference between a larger manufacturer and a small batch one? Large manufacturers are characterized by their hefty order requirements whereas small batch manufacturers allow more flexibility. Additionally, production quality and environmental impact can be more easily monitored with small batch manufacturing.
MOQs and Production Costs
Large scale manufacturers often require big MOQs (minimum order quantities) for two reasons: It’s more profitable for them to produce larger quantities, and they are accustomed to working with major retailers that order thousands of units for their production runs. If a larger manufacturer is willing to give you a lower MOQ, they will likely charge you a higher rate per unit than if you ordered a larger quantity. But if you’re pressured into having a higher MOQ than desired, you’re risking a financial loss if you are unable to sell your extra inventory.
Though it’s easy to cave in and go with a larger MOQ, consider this first: You’re probably uneasy about investing in larger order quantities because you aren’t sure if you could sell that much inventory. This isn’t an unreasonable thought as it’s better to be conservative with your first round of orders. If you end up with excess inventory as a result of ordering too many pieces, you may wind up selling these styles at half-price just to get rid of them. Accepting a lower sales price can end up reducing your gross revenue.
Another reason why designers accept higher MOQs is cost per unit. Let’s say your manufacturer is charging you $25 per unit for 1,000 pieces vs. $35 per unit for a lower minimum — you may feel like you’re losing money if you don’t go for the higher MOQ. But if you settle on $35 for 400 pieces, an order volume that’s probably better in the long run, you’re actually saving $9,000.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the small batch manufacturer are their low MOQs. Small batch commonly offers order minimums of 30-500 units, a realistic quantity for small fashion brands and designers. Working with a producer that gives you access to garments as they are being made allows you to quickly identify and fix errors so that an entire batch doesn’t come out wrong. You can avoid the panic of receiving a large quantity of products with faulty construction and maintain a smooth and accurate production process.
Product Quality and Environmental Impact
Stores used to receive new shipments every few months to reflect the changing of the seasons. But with the development of fast fashion, physical retailers and e-commerce giants like Amazon have been encouraged to order large quantities of trendy and cheap fashions.
Fast fashion appeals to consumers’ desire to catch of-the-moment trends before they quickly go out of style. Because retailers need to receive these shipments quickly and cheaply, they work with manufacturers who demand large MOQs in exchange for a quick turn around.
The terms fast fashion and disposable fashion have become interchangeable because of how poorly the garments are made. It’s virtually impossible to have quality control over your products when they are being designed, produced, and shipped by these large manufacturers. And if all this is being done at a supremely low cost, the quality goes down and the environmental impact goes up.
Retailers‘ preference for producing in large quantities has had monumental effects on the environment. Many large-scale manufacturers are guilty of producing garments made from synthetic fabrics derived from coal, oil, and other natural gases. When these garments are disposed of, their chemicals leak into groundwater and add to water pollution. These practices are giving a bad name to the fashion industry, as clothing waste has increased from 7 million to 14 million tons in the last 20 years.
Finding the Best Small Batch Manufacturer
The benefits of choosing a small batch clothing manufacturer for your new fashion line are abundant. So, why not choose one that provides low minimums, fabric sourcing, pattern making, and made in America production?
Where can you find a small batch manufacturer that provides all of this? At TEG, a full-service fashion development and production house specializing in small batch production.
TEGs studio-level production team specializes in small volume productions of 10-50 pieces per style. This lends itself to high-quality brands that require special handling, brands seeking rush orders, or brands seeking runs for publicity or up-front inventory for start-up sales.
All garments are sewn by highly-skilled sample production sewers capable of all garment categories. Studio production is contracted with quick turnarounds of 4-8 weeks, and rush deliveries are available in as little as 1-4 weeks with a rush fee applied. TEG is also able to offer factory-level production specializing in cuts of 50-100, 100-300, and 300-500 pieces per style.
If you decide to work with TEG to fulfill all your small batch manufacturing needs, you’ll be offered the following services:
- Tour of the facilities
- Personalized contractors and delivery timetables
- Variety of fabrics and sourcing options
- Technical reviews with pattern makers
- Fittings and adjustments
- First samples and pattern duplicates
- Pricing based on order quantities
Why Small Batch Manufacturers Are Better
If you want control over the production minimums and costs, environmental impact, and quality of your fashion line, look no further than TEG. Here, you will find a hard working team of fashion professionals who are available to help you with everything you need to bring together your dream fashion collection. TEG provides fashion designing clients with a broad range of production services in most categories, with competitive costing, scalability, and expert production management.
Our expertise provides high-quality creative services like fabric and trim sourcing that you won’t find elsewhere. Our top-of-the-line sourcing managers skillfully guide you through sampling fabric swatches, negotiating minimums and prices, tracking orders, and more.
We’ve helped over 2,000 designers — both emerging and established — to bring their visions to life during the last 15+ years. We’d love to help you, too!
For all inquiries and questions, please call or fill out the form below, and we will respond within 1-2 business days. Thank you!
Los Angeles: 800-916-0910 | San Francisco: 415-324-8779