A Great Argument for Local Clothing Manufacturing

If ever there was an argument for local clothing manufacturing, then this might be it. In this week’s blog was inspired by an email I received for a new client. It read-

I’ve had tech packs made locally and was connected with a fabric and manufacturing supplier in China, however their minimum order quantities are far too large, about 200. They also stated I’d need to use stock fabrics, but a key part of my brand will be the vibrant colours and fabric patterns. 

The China contact suggested I start manufacturing locally and provided me with the Sample Room website. 

Let me repeat that again-

The China contact suggested I start manufacturing locally and provided me with the Sample Room website. 

It seems so easy and cheap to go overseas but it is not always the best solution for your brand when you are starting or growing.

Have you been in this position? Have you been overwhelmed with navigating the complex waters of minimum order quantities and selecting the right manufacturing for your fledgling fashion brand? Starting a fashion business can be daunting, especially when you’re trying to make your mark with a unique product. This blog unpacks the challenges and solutions for fashion start-ups dealing with fabric suppliers and manufacturers, guiding you on how to navigate these crucial early decisions.


Understanding Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)

The concept of Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) is often a stumbling block for new fashion entrepreneurs. When dealing with manufacturers, especially those from large production countries like China, the MOQs can be surprisingly high. This presents a challenge for start-ups that do not require vast amounts of product initially. The MOQs are largely influenced by the manufacturer’s need to optimize fabric usage and minimize waste, requiring you to order enough product to use up the set amount of fabric rolls designated for your order. When you are ordering from a fabric agent locally, they have made the commitment to the qty so you can pick what you need, saving you $1000 in the process.

For a start-up, finding the balance between ordering the minimum required amount of stock without overextending is essential. This requires a clear understanding of your market and sales capabilities to avoid sitting on unsold inventory or, conversely, running out of stock too quickly. One of the main benefits of local clothing manufacturing is the ability to start with smaller MOQ’s.


The Role of Tech Packs in Manufacturing

Tech packs play a crucial role in the manufacturing process, serving as a blueprint for your product. However, creating an effective tech pack can be one of the most challenging aspects for newcomers. Many start-ups are unable to provide detailed, informative tech packs, leading to potential misunderstandings or errors in production. Investing in development of patterns locally to create a good quality tech pack could mean the difference between a yes, I’d love to work with you or putting you in the too hard basket. Some manufacturers see a poorly constructed tech packs as a sign of unpreparedness, which can influence their willingness to accommodate smaller orders or negotiate on MOQs.

Therefore, emphasizing the quality and detail in your tech packs not only facilitates a smoother manufacturing process but can also be a deciding factor in how manufacturers perceive and deal with your start-up. This is your first step towards establishing a professional and competent impression.


Why Local Sourcing Can Help you Choose Fabrics and Colors

A significant hurdle for fashion start-ups is selecting the right fabrics and colors for their designs. The unique fabric choice is often a brand’s selling point, but start-ups may find their options limited by manufacturers’ preferences for utilizing stock fabrics. This poses a challenge for those who envision their collections in a wide range of colors or specialized materials.

I think you need to separate out the role of the manufacturer from the role of fabric sourcing to get the right result. This is where good industry contacts are needed and knowledge of how to obtain people who are set up for fabric variety and are willing to work with smaller, more sophisticated orders. This might mean choosing in the beginning, local or specialized manufacturers who prioritize flexibility over mass production.

Click on the image below to watch the video

Local clothing manufacturing is about creating good relationships with you maker

The Benefits of Local Manufacturing

The suggestion to start manufacturing locally can offer unexpected advantages for fashion start-ups. Local production not only allows for easier communication and oversight but often has more lenient MOQs compared to overseas manufacturers. Besides, local manufacturers may have a better understanding of and capabilities for smaller, more intricate runs or unique fabric needs.

Embracing local clothing manufacturing can significantly reduce the hurdles of high MOQs and limited fabric choices, providing a more supportive environment for your brand to flourish.


Knowledge is Key

Knowledge is key in navigating the fashion industry’s complexities.

local clothing manufacturing is so different to offshore manufacturing with far more of the process resting on your shoulders. Participating in workshops, like the “Start Your Local Fashion Business” workshop, can provide invaluable insights into the costs, processes, and preparations necessary for launching a successful fashion brand. These learning opportunities equip you with the tools to make informed decisions and prepare you to engage with manufacturers effectively.

Lean on these resources to build a robust business plan and understand the nuances of both offshore and onshore manufacturing. Education can transform challenges into stepping stones towards your brand’s success.


Navigating minimum order quantities, finding the right manufacturing partner and choosing the right fabrics are critical steps in launching a fashion start-up. By understanding the importance of MOQs, investing in quality tech packs, considering local manufacturing options, and continuously seeking educational opportunities, you can set your fashion brand on a path to success. Remember, the fashion industry is complex, but with the right preparation and knowledge, you can navigate these early challenges effectively.


Find out more in our


Start 29th April at 6pm


Are you looking to start and grow a successful fashion label from scratch? Register for my free workshop for fashion designers where I help you understand the steps to starting your own clothing label.

What’s included:

  • The 5 Reasons why NOW is the BEST time to Create Locally Manufacturing Clothing.
  • The 7 Different business models of product launch growth. We’ll show you how you can start ASAP on a low budget
  • The 6 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Manufacturing Locally
  • The Essential 6 steps to developing and manufacturing your label from Scratch (missing even ONE of these can put you on your back foot)
  • Discover YOUR Fashion Business Super Power
  • How to Market Your Unique Label
  • How to find the IDEAL Customers who will LOVE your design and Get Quick Feedback on Your Idea
  • The Fashion Business Success Blueprint to Successful Fashion Label Development and Manufacturing (this is EVERYTHING you need to know)
  • How We Can Help you Create Your Label
  • Dozens of Examples of Labels that are Thriving (and what they did to succeed)

Book your seat for the ‘Start Your Fashion Business’ Workshop which is valued at $920 but FREE today. It’s not too late. Sign up today and watch the recordings over the weekend.

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