What to ask a manufacturer?

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This is our first post focusing on the Sqetch Academy. With this Academy we will focus on essentials that help you in the process of creating your ideas on apparel or accessories.

At Sqetch we try our best to connect you to a manufacturer that suits your needs. While we aim to ease the burden of finding a manufacturer all by yourself, it is important that you are also involved in the process. This Academy offers you some tips and tricks to help you find your perfect match, running the proces as smooth as possible and getting your brand in the market.

In this blog we explain some essentials when working with a manufacturer. First of all, start by doing your own research. Know what you want your product to look like, which materials you want to use, what quality you’re aiming for and for what price. Knowing these things beforehand greatly improves any communication with your potential manufacturer. There are basically four important things to keep in mind.

The product

Ask your suppliers whether they are familiar with the product that you would like to have made. Obviously, you don’t want to team up with a sock manufacturer for your denim shirts. You might want to find a manufacturer that has at least some expertise in your area. To check whether this is the case, you can check their website or profile on Sqetch.

If you want to know whether the quality of the manufacturer meets your standards, it is best to inquire about the possibility to have some garment samples sent over. This way you can make sure that the quality of the product meets your needs. Another way to check the quality of the manufacturer is to try to find out something more about the brands your manufacturer has worked with before. Are these brands known for good quality? And do they cover the same segment you are targeting? Try to get references and/or contact other companies that have worked with your manufacturer.

The factory

Think about the kind of place you want your products to be made. Does your manufacturer produce domestically or overseas? Ask your suppliers whether they produce everything themselves. If this is not the case, ask them where they send out their processes and maybe reconsider entering into a partnership with manufacturers that aren’t transparent. While it might not always be possible, we do advise to visit the factory to see the people, the work environment and the production process before entering into an agreement.

Payment and delivery

When it comes to the issue of payment, make sure that you are familiar with the manufacturer’s payment terms. Are they negotiable? Delivery wise there are some important things to keep in mind. Inquire about the lead-time, this is the amount of time between confirming the order and the moment your order is ready for delivery. Don’t expect your manufacturer to consistently deliver your products on time. Ask them what will happen when complications such as late delivery arise. To help avoid inferior products being delivered it is also highly recommended that you ask for online inspections and inspection reports prior to accepting the delivery. Also before payment best check the delivery yourself.

Costs

Make sure that the costs of the production are clear. It is important to establish the price per unit, but also find out what your total costs will be. Think of extra fees, such as for delivery and restocking. Make sure that there are no hidden costs. It might be possible that prices change as a result of currency fluctuations or unforeseen production problems that have a negative effect on the productivity. Ask your manufacturer to provide as much transparency on this issue as possible.

Try to keep these questions in mind when looking for a supplier that fits your needs. Never hesitate to ask your prospective manufacturer questions that give you more insight into the methods. It doesn’t hurt to try and after all it’s your brand. Let’s get it made!

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