It takes a quality-conscious entrepreneur to launch and maintain a thriving clothing business. A high-quality product can be achieved through detailed product development, excellent supplier relationships, and working with a supportive product manufacturer; but all this can leave people wondering, where to even start and how to make these improvements. We help brands like yours become more successful from the ground up, and these are the top areas we’ve identified for new or growing fashion lines. Learn everything here!
1. Thorough product development
Having a comprehensive product development plan can save you from unnecessary expenses and quality issues down the line. Many clothing manufacturers expect to receive detailed tech packs and plans for exactly how each product should be made. But how do you get from concept to final product reliably, especially if this is a first-time foray into the fashion industry?
For one, do your research and learn what to expect when working with clothing manufacturers, then figure out how to improve your products fast, and seek out clothing production partners who can work with you to nail down every detail of product development.
Involving your clothing manufacturer in the product development stage will ensure consistent production and quality. Indie Source builds product development into all our kick-off meetings for new clients as we know most new brands require some level of manufacturer input. So if you’re letting a lack of details or resources hold back your clothing line, know that not every clothing manufacturer is the same, and you can find development support at any level if you just seek out the right partner!
2. Reliable material sourcing
Shipping delays, supply chains issues, and changes in trade structures and tax regulations are massively affecting sourcing the world over. To make the most of your clothing production, you must know how to implement a successful sourcing strategy and develop strong relationships with your suppliers. This can be a huge hurdle for startups or young brands as making connections can be limited.
A few key points for evaluating a supplier’s reliability is to vet their past performance in the apparel industry through referencing brands they support and examining their current work flow. But if you find yourself struggling to even find suppliers in the first place, consider seeking out pre-existing supplier networks for fashion brands. Indie Source supports our clients with access to 50+ domestic mills, converters and importers to bolster your supply chain and deliver reliable sourcing.
3. Keep your clothing production partners domestic instead of outsourcing overseas
Understanding your production process from start to finish requires you to be close to your manufacturers. Working with domestic manufacturers allows you to develop that process and establish relationships faster and more efficiently.
Complicated and hard-to-supervise supply chains are one of the top reasons for breakdowns in quality and manufacturing. Domestic sourcing and manufacturing partners cut down on delays and supply chain hiccups and give you better visibility, and make it more manageable.
Domestic clothing production also reduces fuel consumption and environmental impact by reducing shipping distances. So choosing to manufacture domestically also scores you big points in the basket of sustainable fashion.
4. Work with experienced manufacturers
You may put hours into designing and thinking about clothing, but if you don’t find a manufacturer who can bring your vision to life, your line will only live in your imagination.
When choosing a clothing manufacturer, it is important to consider their production methods, certifications, location, and factors that affect the quality and cost of the final product.
How many brands has the company worked with? The quality of a manufacturer’s output can be assessed more easily if they mention brands you are familiar with. But even more important than name recognition is to confirm their level of experience with your particular niche. How have they helped fashion lines like yours launch and maintain success? Learn more about how to choose the right clothing manufacturer in our previous article.
5. Ensure your line has a solid branding and marketing strategy
Your brand voice should permeate your entire line, from the initial clothing designs to the swing tags. What does your brand represent? To ensure that every step you make throughout your process reflects your brand’s unique identity, you need to narrow it down and establish a consistent experience your customers associate with only your clothing line.
You will need to consider an online presence, social outreach, and general ways customers can connect with your brand and experience your clothing. So an easily navigable website and well-thought-out social media are critical marketing strategies you need to figure out in advance.
At Indie Source, we see branding as integral to product development as we do the actual construction of the garment- your logo is as important as where you add a seam or stitch. If you build branding and marketing into your clothing production plan from the start, you’ll strengthen the appeal and reach of your finished product. Learn more about our branding and marketing support specifically for fashion brands.
In a nutshell, the fashion biz can get complicated, but you probably have more support options than you know.
Running a successful clothing line is a complex endeavor. Many brands fizzle out at the dream stage because the technical barriers and learning curve are steep and often, difficult to overcome. But persistence is key, and that starts with knowing that professional support IS out there! You can have access to manufacturers and networks that will share your passion and their expertise to get you where you want to go, it comes down to identifying where you need support and finding the right fit.
Indie Source may not be the solution for every brand, but for the ones that work with us, we aim to provide the most comprehensive host of services and personal support out there. Check out our kick-off meeting offer for an overview of how we get to know new brands and build a plan to launch your line with all the tools you need.