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How to Choose a Clothing Manufacturer for Your Online Store

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Selling clothing online is one of the most popular business models for e-commerce entrepreneurs. The reasons are obvious. Clothing products are typically less expensive to produce and manage, are easy to transport and store, and are always in high demand.

Of course, selling apparel online is also a competitive market. However, it’s still a viable model because there’s a lot of room for niche and customized clothing. Selling stylish and comfortable clothing almost always boosts sales.

However, for startups and established companies, partnering with a clothing manufacturer is the key to success. Entrepreneurs often overlook these business details when opening a new online clothing store.

Choosing the right apparel supplier for your business requires the following First, determine if you should work with that supplier. Once this question is answered, research needs to be done to find the right clothing supplier.

Want to learn more? This guide will give you all you need to know about choosing a clothing supplier for your online business.

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Why work with a clothing manufacturer?

First, let’s take a quick look at what a clothing manufacturer can offer. Most online stores, especially fledgling clothing stores, don’t have the capacity to produce enough clothing to meet demand. Clothing production requires a team of manufacturers with a lot of industrial equipment. Clothing manufacturers enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to have enough inventory to meet their business needs.

This mechanism is relatively simple. Store owners usually buy goods in bulk from a wholesale clothing manufacturer. The manufacturer then delivers the goods to the business. Depending on the type of product, the clothing store can have custom designs and other finishing touches. Alternatively, the products can be sold as is. How the apparel is delivered depends on the respective business model.

Outsourcing production allows the apparel seller to focus on all other aspects of the business. This includes branding, marketing, customer service and store operations (whether online or in-person).

Of course, the process of choosing an apparel manufacturer is not without its considerations. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when choosing an apparel supplier.

Factors to Consider When Looking for an Apparel Manufacturer


First of all, what will they be selling? Do you plan to sell general merchandise, customized merchandise, or specific niche items? Apparel and fabric manufacturers and suppliers offer a huge variety of products to companies around the world. However, not all apparel manufacturers offer the same inventory.

Explore different suppliers to find the one that best suits your needs. Once you have a short list of viable options, you can begin to consider other important factors.

Storage and transportation

Buying in bulk from wholesale clothing manufacturers is both convenient and cost-effective. However, it is not without risk. This means that you will need to pay for shipping costs when purchasing wholesale products. In addition, storage can be a problem. Large companies have access to huge warehouse space to store inventory.

If you run an online store through Amazon, you can also use Amazon Logistics. This way, the e-commerce giant can make full use of its transportation and warehousing infrastructure.

However, for those who run their own business, storage can be an issue. Transportation and storage is relatively easy due to the fact that clothing is small and lightweight. However, purchasing any item in large quantities creates storage needs. This can be especially challenging for home-based businesses.

Price ranges and profit margins

When buying from a manufacturer in any industry, you need to consider the resale price range of your inventory. In other words, how much product can you sell to make enough profit to justify your labor. Higher quality products can be sold at a higher price point, but this can also increase upfront costs.

These aspects must be taken into account when deciding which clothing manufacturer to work with. Transportation costs should also be taken into account.

Product Quality.

Finally, not all clothing manufacturers offer the same quality. Some manufacturers may not be as consistent with the quality of their products as others. Some manufacturers also specialize in producing very high quality garments. Reliability may be the primary consideration when choosing a clothing supplier. The level of quality of the garments you sell depends on your business model. You should work with a clothing manufacturer that meets your business standards.

Domestic and International Garment Manufacturers

The difference between domestic and international apparel manufacturers is also important. Domestic manufacturers are those located in North America. International apparel suppliers can be located anywhere in the world. However, international apparel suppliers to U.S. companies are primarily located in Asia. That is, China, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries.

Some of the world’s most recognized wholesale companies operate outside of China. The most famous is Alibaba, but there are several other major wholesale clothing manufacturers in China and Southeast Asia. Buying from these companies is often an affordable way to obtain large quantities of goods in stock.

Still, there are some pros and cons to consider when choosing between domestic and international suppliers.

Pros and Cons of Domestic Apparel Suppliers

The most obvious advantage of working with a domestic clothing supplier is that shipping costs tend to be lower. This is simply because it costs less to ship within the United States than it does to ship globally. Similarly, domestic apparel suppliers tend to ship faster.

U.S. apparel suppliers also have more consistent product quality compared to international suppliers. Of course, this issue varies from company to company.

The only major downside to working with domestic manufacturers is that they may have limited inventory. This is not a problem for some companies. However, if you are looking for a custom apparel supplier or specialty products, it may be more difficult to find the right products by working with a domestic supplier.

Pros and Cons of Overseas Clothing Suppliers

In contrast to domestic suppliers, many of the largest overseas apparel manufacturers have unrivaled inventories. This makes some international wholesalers ideal clothing manufacturers for startups.

However, due to their geographic location, most international apparel manufacturers cannot compete with domestic suppliers when it comes to transportation. Sourcing products from Asia has higher transportation costs and shipping times can vary greatly.

Apparel suppliers for your industry

Another factor that should not be overlooked when choosing an apparel supplier is the type of industry you work in.

For example, private label apparel manufacturers allow retailers to put their own customized brand name on products they don’t manufacture. This can be very effective when you want to create a unique clothing brand but do not have the capacity to manufacture it. In this case, it is important to find a private label apparel manufacturer because it is the only way to ensure that the apparel is not produced by another company.

However, other companies have different needs. For example, if they are in the print-on-demand business, then a custom apparel manufacturer is essential. However, other businesses may choose a clothing manufacturer based on the availability of products in a specific niche.

Regardless of the type of business you run, be sure to consider the unique goals and needs of your business when choosing an apparel supplier.

How to Find an Apparel Supplier for Your Business

Now that you know more about apparel suppliers, how can you find the right one for your company’s needs? It takes some effort, but the process itself is relatively simple.

The first step is to conduct a Google search. Searching for “best clothing manufacturers for startups” can lead to a number of good resources for you to begin your search.

Alternatively, you can use MakerDirectory to conduct a more targeted search. For example, Maker’s Row is a great resource for searching for U.S. product manufacturers.

The most important thing to remember when searching for apparel and fabric manufacturers and suppliers is to focus on your unique needs. Read online reviews of different manufacturing companies to learn about product quality and customer service. You should also refine your search on the manufacturer’s website to see if they can fulfill all of your inventory needs.

In the end, you will have a few good options to choose from. The final decision depends on personal preference and cost-effectiveness.