Clothing Manufacturers for Startups: Find the Perfect Partner for Your New Clothing Business

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By Jacob Maslow

Starting a new clothing business requires finding the perfect partner to provide you with a competitive edge. Clothing manufacturers can help you in several ways as you start your new clothing line and develop your brand.

The fashion business is challenging and expensive, but the proper support from the right clothing manufacturers and hard work from you will ensure the scale you dream of in your new clothing business.

What to Look for in a Clothing Manufacturer?

A business plan is vital for your startup. Before looking for the best clothing manufacturer to work with, you need to identify a need in your particular market and understand your target audience. Once you have determined these, you should look for the following in a clothing manufacturer:

1.     Similar Objectives

What type of clothing do you want from the manufacturer? Will you provide the designs, or do you plan to buy from their design range? Do you want custom labels? Will the manufacturer be prepared to make limited pieces?

Depending on the type of clothing required, you may have to travel overseas to vet the apparel, styles, and fabrics produced. If you’re on a budget, you may do the vetting process via phone or email. You may find a reasonably priced clothing manufacturer locally if you plan only to sell printed hoodies or t-shirts.

Finally, suppose you plan to sell a specific type of clothing, for example, men’s fashion; then a manufacturer of men’s clothes will already have a production line ready, making them a more reliable choice than someone specializing in women’s casual clothes.

2.     Quantity Needed

When approaching the clothing manufacturer, you must inform them of the quantities required and the frequency of your orders, allowing them to serve you better.

Remember that most clothing manufacturers have minimum quantity orders to ensure they are worth their manufacturing cost. If you want a smaller batch, you will pay a higher price, which may affect your competitiveness.

3.     Quality Control

Is quality or price more important? If it’s quality, you will want to know more about the inspection process of the clothing manufacturers. Additionally, what is their defect policy?

What level of quality are you looking for in your garments? Do you need top-of-the-line materials and construction, or are you more concerned with price? These are important questions that you must have answers to before committing to a specific clothing manufacturer.

4.     Lead Time

How long does the clothing manufacturer need to fulfill your orders? It’s good to know what to expect in lead time from the clothing manufacturer, especially if you require custom garments.

5.     Price Considerations

Price can affect your profits, so decide on your budget and get prices from several suppliers to compare. Additionally, find out if they give discounts for larger orders.

6.     Certification

If sustainability and eco-friendly clothes are essential to you and your audience, ensure your choice of clothing manufacturer carries the relevant certifications.

7.     Experience and References

Experience in a clothing manufacturer is not vital, but these manufacturers will have the resources, and you can check on their reputation. Ask some of their clients for references about the quality of their service, communication, and work.

Read more about how to start your own clothing business in this informative article from Masterclass.

Find the Perfect Clothing Manufacturer for Your New Business

Deciding whether you want a local or an overseas clothing manufacturer will depend on you. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:

Pros of Local Clothing Manufacturers:

  • Quicker production times
  • Lesser shipping costs
  • Easier communication and collaboration
  • You can have greater control during the manufacturing process
  • Smaller minimum order requirements

Cons of Local Clothing Manufacturers:

  • More expensive
  • Added competition
  • More regulation compliance

Pros of Overseas Clothing Manufacturers:

  • Lower costs
  • Fewer regulations
  • Bigger choice of manufacturers
  • Accessing new markets

Cons of Overseas Clothing Manufacturers:

  • Production takes longer
  • Higher shipping costs
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Less control during the manufacturing process
  • Increased minimum order requirements

Luckily, several tools can aid your search if you’re looking for a local or overseas clothing manufacturer. These include the following:

Search Engines

Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have excellent resources to help you find clothing manufacturers for startups. Either start with a broader search if you are unsure of your options, or narrow down your search if you specifically hope to find a local or overseas clothing manufacturer. Once you find a few, research them and ask plenty of questions before deciding.

Online Directories and B2B Platforms

Online directories have several options with reviews to help you compare before deciding on a clothing manufacturer. FOURSOURCE is a German company with a global network that connects manufacturers to buyers in the garment industry. Another global B2B business platform, Alibaba, has become the world’s biggest marketplace for sourcing everything from electronics to clothing.


If you already know someone in the industry, ask for recommendations since they will already know which companies provide excellent services and great products at the best prices.

Social Networks

You can also use social media to find clothing manufacturers. Find clothing manufacturers by typing what you’re looking for in LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter search bars. Join their groups and make contact with them to discuss your needs. You can also look for clothing manufacturers in your area if you prefer to meet up with them.

Apparel Trade Shows

Trade shows are a great way to meet and ask several suppliers of apparel questions directly. Apparel trade shows take place in cities worldwide throughout the year, making it easy for you to attend one from any location.

Finally, if you are still unsure about which strategy is best, this article by Appareify, does some legwork for you. Appareify is a custom clothing manufacturing service based in China that serves businesses in over 50 countries. Their top 10 clothing manufacturers list is ideal for small businesses and startups.

Tips for Choosing the Right Clothing Manufacturer

1. Do your research: Research all of your options, to find a clothing manufacturer that meets your needs and budget.

2. Check quality control: Ensure the clothing manufacturer you choose has an efficient quality control system to guarantee that the garments meet your standards.

3. Consider lead times: Ask about their lead time and make sure they can fulfill orders promptly.

4. Compare prices: Get prices from several suppliers before committing and ask if they offer discounts for larger orders.

5. Look for certification: If sustainability is important, check if the clothing manufacturer carries any eco-friendly production methods or fabrics certifications.

6. Ask around: Check the experiences and references of other customers who have used the manufacturer to understand their services better.

7. Utilize resources: Use online tools, search engines, directories, B2B platforms, social networks, trade shows, and recommendations to find the perfect clothing manufacturer for your new business.

Final Take

Finding clothing manufacturers for startups is not too difficult if you know how and where to look. Now that you know how to find the perfect partner for your clothing business, it’s up to you to compare prices, quality, ease of communication, and customer reviews before deciding on the one with the best fit.



How do I find clothing manufacturers for startups?

You can use online tools, search engines, directories, B2B platforms, social networks, trade shows, and recommendations to find the perfect clothing manufacturer for your new business. Compare prices, quality, lead times, communication ease, and customer reviews before deciding on the best fit.

What should I look for when choosing a clothing manufacturer?

Look into the manufacturer’s quality control system to ensure that their garments meet your standards. Also, compare prices from several suppliers before committing and check if they give discounts for larger orders. Additionally, consider their lead time and make sure they can fulfill orders promptly. Lastly, check the experiences of other customers who have used them to understand their services better.

What are the pros and cons of local clothing manufacturers?

Local clothing manufacturers’ pros include quicker production times, lesser shipping costs, easier communication and collaboration, greater control during the manufacturing process, and smaller minimum order requirements. The cons may include higher prices, added competition, and more regulation compliance.

What are the pros and cons of overseas clothing manufacturers?

The pros of overseas clothing manufacturers include lower costs, fewer regulations, a wider choice of manufacturers, and access to new markets. The cons may include longer production times, higher shipping costs, difficulty communicating with suppliers, less control during manufacturing, and increased minimum order requirements.

Images Courtesy:DepositPhotos

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos