How to Find the Right Garment Manufacturer?

According to my  20+ years of experience in operating a garment factory, I found that the novice clothing sellers lacked understanding of the clothing factory, and there were many difficulties in communication during the cooperation process. It is necessary for new clothing businessmen to understand clothing manufacturing factories. So I  will navigate you through with below outlines:


How to find the right garment manufacturer?

1. The difficulties in the early stage of running a clothing factory

2. How to judge a garment factory is good or not ?

2.1 What kind of clothing factory is good? Big or small?
2.2 What kind of clothing brand do they work with?
2.3 How is the clothing Factory integrity?
2.4 Is the clothing factory management structure reasonable?

3. What should online sellers or physical wholesalers/ retailers pay attention to when looking for clothing factories

3.1 MOQ of the clothing factory
3.2 Quality Control System of the Garment Factory
3.3 Payment Term of the Garment Factory

4. The impact of the pandemic on the apparel manufacturing industry

5. How to find a suitable garment factory after the pandemic and maintain Long-term cooperation

About the author


♠Craftsman who has been deeply involved in the clothing industry for over 30 years

♠Apparel company and enterprise management; Factory management

♠With self-owned clothing brand and factory

Mr chan

Founder of sense union

1. The difficulties in the early stage of running a clothing factory

The specific time when I started my first clothing factory should be in the second half of 2001, when I was 36 years old. Before starting my business, I was doing the job as clothing merchandising and accumulated a lot of practical experience. So when I accumulated a certain amount of resources, I started my own business. And my motivation for starting a business is my desire to succeed.

You may ask, when we have excellent garment manufacturing skills and rich industry experience, should we start our own business to maximize our value? The answer I give is yes. Many clothing craftsmen have this idea, and every clothing practitioner has his own brand dream!

Is poverty good or not?

Poverty gives rise to a desire for change.

But some people are too poor to have the courage to start a business. After all, starting a garment business requires a lot of investment. But wanting to make money is really a big motivator.

When I was planning to start a clothing business, I had the resources in hand, not blindly and unprepared. When I made up my mind, the first step I chose was to run a clothing factory. After all, with plentiful garment manufacturing technics and skills, the factory is relatively easy for me to get started. In fact, having these advantage is a good thing, but after starting the clothing factory, I found that the advantages are sometimes bad things for the boss. As the boss will ignore the strategic direction of the company because of focusing on technology, and instead it restricts the development of the factory.

In the early days of my clothing business, I encountered some difficulties with the garment factory. In fact, the factory is the most complex chain in the clothing supply chain.

Difficulties for a new clothing start up is shortage of orders and employees

Sometimes the workers are full but the orders are not available; sometimes the orders are full and the employees are dissatisfied, both of which are troubled. Fortunately for me, there were a few people in my family who worked hard to support me.

At the beginning, I tried to work with the clothing brand companies. At that period, payment term was the biggest problem for the clothing factory. Generally, it takes two to three months for clothing brands to pay the clothing factory. Any cash flow problem would bring huge difficulties to maintain the clothing factory. At that time, I met a clothing brand company that originally promised to pay 2 months after delivery, but it took 2 years to get the money. Back then I had to rely on credit cards to make ends meet.

In terms of orders, the advantages of the resources I have brought me some convenience. Before I ran the clothing factory, my former boss  promised me with orders, which gave me a lot more opportunities than many entrepreneurial bosses. I have also seen many bosses encounter situations where there are no orders and no employees. At that time, we paid every new employee with a guaranteed minimum salary. And my cash flow could only maintain for three months. At that time, I made a plan to make no money for a year. All the order margins were  all  paid to the employees.

Thanks to the enough orders support,  the only thing I needed to do was to stabilize the employees within three months. If I sucessfully achieved that goal my cash flow would turnover. So my main task at that time was to organize and stabilize the clothing manufacturing workers. Sewing workers were very popular in those days, and the fault of sewing workers was very serious. Almost most factories lacked skilled sewing workers. Most of those sewing workers go to whichever clothing factory pays the highest salary. They rarely have long-term plans. So maintenance and organization of employees is very important.

