by Hannah Badminton
We know that although most brands and designers are excited to work with an ethical garment manufacturer, their budget is just as price-sensitive as any other brand. To help our customers and others in the industry save money, Purnaa’s production manager, Richard Faber, has written 7 top tips for saving money when you go into production with an ethical garment manufacturer.
1. Plan Ahead
If you have long lead times and have planned your production far in advance, we will be able to order your fabric to be delivered by road. Although air freight only takes a few days to reach its destination, it adds considerable expense to overall costs. Goods delivered by road save on average, 50% of transport costs. For large orders this can save thousands of dollars, not to mention it is far better for the environment as it results in fewer carbon emissions.
2. Increase your quantity per style
It takes a lot of organizing and time to setup and train staff to make your new product. Ordering a larger quantity splits the setup cost. With every piece sewn, the sewers become a little faster at making it. So the more pieces of your product we make, the better the per piece production cost. Also, most fabric suppliers have high minimum order quantities and ordering small amount of fabric is more expensive. So increasing your order will decrease the cost of your fabric per piece. Delivery charges are also cheaper per kg at larger quantities.
3. Source the right fabric
Typically, fabric costs are at least 50% of the price of a garment. Research the materials you would like to use and be aware that prices differ greatly depending on fiber content, quality and GSM (the weight of the fabric). If you can source your own fabric you will save part of the sourcing fee that we charge to find new materials.
You can also optimize your designs to maximize material usage during the cutting process of production. Designs should produce as little fabric waste as possible and the width of the fabric plays an important role in determining the amount of waste you will create.
4. Simplify your design
Make construction easy by limiting the number of materials that go into your item. It helps to buy a product that closely resembles what you are trying to create so that you can study all of the different components. Consider the complexity and number of fabrics/trims used. Are they all necessary or functional? To keep costs down, be sure to construct features that don’t rely on difficult sewing techniques.
5. Reduce the number of colors and/or sizes
Reducing the variety or colors and sizes that you order means that the process of cutting the fabric is faster and sourcing is easier. Plus, there are fewer thread changes. This will make your order easier to source, track/pack and production will be quicker, saving you more money!
6. Place a long-term, repeat contract rather than a one-time order
Sewers have learned your design and we know how to source all of the materials, so repeating an order is much easier than starting a new one. If you believe your product will be successful, ordering larger quantities in advance will save you both time and money, increasing your speed to market and responsiveness to demand. Our production calendar is very busy, so if you would like to top up your order, it could take a few months before we have time to make more of your products.
7. Understand QC Tolerances
Every process has variation and room for error. We end of line check 100% of our products, which means all the pieces you receive have passed our strict quality control. The more tolerance you allow, it becomes faster to make your item and also for the QC department to check it. The savings are passed on to you!
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