Choosing fabrics for manufacturing clothes and other items out of is important, but equally important for a business is where you get your fabrics from. The typical textile company doesn’t have the resources to actually have their own “in-house” source of fabrics and threads. In most cases, the production, harvesting, and processing is done by a supplier.
How, then, does someone who is new to the textile and clothing business figure out who to source their fibers from? After all, businesses can live or die based on the quality of their suppliers, and all of them have to work together. The best knitting equipment from Xdknitmachinery won’t matter if you’ve got substandard fibers, after all.
Find a Good Reputation
One of the things to look out for when sourcing any raw material is the reputability of the source. Is the company a reliable provider? If they’ve got a bad reputation, you are putting yourself at risk because of how important the supplier is to your operations. You want someone you can count on to be consistent and to get you what you need, in the quantity and quality that you need them.
Go online and do some research, find details on who they’ve worked with before and how long they’ve been in the business. If they provide additional related services, are those of any use to you? Some companies provide the option to process raw fibers into threads before sending them to you, while others do not. Is this something that would be of interest to you, perhaps as a way of reducing overhead costs?
Find a Local Partner
Location is also important, even if many would dismiss it as trivial. Where the fabrics come from is important, because if they’re from far away, it can eat into your costs. Greater distances mean more fees paid for transportation, which makes having a local supplier something more practical from a financial standpoint.
There is also the additional benefit of being able to go to the supplier in person if the need arises. This can go a long way to keeping relations smooth and relaxed. Suppliers may act otherwise, but they do treat clients differently if they can expect a sudden visit at any time. This keeps the more honest and it gives you an avenue to address any concerns or issues that arise in a manner that puts pressure on the supplier to fix it.
Find One You Can Afford
Can you afford that supplier? Here’s something most people don’t realize until later on. Most of the time, the fibers that you use to make clothing or other items will make up 60% of your costs in the textile business. That is a massive portion of the budget, and it goes the most basic of materials. If you can’t afford a supplier, then you need to go with a different one. If you can’t sustain the costs of that supplier, you won’t survive to reach profitability.
However, do take a moment to consider the quality of what you’re getting compared to what you’re paying for. If the product is very good, then it’s reasonable for them to ask for such a high price. It also makes sense for you to pay it, provided your budget can cover the costs in the long-term. If the value for your money isn’t there, walk away.
Find One That Can Deliver Consistently
Will the fabric be available when you need it? The production of fibers can be tricky, especially natural ones. In the event of a bad season, silk and wool might be hard to come by. Cotton is resilient, but a bad harvest can really damage supplies. Synthetic fibers are not as volatile, but they can be dependent on the price of oil, as this affects their base material.
You want a supplier that is reliable enough that they can deliver your orders even through some difficult times. You need to know that they can provide in the bulk you require when you require it. Sometimes, this means going for a larger and more expensive firm.
In other instances, this involves going to the mill directly and asking if you can have your order tacked on to a larger order. This is something they do on occasion and can help ensure you have access to the fibers unless something drastic has occurred.
Optional: Find a Green One
Finally, many are concerned about the environmental impact. Does the supplier have practices that minimize the damage they do to the environment? This would often involve proper waste disposal procedures and perhaps even relying on recycled fibers.
The importance of this can vary from person to person, but if this is something that is vital to you, then it should be reflected in the practices of your suppliers.
Sourcing your fibers for the textile business can be hard. You likely don’t have the finances or resources to make them in-house, so it’s best to know how to find a good supplier. Their practices, their location, and even their reliability are all important factors in making that choice.
More on this topic: Wearable Technology – Where its at and Where it’s going