Starting A Clothing Line: How to Fabric Source

Fabric and trim sourcing can be a bit overwhelming! To help prepare you for the days of sourcing, we created the following list of questions to have on hand:

1. Do you offer sample yardage?

As you develop your product line you will want to test your fabrics. Depending on the scope of your line this means that you will want to start off with somewhere around 5-20 yards of sample yardage. Testing with sample yardage first to ensure that the fabric is a good fit will save you tons of money down the road. Sometimes the fabric shrinks too much, or is too hard to sew. You want to learn these factors during the sampling stage so that you can pick new fabrics , or find solutions, before you order hundreds of yards and start producing hundreds of garments!

2. What is the minimum amount of fabric that I can order for production?

Once your samples are perfected and you are ready for production you need to order your production yardage. Every supplier has different minimums that need to be met for placing a production order. This can range from 1 yard to thousands of yards. Before you fall in love with a fabric in the development phase, make sure to ask up front what their minimum order is for production. Even if you love this fabric, 10,000 yards is a lot if you only need 500!

3. Does this fabric have continuity and do you keep it in stock?

It can be many months between the time that you start work on the development of your product to the time that you are ready to order the fabric for production. Before you order the sample yardage, you want to make sure that the fabric you chose has continuity and will be in stock and ready to ship when you need it in a few months. It would be quite a setback to have perfected your sample only to learn that you cannot reproduce that style!

4. How long does it take for this fabric to ship?

Some companies will ship as quickly as the next day while others can take anywhere from 2-5 weeks. This can really affect your production time and then your sales timeline. For scheduling purposes it is important to know how long it will take for your fabric to ship out to you so that you can build that into your production plan.

5. What are your payment terms?

As we have discussed before, it takes a community to run a clothing line! Your fabric suppliers are a huge part of that community and the first step to building a trusting relationship is paying on time. Every fabric supplier has different payment terms. Some take credit cards, others require COD while still others prefer checks. It is important to learn about these before you place your order to ensure that you can pay them in a timely manner.

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