There are many factors to consider when producing made-to-order or ‘bespoke’ branded clothing and textiles, all of which will affect the price, quality and delivery times.
It can, therefore, be difficult to know if you are getting a good service. For instance, how do you know if delays are unavoidable? And, how can you tell if the price you are getting is competitive?
Let’s look then at some of the variables affecting the supply of bespoke branded clothing. Knowing about them will reassure you that you are getting the best service from your supplier, and help build a stronger, more trusting relationship for the future.
When it comes to bespoke branded clothing production, there are more variables to consider than with stock products, so it can take at least twenty-four hours for a supplier to create a quote.
It’s a good idea to discuss your requirements on the phone with your supplier before writing a detailed request for a quote. This is because your fulfilment choice will be dictated by several interlinking factors, including, products choice, material, branding, quantity, delivery time and budget.
Just a change in the material – cotton to polyester, for example – can make a significant difference to the outcome of the order. Your quote could be delayed by a further twenty-four hours while your supplier recalculates the impact even simple amendments can have on the price. Talking about how each variable can affect the outcome of your order will help your supplier understand your needs and priorities and encourage greater production efficiency.
Let’s face it, things can go wrong. Customs delays, bad weather, port rotation, strikes, industrial closures by local government, and power outages are all examples of outside forces that may affect the delivery of your order. Of course, such incidences are beyond the control of both you and your branded clothing supplier.
However, it is likely that your supplier will have experienced similar issues in the past, and they should be able to advise on what can be done to minimise the impact. They may arrange, for instance, a switch from air to road freight, which could be a more reliable delivery option.
Building in extra lead-time is always a good idea. If you have been quoted six weeks for production, consider adding enough time to cover transit plus a further two weeks for unforeseen problems.
When it comes to minimum order quantities, your branded clothing supplier will be able to advise you on how different print processes affect volumes and costs. Some processes can be used on just a handful of pieces and still be financially viable while others require production runs of hundreds or even thousands to be worthwhile.
A good bespoke supplier will have a strong network of reliable partners around the world to get you the product and quantities you want. But, be aware that they may come back to you and suggest alternative products or adjusted delivery times depending on how far afield they have to go.
There is still a great deal of skill and judgement involved in the production of branded clothing. This means results between suppliers can vary. It’s therefore particularly important for all involved that your supplier provides pre-production samples as best practice, as a means of avoiding disappointment and waste. It’s wise to factor in an extra week for this.
As a general rule, the more complicated a design or the higher value it is, the more important it will be to see a hard proof before giving the green light for production – premium polo shirts, for example, with multiple logos, Pantone matching, labels would all require advance samples. On the other hand, a pre-production sample would not be worthwhile for an order of 50 basic caps with a 3D Embroidery. In this case, production reliability is important and the value of this type of order is relatively low.
When it comes to fulfilling your next branded clothing or textile order, your supplier will be an important information source. They can help you cut costs, improve product designs and find the quickest route to delivery on your behalf. It’s, therefore, useful to know about some of the issues and challenges they will face on your behalf, as a means of building trust.
Knowing more about the supply of bespoke branded clothing will help fuel confidence in your partner. You can then feel safe in the knowledge that you are getting the best service, price, quality and lead-times.