Entering into any new venture means taking a journey into unknown territory. Being a novice entrepreneur in the apparel industry can lead to a lot of confusion, frustration, and lack of information *if* you aren’t working with the right partner. One critical component to achieving your goals is knowing exactly how you will achieve them, and we make it clear for you.
If your manufacturing partner isn’t willing to, or isn’t able to, clearly outline the steps you need to take to go through the development and production processes, that is a clear sign you are headed on a winding path with some unwanted surprises in store.
Want to get clear on what a thorough and professional apparel development process looks like so you can know what to expect and be an educated entrepreneur that doesn’t just get led, but helps drive the process forward?
Here’s what happens:
During this meeting, you will meet with your project manager (PM) to discuss specifics about your apparel line, such as what fabrics you want to use and how you want the garments to fit as well important technical details, your budget, and target dates.
Fabric & Trim Sourcing
Armed with your fabric reference samples and a clear understanding of the product you want to build, and the price point you want to hit, your PM will source samples among our vendor network of hundreds of partners both domestically and abroad to find the perfect materials to build your designs.
Milestone 1: Fabric & Trim Approval
Once the fabric and trims have been sourced, you will be given samples to review. Your project manager will discuss the different prices for fabrics, as well as their properties and competitive advantages. You will be armed with the knowledge you need to make the best selections for your product.
Pattern Making & Revisions
Now that your materials have been selected, your PM will liaise with the head pattern maker to confirm the construction elements needed to support your design. The digital pattern will be drafted and the tech pack built so that you have all the materials needed to construct your first sample (prototype).
Following the cutters must detailed in your digital pattern, and reading the tech pack information, your cutter will cut the pattern pieces and trims with precision to hand over to the sample makers (sewers) who will expertly assemble your first sample.
Our veteran sample maker team has constructed garments ranging from evening gowns to swimwear, to streetwear and childrens clothing. The sample team communicates any important information back to your PM and pattern maker when building the sample to ensure that all details are perfectly harmonized and working together to build your designs.
At this stage, your project manager will put together a cost sheet that shows the cost of producing the garment. It is composed of your bill of materials (how much of each material is needed to make one garment and what that cost is), combined with all labor costs (cutting and sewing), and any treatments (think – printing, embroidery, etc). This gives you a complete picture of exactly how much it will cost to make each unit of each of your styles.
Your project manager will inspect the sample garment to ensure everything is perfect before it is brought to your first fitting. The constant communication between the PM, pattern maker, and sample makers is why having a cohesive team is so critical to accurately and efficiently creating your garments.
During the fitting you will meet with the pattern maker to try on your samples and review all adjustments that need to be made. After the fitting, all adjustments needed will be made to the digital pattern and tech pack accordingly (back to Step 4). Once adjustments are made, a second sample will be cut to ensure that everything was updated to your satisfaction. If any fabric or trim changes are needed after the first fitting, you will go back to Step 2 to ensure your PM finds the perfect fabrics to execute your design.
Milestone 2: Fit Approval
Once the final sample has been approved for fit, we can begin the production process.
Milestone 3: PO (Purchase Order) + Deposit
Your project manager will develop a purchase order sheet that includes specification of the product, product price, total order quantity, size breaks and packing instructions. Once approved, you will make a 50% deposit for production to begin (the remaining 50% is due when production is complete).
Your project manager will hand off all of the development materials to our Director of Production who will allocate your project to the cutting/sewing teams to get the PPS sample (pre-production sample) done for your approval.
Production Pattern Release
The pattern for each garment will be handed over for production.
Marking & Grading
Grading is the process of scaling your digital patterns from the sample to create a unique digital pattern for all sizes in your size run. Once your garment has been graded, a production marker is created. This is the process of taking all of your pattern pieces (for all sizes you are producing, and how many of each size) and fitting them most efficiently over the width of your fabric – taking into account the direction of the fabric grain and prints to ensure everything lines up when the individual pattern pieces are sewn together.
Order Production Fabric & Trim
Production fabric and trim orders are placed according to volume produced.
Milestone 4: PPS Sample Client Approval
Pre-production samples are crucial and always required before bulk production begins. Particular care should be taken in approving a PPS sample because the final production will be based on this sample.
Using the markers made from graded patterns, fabrics are cut by the cutters musts to prepare for garment assembly.
Milestone 5: Top Sample Client Approval
A top sample is a sample made from the first production run. Once it is approved, we can begin production sewing.
Bulk production of the garment begins in our factory.
Trims on final products are inspected to ensure they are perfect.
Folding & Packing
The final products are inspected by quality control, then folded and packed so that they are ready for shipment to you.
Ship to Client
Congratulations! We completed the production process and the final products are shipped to you so that you can ship them directly to your awaiting customers!
Ready to start your fashion business?
Book a Development Kickoff Meeting to meet with one of our brand consultants to learn more about the development and production process. We will also establish all of the details of your project and how Indie Source can make that happen.