Finding good clothing manufacturers to partner with isn’t easy.
Good clothing manufacturers do a lot of business, they work with many fashion brands and they couldn’t care less about their online presence.
In fact, some clothing manufacturers don’t even have a website and if they do, they have a very basic one.
Try to do an online search on google, for example: “clothing manufacturers in US” and you will notice the first results that pop up are not producers but rather online business pages or business blogs.
These businesses know how to optimize their website, they write great content , sometimes they even pay ads therefore they rank well in google.
That’s why that once you have found producers you liked, you need to know how to approach them in a way that maximizes your chances of success to do business with them.
You cannot afford making costly mistakes in that first email or message that you will send to clothing manufacturers.
Let me share a real bad example with you, I can promise you clothing manufactures get messages like this all the time or even worse:
“Hi there, I am looking for a streetwear and a haute-couture manufacturer with amazing quality, great price and low MOQs. I would like to be able to order a sample first and then order the smallest possible quantities. I need you to be able to ship to Sweden and I would need everything in maximum 3 weeks from start to finish. Are you able to help me with this? If so what would be the first step and how much would you charge me for a hoodie, t-shirt and a handmade dress? Thanks, Erik.”
Here are 7 common mistakes you must avoid when contacting clothing manufacturers:
Being too informal
“Hi There“, not a drammatic mistake, but you should be more formal and cordial in your first email and write “Dear Madam/Sir”. If you know the name of the person use Dear [First name]. You are not talking to your friend (yet, hopefully they will become your friend).
Forgetting to introduce yourself
Make sure you introduce yourself in that first paragraph, what’s your name and what’s your role in the company? Just finalising your email with Regards and your first name is not enough and it sounds unprofessional.
Being too vague
Just saying what’s your brand category “streetwear brand” is not enough, what kind of garments do you want to make exactly? Hoodies? T-shirts? What fabrics do you want to use?
Make sure you include as many details as possible, that’s very important, it shows you have a clear project and you can help the producer understand if this is a project they can help you with.
Showing Lack of Knowledge
You don’t need to know everything of course, but asking the manufacturer “if they can ship to Sweden, what is the next step?” or “wanting to create a streetwear and a haute-couture” (total opposite categories, being haute-couture an unreasonable one for a new designer) would only show you know nothing about the business of Fashion and how apparel manufacturing works. Not many clothing manufacturers have patience to educate clients on very basic things.
Make sure you read as many books and blogs about how the business of fashion and apparel manufacturing work.
Forgetting to Introduce your Brand
Another deadly mistake is not introducing your brand, what’s the name of your brand and what is your brand all about? What brand are you creating? What’s your mission? Who are you selling to?
If you don’t introduce your brand in one or two sentences, the factory will think you are not really serious about your brand or at least you haven’t yet thought things through and they will not want to do business with.
Make sure you have done your market research and perform a branding exercise before starting to reach out to clothing manufacturers. You need to know in detail what kind of brand you want to create.
Showing you have no resources
You don’t need a lot of money to start a fashion brand but you shouldn’t mention it in the very first email you have a low budget.
By saying you have very low MOQs you will make the producer run away because where they make the most money is during production runs, not during development or during the process of creating samples.
Besides low MOQs is subjective, maybe you were thinking about 300 pieces and they thought you were thinking about 50.
You should discuss minimum orders after you established contact with a producer. Often, when a producer has rather big MOQs they will let you know immediately in their first answer as they hate wasting time.
If at the end after a couple of exchanges they have too large MOQs that’s fine, you will have made a pleasant and correct first contact with someone you can reach out in the future once your brand grows.
Furthermore, you should ask them for recommendations of more flexible producers for you to contact.
Having unrealistic demands
Who doesn’t want great quality, speedy deliveries and low price? Everybody, of course.
But here’s the thing:
You need to be careful how you speak about this and more so in your first email. Let’s look at the example” with amazing quality, great price and low MOQs” and “I would need everything in maximum 3 weeks from start to finish.“
By saying this in the first email it just shows you are unrealistic because wanting amazing quality, great price and low MOQs are things that don’t go hand in hand. Having the best quality with the best price and on the top of that low MOQs is simply not possible.
Also wanting everything done in 3 weeks when you still have to develop samples is not going to happen, it takes more time than that.
You will sound unrealistic, rigid and a nightmare to work with.
No point in demanding anything in that first email, get a reply first and only after you can start checking if they are the right producer for you.
Three more very important things:
First: I recommend you to wait 3-4 working days for an answer, if they don’t reply after that period give them a call, good producers are busy so they receive many production requests, they might have simply forgotten to answer. And no, they do not work during the weekend so don’t expect an answer on a Saturday or a Sunday.
Second: As mentioned above, if they cannot work with you, because for example they are too busy or they have high MOQs, or they cannot produce your garments, always ask for a recommendation, clothing manufacturers know each other and they might be able to introduce someone that can be a good fit for your current requirements.
Third: Never attach files in that first email as that will very likely trigger the spam filter and they will never even receive your email. Furthermore there’s no point in showing designs or tech packs before they reply to you.
I hope you found this article helpful, if you are looking for clothing manufacturers feel free to check our directories, if instead you are looking for 1-1 consultancy I am also available to help you out.