Sourcing Basics

A step-by-step guide to apparel and sewn-product production sourcing for designers, product developers, entrepreneurs and new fashion companies sourcing production at trade shows and other industry events.


When sourcing production, do inquire about reorders. Reorders must be produced faster than first production orders. This is because if a store initially orders three dozen of an item, sells the three dozen in one week, then orders two dozen more– they will want that additional order as soon as possible.


Some larger retailers will dictate the standards that you must meet when they place an order. Department stores, Amazon, and large chain retailers have vendor compliance standards. They receive hundreds of boxes from dozens of manufacturers each day and will specify precisely how each item must be packed, where the bar-code must be placed, and where purchase order numbers should be placed on each box.


This is an important step… after you source and research, and select a factory or two you feel may work well… you should evaluate the factory. Some of the evaluation can be done in writing. Questions can be emailed back and forth, such as: Who do they manufacture for?


The countries in which you source should be countries whose area of expertise matches what your new design concept requires. If beading is on your garment or item, then you could think of India first. If wool suits are what you are designing, consider Italy or Japan, both among the great countries for producing for tailored woolen garments.


You need a sample or sketch when beginning to source production. Once you are in deeper discussions with a factory, they will expect more specifics details regarding the look, size, and production of your style.


When you place a production order with a factory, you will email send them a Purchase Order. A Purchase Order is a contract that you place with a factory and it lists the style, the quantity, size and color breakdown, price, and the delivery of what you are ordering.