After you have come up with innovative clothing designs that satisfy market needs, you’ll have to decide how to turn them into reality. You need samples to develop a marketing plan so as to get orders. Besides, a plan to produce the clothing orders. You wouldn’t want to get an order of several thousand pieces of clothes within few weeks but without a manufacturing plan in place.
Following are some factors to consider.
* Where do you want to produce, locally or outsource clothing manufacturing to China?
* What production methods do you prefer?
* What’s the production volume, custom printed fabric, styles, colors?
* What are your requirements on manufacturing quality?
* How long is the turnaround time?
For apparel manufacturing in China, there’re three main production methods.
* Custom Production
* Mass Production
* Mass Production
Each production method has its pros and cons, depending on the services/products you provide.
Custom products are one of a kind items that are produced individually either by a tailor, artisan, craftsman, etc. It involves more customization processes like customers selecting fabrics, accessories and finalizing them. It’s also what the designer/craftsman’s reputation is built on.
Customized products carry more value than those that are mass produced as they require more time and expertise. In the apparel industry, most of the custom made clothes hold special values to the owners like custom wedding dresses, men’s suits that focus more on fitting of the body, lifestyle, etc.
A major setback of custom made clothing is long turnaround time as it’s usually meticulously handcrafted requiring lots of labor inputs.
With the progressing of industrial revolution, machines were invented to complete single tasks to improve efficiency. Sewing machines were used by fashion manufacturers to replace hand needles, hand scissors were no longer in use with the wide prevalence of electric cutting saws, and handlooms were replaced by industrial looms.
The greatest advantage of mass production is shorter delivery time and low costs, while the biggest disadvantage is lacking of product uniqueness, requiring a big investment on stocks as mass production would need a big order quantity to start with, which means you would have to prepare some stocks first, risking of unsold inventory.
A revolutionizing approach to clothes manufacturing in China, mass customization caters to the growing needs of personalized clothes and services.
Mass customization combines the advantages of custom production and mass production, while offering a much affordable, efficient solution. It aims at providing flexible manufacturing at a more reasonable price.
Mass customization shortens the time frame from order to delivery. Compared with mass production, mass customization involves customers more. For example, customers can go with custom printed fabric from China, selection of buttons, zippers, accessories, adjustment of size tables, etc. It can be the foundation of a clothing business as the clothing owner/designer can adjust their design and production processes with the marketing needs.
Your next decision is to which one is best to visualize your dream. If you’re a startup or a small clothing business owner, it’s suggested to start with a small production to test the markets.