What will it cost to produce my garment?

When new customers inquire about producing at Purnaa, one of the first things they want to know is "What will it cost to make my design?" Rightfully so. Costs affect your pricing and ability to sell, make a profit, and grow your business.

At Purnaa, as part of our value of transparency, we like to be up-front with pricing and give an estimate early in the conversation about making an item with us. But, so many details go into the manufacturing of a garment, that this first estimate tends to be very rough. After we work with you to develop your product and make a final sample, we give a final price quote for the order.

Some customers wonder what goes into this price and what to do when they need to reduce it, so let's talk about some of the details that will go into your final price.

Material: Purnaa is a custom cut-and-sew manufacturer, which means we don't make the material, but instead buy them ready for cutting. Because Nepal doesn't have a lot of local industry, we are usually importing material from our neighboring countries. The material typically accounts for 30%-70% of the cost of producing an item. Many things affect material cost: fibers (cotton, polyester, bamboo, hemp, etc), organic or sustainable requirements (GOTS, Fair Trade, Bluesign, etc), woven or knit, weight, width, thread size, thread count, dying, prints, treatments and so forth. We will work with you to find the best option for your needs.

Consumption: How much material will your item use? The pattern and width of material generally drive consumption. Some patterns can be changed slightly to be much more efficient in terms of material waste. Big pattern pieces are less efficient because small pieces can be rearranged in cutting to use every last inch of fabric space. Prints also strongly effect consumption. If a pattern must be cut in alignment with a print on the fabric, it usually wastes more.

Production Time: Factories drive profit through how much they can produce in a given amount of time. So, every little detail about making your product that affects how long production will take affects the cost.

Many factories use the Standard Allowable Minute (SAM) method, which is basically the total work-time needed to produce the item plus some percent for machine setup and maintenance and personal time (like getting a drink or going to the bathroom). There are published industry standard times (General Sewing Data) for most steps for how long a qualified technician takes to sew a garment. Teh SAM is determined by adding these times are together. Alternatively, the factory can perform a time study by timing each step during sampling. Many factories also use a Daily Production Average method of determining the time to produce a garment based on historical data from their factory. In either method, the factory must consider costs of labor, machine usage, overheads, electricity, maintenance, and a host of other costs that go into running the factory to determine a standard cost per unit of time.

At Purnaa, we perform a time-study during sampling and then analyze this time with our historical production data to determine a final production cost. Additionally, we find that increased complexity generally adds to the time. Many colorways, sizes, and variations adds to the management and time needed to get things right. So if you are looking for ways to reduce cost, looking for ways to keeping things simple is a good place to start.

Finishing: Does the item need pressing, special folding, a label or hang-tag, or special packaging? All of these add to the final cost.

Quantity: Everything gets better with practice. The more we make the faster we get, so your production cost will decrease. But also, the larger the batch, the less management overhead is used per item. Finally, the more we make the cheaper we can buy material, and the cheaper we can ship materials into Nepal and ship final products to you. If you need to reduce costs, being willing to invest in larger batches is a good way to go.

At Purnaa, we have a big pricing worksheet to consider all of the above for every style. We start filling the worksheet out during an initial estimate and refine it as we make the sample. The more detail you can give us at the start, the closer your estimate will be to the final quote. If you need to get your costs down, you can refer to our previous blog on the subject.