Getting into garment manufacturing for your e-commerce shop can be a complex and intimidating process. There are many aspects of the process that can be technically and logistically complicated, including dealing with some of the legal requirements. Today, we want to demystify the first four crucial steps in this process. We know how important your product vision is to you, and we want you to succeed in your online venture! We also hope you’ll see why VOX MG is such a powerful partner when it comes to garment manufacturing. If you have a dream product, we can make it a reality. So, whether you want to take on these tasks yourself, or just to see how it’s done when we make it easy, here’s what’s involved.
1: Putting Together a Tech Pack
If you’re new to garment manufacturing, or if all you’ve done before was to get some basic printed t-shirts made, you may not have heard of a tech pack. The term is an abbreviation of “technical packet.” It’s a technical graphic design document that contains detailed instructions about each and every one of a manufactured product’s elements. It’s essentially a blueprint created by a clothing designer. It contains all the components and instructions required for a manufacturer to turn your design into a finished product. That includes materials, gradings, seams, colorways, measurements, trim, labels, and more.
For any kind of custom garment product, you need to provide your manufacturer with a tech pack, because without it, it’s nearly impossible to get the product you want in a timely or accurate manner. The alternative is literally to just “wing it” by having endless numbers of flawed samples made and altered until it finally looks right. That would be such an inefficient and expensive process that it would put out of business anyone who tried it.
A good tech pack includes detailed full-color sketches of your desired final product, alongside lists of materials, parts, and measurements, and labelled diagrams of how to assemble them. Providing these to your manufacturer prevents costly errors and keeps them accountable for the quality of their work. It also saves money by reducing the need for extra samples, and it also lets the manufacturer give clear cost estimates.
You can design your own tech packs with tools like Adobe Illustrator, or you can work with services like Techpacker that streamline the process. VOX MG takes care of putting together tech packs in collaboration with our clients, as well.
2: Getting a Factory or Finding Third-Party Sourcing
Once you have your design formalized, the next step is to find the right team to make it real. Getting a factory is not always the most straightforward process, though. A lot of ecommerce store owners rely on marketplace sites like Alibaba to connect them with factories in China and other countries where manufacturing costs are lower. The trouble with this strategy is that while it’s easy, it can be very hit-and-miss when it comes to quality. Most Alibaba listings are through middlemen rather than direct contact with the factories. Because of that, you never quite know what you’re going to get, because you can’t be sure what the factory ended up getting from you, either.
By contrast, VOX MG has over twenty years of experience working directly with factory management. We also know to do thorough checks of those factories’ quality control processes and manufacturing standards. This is one of the reasons we’re always able to deliver consistently high-quality custom garments and other products. We do the heavy lifting to ensure that everything’s done right on the road to the best possible outcomes for our clients.
3: Garment Manufacturing Always Requires Samples
If you’ve got a top-notch tech pack and you’re working with a great manufacturer, why would you still need to worry about the costly and time-consuming production of garment samples? Simply put, even the best of preparations almost never result in exactly what you’re looking for on the first try.
This is mostly because it’s not always easy to predict how certain materials and shapes will work together in reality based on an initial plan. Likewise, specific Pantone colors won’t end up looking the same when applied to different materials. A leather bag and a fabric t-shirt can look quite different even if they’re meant to come out as supposedly the same color.
So producing at least a couple of samples will be necessary to help work out those kinks in the plan. A sample may even reveal flaws in the plan itself that just wouldn’t be detected otherwise. This allows you to revise the design and improve it. In this way, getting samples made is an essential step in providing your customers with a product of high quality.
4: Import fees and taxes
Of course, once you have your design, your fabricator, and a few samples to confirm that everything’s ready, you’ll want to get started with production. After you make your finished product, though, there’s one other crucial step: getting it to the customer.
Since you’re most likely manufacturing overseas, that adds a significant wrinkle to the logistics of shipping and warehousing. You will have to deal with Customs duties, import fees, and other taxes. This can be an especially tricky step to plan for during periods of international trade disputes, and unfortunately, it’s basically unavoidable unless you decide to do all of your manufacturing stateside. Even then, the raw materials might still have to be imported, leaving you in the same place anyway.
The good news is that VOX MG’s experience with top-quality overseas manufacturing has also given us a great deal of experience with the best trade practices. We know how to help you get the best deals when it comes time to pay customs duties and import fees. Over the years, we’ve gained significant insights about the process, so that we are able to plan and predict with greater accuracy what kinds of fees you’ll be looking at before jumping into a new project.
Choose VOX MG for Easier and Successful Garment Manufacturing
Starting a new garment manufacturing venture for your online business or your brick-and mortar store can be complex, but it’s very doable as long as you know what you’re getting into. When you do it yourself, there’s always some trial-and-error before success, but it’s not impossible. The trickiest parts are knowing who to work with, and the vagaries of the tax process during importing time.
VOX MG provides the benefit of our two decades of experience navigating these and other tricky manufacturing issues. To realize your vision, we make the entire process a breeze from the design on up. You’ve got an idea for a great product to sell your shop. We can make that!