When a factory advises a price quote for production of your garment or item, the price may or may not include shipping. When an overseas factory provides a price, they will add an abbreviation to the end of the price. These abbreviations include: FAS, FOB, CIF, LDP, and DDP. You must understand the meaning of these, so you can understand what is included in the price and what portions the factory is responsible for.


After you discuss what styles, quantities, and services you need to be produced, a factory may advise a price per piece for production. The price will be based on a particular minimum order quantity (MOQ). You will wonder if the price is a fair price, as well as what a typical price for an item such as yours should be.


Many factories provide a wide variety of services; however, only 15-20 years ago there were separate factories for sewing, embroidery and so forth. There still are, but today, many factories do everything! Today, many fabric mills also even capable of garment-making. It is easier now to have to coordinate with just one factory per order, as opposed to with many factories as was the case in recent history.


In order to get orders, you must have someone or some site or place selling your product. You can attempt to get sales yourself. You can post your designs on social media, or take your items to stores in your area, or even get your samples together and exhibit at a trade show. However, very few succeed at selling large amounts via social media or by calling on stores directly; and trade shows are costly endeavors and rarely economically successful for first-time exhibitors.


Often a designer or new company has a target number of how they hope their new item will sell and therefore how many they should produce in their first production run. This is often an assumptive quantity based sometimes only on confidence, but not always realistic in today’s market. During your first conversation or email with a factory, if you advise that you plan to make 1,000-1,500 units of a style of garment the first time out, you should have orders for those. If you cannot sell 1,000-1,500 units quite quickly, you will be at a large loss and could risk putting your new company out of business really early.


You should have ideas on the fabric/fabric category you would like your item or collection to be made from, and what treatments or trimmings you are considering. In terms of fabric, it is recommended to obtain a small swatch of your desired fabric and attach it to your sketch.


When factory sourcing, you need a sample. You need something tangible to show booth reps; so they can see what you want, and not just hear about what your needs. If you cannot bring an actual sample of your idea or item, then make sure to bring along a detailed sketch.


You have an idea for a new garment, apparel concept, clothing line or breakthrough product that doesn’t exist at retail, right? or…. You are a great designer and want to go out on your own? Well, if either answer is ”yes” and you hope to start a company and bring this new idea/garment/product to market—and are traveling to a trade show or sourcing event to research how to produce this idea/garment/product—then this guide is for you.