Sharing my entrepreneurial experience here is to let everyone understand that the founders of garment factories that can survive for more than 10 years have experienced various hardships. They can see from your behavior and attitude whether you are a clothing brand worthy of cooperation and support. So if you want to find a clothing factory that can cooperate for a long time, you need to show your sincerity instead of arrogance.


2. How to judge a garment factory is good or not?

♠2.1 What kind of clothing factory is good? Big or small?

First of all, I don’t think the size of the factory can be used to judge the quality of the factory. Large factories are relatively complete in all aspects of management system, and their quality control is relatively better than small factories; but the disadvantage of large factories is that there are too many people and management costs are too high, making it difficult to adapt to the current flexible production lines of various varieties and small batches. The price is relatively high. This is also the reason why many clothing companies are now starting to build small factories.

When it comes to the size of the garment factory now, it cannot be compared with the past. In the 1990s, the factory had tens of thousands of employees, but now it is not easy to find a garment factory with hundreds of employees. And now the common size of many garment factories is a dozen people.


And now there are fewer and fewer skilled clothing workers in garment factories. Now that  the mainstream who remain are older clothing workers. But older workers have rigid minds, they rarely think fordward, and don’t want to learn new technologies. The current clothing employees are basically the age of 60s and 70s. There are not many people born in the 1980s who make clothing, even fewer in the 1990s, and almost none in the 2000s.

In recent years, there have been fewer and fewer large orders, and large factories have gradually closed down because they cannot meet the current demand for orders. Small factories are relatively more flexible, and compared with large factories, the management costs of small factories can be controlled relatively well, so the scale of factories is now shrinking.

For garment production automation, currently only suits and shirts can be realized. There are still many craftsmanship required for suits, and it is difficult to automate mass production of fashion. Especially for high-end customized clothing, the degree of automation is even lower. In fact, for the current clothing technology, the higher the category, the more manual participation is required, and it is difficult for automated things to completely replace all processes.

Therefore, when looking for a garment factory, you must: Find a factory of the corresponding scale according to the quantity of your order.

If the order quantity is small, but you are looking for a large-scale factory, even if the factory agrees to do it, it will not pay much attention to the order. However, if the order is relatively large, but a small-scale factory is found, the final delivery time is also a big problem. At the same time, we don’t think that many processes are automated operations, so we bargain with the factory. In fact, as far as the current technology is concerned, the degree of automation of clothing is not very high, and the labor cost is still very high.

2. How to judge a garment factory is good or not?

♠2.2 What kind of clothing brand do they work with?

When looking for a factory, it is best to first inquire about which clothing brands your intended factory serves. If the factory is mainly OEM/ODM for big brands, then he may not be interested in online store orders focusing on low-end market. For example, our factory is mainly focus on OEM orders with clothing brands. Brands just need to show your designs or ideas, others such as purchasing fabric, accessories, cutting, sewing, finishing and packaging are all done by us. In addition, we also help customers deliver goods.  So our customers just need to do a good job on brand selling.

So my suggestion is if you are happened to be online store seller focusing on low-end market, it is better to find the correspodence online store factory. Because even if the OEM brand clothing factory accepts the online order, if the operation is done according to the brand process, the online store buyers may not be able to accept this cost.

Now factories that have been dealing with online stores orders for a long time will basically understand the needs of online store merchants. Fast Delivery With General Quality(LOW PRICE). They will be more suitable for you.

Well matched should alwyas be in priority when looking for clothing factories

First check the garment factory’s main cooperative clothing brands, understand what categories they mainly do, and understand the quality grade and main style of the factory’s clothes, and find a cooperative factory that matches you.

2. How to judge a garment factory is good or not?

♠2.3 How is the clothing Factory integrity?

The integrity of a clothing factory is also a key indicator to measure the quality of a factory. Any clothing brands looking for a factory must first review the integrity of the garment factory. If you want to know the integrity of the clothing factory, you can go directly to Google or social media to check whether the factory has any bad records.

Now this kind of information is very transparent. As long as the factory does have relevant bad reputations, there will be customers who will expose it on the Internet. Once you find any relevant information on the Internet, you must not cooperate with them, otherwise various problems will easily occur. In fact, a clothing factory with any bad integrity  will not last long.

