For most independent fashion businesses, reaching the point at which you need to scale production is a milestone. The biggest hurdle, however, is figuring out how to increase production without sacrificing quality or allowing changing price points to affect your bottom line.
It’s natural to want to hold onto control at all levels of the process, especially if you’re currently producing the clothing yourself or with a small team. But if there’s one thing we wish every indie fashion brand knew, it’s that the smarter choice isn’t always to invest money in more equipment and more hands, but to invest your time in finding the right manufacturing partner who can meet your exacting standards. Here’s why.
What scaling clothing production looks like if you invest in equipment and new hires
First, consider what the process would look like if money wasn’t an obstacle and you instantly had access to all the equipment you’d need to do it yourself.
General pros are:
- Owning your own equipment as a business asset
- Showcasing your competitive advantage through messaging
- Quality control made easier for in-house production
- Job creation
For the right operation, this may be an ideal model. But for many, the cons outweigh the benefits:
- High cost of maintaining equipment and resources
- Increased overhead for bigger workspaces
- Beholden to malfunctions and maintenance delays
- Increased administrative and legal requirements (i.e. payroll, legal, management, etc)
- Increased cost of new employees
- Limited by local labor pools and skill levels
All things considered, you end up spending more time playing the role of an admin, and less time focusing on the creative process. Suddenly you’re reinventing the wheel at higher costs and greater time sinks than if you worked with existing manufacturers. Add to that increased time managing people on top of managing production cycles, and you’ve easily doubled or tripled the strain on your own time and resources with only a small increase in manufacturing capability. The cost of scaling your clothing production in-house can quickly outpace any gains from increased demand.
What the process looks like if you scale production with professional clothing manufacturers
If you already have a successful product, professional clothing manufacturers will work with you to establish goals and expectations and ultimately meet your production needs without the huge investment, which in turn allows you to:
- Access skilled production capable of producing to spec
- Access tried and true networks for sourcing materials and shipping products
- Prioritize your designs and improve your product with expert pattern makers and professional insights
- Focus your time on building your brand and product development instead of managing your own factory
Mass production does not have to mean a loss of quality or identity, especially if you partner with manufacturers who are as passionate about your brand as you are. We work with hundreds of startups and growing fashion brands at Indie Source, and always make it a priority to support their vision with quality and sustainability. Hear from other brands who scaled their brand with expert manufacturing partners, and consider what the future of your line could be with the right plan in place!
Bottom line: you’re in this to become a brand, not a manufacturer.
Your passion lies with your product and customers. If your goal is to produce the best quality clothing at greater scale, then partnering with experts in manufacturing is the surest next step in scaling your clothing line. Bring your products and patterns to the table and get experienced manufacturing insights into how we can help you meet your increased production needs.
Indie Source is based in LA, but we work with brands all over the country to develop top-quality clothing and fashion products that meet and exceed your brand standards. To learn more about partnering with us, check out our Kick Off Meeting package for new clothing brands.