Kalopsia Collective offer their advice on how to engage with a manufacturer or supplier for the first time.
First impressions really do count and this can be a daunting part of building a brand but if you present yourself in a professional manor, ask the right questions and come prepared you will usually find you get a good response.
Find out more in this simple guide.
How to Approach a Fashion Manufacturer – a guide
From Kalopsia Collective
Too many entrepreneurs keep their dreams on hold because they’re unsure of how to deal with suppliers.
If you are just about to start your business, you will probably hesitate to approach them because you’re not sure if they’ll take you seriously. And what if they ask something I don’t know the answer to… yikes!
Well hold onto your hats, it’s likely they were you once, scared of making that first step, scared of looking stupid, we’ve all been there. And let’s face it, in my experience, humans love to help, so have an open, transparent conversation with your potential supplier to see if they can help you.
Consider also they want the same things as all businesses do: more sales, less risk, and reliable payments.
The risk appetite for suppliers typically depends on 4 things:
1. The size of your order
2. The past relationship with the buyer
3. The payment terms for the order (upfront payment equals lower risk)
4. The size, reputation, and seriousness of the buyer
For new businesses, getting suppliers on board is simply a matter of reducing exposure to risk. Suppliers typically won’t care about the size or age of your business as long as they’re getting paid.
You can also show your legitimacy by:
· Using a company email address (not Gmail or similar)
· Having a website.
· Incorporating your business
· Using a professional, serious tone in your emails
· Knowing what you want – and start your email with what you want!
· Being clueless is a clear sign of an amateur business owner – do your research.
“It’s better to be a professional sounding idiot than a complete idiot.”
— Colin Gilchrist, Social Tailor
1. Ask about Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
a. Manufacturing costs go down as the volume increases. Consequently, MOQ is one of the most important metrics when dealing with manufacturers.
b. Ask about the manufacturer’s MOQ in the first email you send them.
c. Don’t waste time dealing with a manufacturer who has higher MOQ than your requirements.
d. If you’re speaking to KALOPSIA, we don’t have minimum order quantities we do however have maximum order quantities.
2. Ask about shipping, and packaging
The manufacturing capacity and shipping time are two important factors in choosing a manufacturing partner. In your email, ask about the following:
a. The number of pieces they can manufacture in a day
b. Where the products will be shipped from/shipped to
c. Expected shipping time and carriers used
d. What kind of packaging will they use
e. Any customisation (on packaging or product) offered
f. Extra value added services (such as Amazon FBA selling) offered.
3. Ask for samples.
No serious business will choose a manufacturer without asking for product samples. As manufacturers we expect this. In your email, make sure that you offer to pay for and ask for a product sample. This will not only help you evaluate the manufacturer, but it will also show that you are serious about the business.
4. Ask more about the company and the factory
a. The age of the company
b. The number of employees
c. The size of the factory and its location
d. Pictures of the factory to give you an idea of the environment your product will be made in.
5. At KALOPSIA we have an FAQ and Help page that outlines the approach and best way to manage your process.
Who is Kalopsia Collective?
Our curated collection of products shapes and finishes give you everything you need to build your collection. Are you an established brand, or maybe just starting out? ASSEMBLE by Kalopsia Collective makes it easy to grow your collection.
Our clients include, printers, knitters, weavers, visitor centres, museums, galleries and retailers around the UK and across Europe. We support existing ranges and the challenges of new collections.