2. How to judge a garment factory is good or not?

♠2.4 Is the clothing factory management structure reasonable?

By looking at the management structure of the factory, you can also see the quality of a clothing factory. If there are too many management staffs, though it may seem normal, but the management cost will also increase. If the factory management cost is too high, it will definitly bring higher cost. However, if the factory blindly reduces costs, there will be no staffs in key positions. Especially the quality control positions, which are now being reduced in many factories. Whether a factory can produce high-quality products has a lot to do with the factory’s quality control awareness.

For quality control, normal factories should have three inspections: front, middle and back. This is the most basic, but quality control does not produce direct benefits, so some factories will reduce it. But if the clothing factory only focuses on production efficiency and saves costs in quality control, they cannot cooperate as well.

It can be said that 80% of the clothing factories now lack QC (quality control) positions. After all, for garment factories, it is definitely the output that benefits. But for clothing brands, quality is the most important. The best solution is to balance bothaspects. However, regarding the workmanship, nowadys the quality  is declining comparing with garment factories before 10 years ago. 


This section mainly discusses how you can understand the actual situation of the clothing factory from four perspectives: the scale of the factory, the service objects of the factory, the integrity of the factory , the staffing and management costs of the factory. Before looking for a garment factory to cooperate with, it is very necessary to understand the situation of these four aspects, which is very important to whether we can achieve long-term cooperation and happy cooperation in the future.

3. What should online sellers or physical wholesalers/ retailers pay attention to when looking for clothing factories

♠3.1 MOQ of the Clothing Factory

For garment merchants just starting out, the MOQ of an order is the most critical factor. Many garment factories with a certain scale have certain requirements for the MOQ of a single style. Although many factories have implemented flexible small-batch production and customization, the requirements for the quantity of a single style are not high, but garment merchants should pay attention to the cost. After all, clothes need to face the market, not the owner of the business. If the unit cost is too high due to a small batch, your products will be uncompetitive in the market.

For example, SENSE UNION focus mainly on orders with quantity 200-500pcs. This is to avoid the unecesarry cost incurred by high consumption and surcharge material cost. To make our partners with not only good quality but also with reasonable and competitive cost is always our firt mission.


3. What should online sellers or physical wholesalers/ retailers pay attention to when looking for clothing factories

♠3.2 Quality Control System of the Garment Factory

Quality is the threshold that any clothing brands cannot cross. There is no need to talk about brand value without quality. Without quality, at most it can only be regarded as a lable on the clothes. Therefore, if you are looking for establishing a garment brand, you must pay attention to whether the garment factory has a complete quality management system when looking for a garment factory. Generally speaking, quality control runs through the entire clothing manufacturing process, including pre-production quality control, inline-production quality control, and pre-shipment quality control. The cost of a factory that implements quality control is often higher than that of a factory without a quality management system. So don’t blindly pursue cheap prices, because no matter how successful brand marketing is, it will also be ruined by the quality of clothing and customer comments. 

Besides,  whether the garment factory provides after-sales service or bears the losses caused by quality problems is also one of the criteria to measure whether the garment factory is worthy of cooperation.


3. What should online sellers or physical wholesalers/ retailers pay attention to when looking for clothing factories

♠3.3 Payment Term of the Garment Factory

Payment term is also a key factor when negotiating cooperation with the garment factory. Flexible payment terms can make your cash flow more smooth. Different garment factories holds different payment terms. All that you need to do is to negotiate with the garment factories and do your best to get as much support as you can.

Whatever the differencies are, the principle remains the same. If you want to find a suitable gament factory for long-term cooperation. Try not just to cooperate with the garment factory for merely clothing manufacturing but also as partners and experts. Especially when you are lack of clothing manufacturing experience. Their expertise can keep you from irreconcilable contradictions.

In terms of MOQ, quality follow-up, payment terms, etc., it is necessary to reach a win-win cooperation agreement in order to better cooperate. In all aspects, SENSE UNION has over 20 years of clothing manufacturing experiece. You may refer to us for free inquiry as you wish.

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