Before you go through the manufacturing process, it is important to set yourself up for success.
As we dive into our tips before you manufacture, remember that this is a timeline that we have seen work successfully, but can always change depending on the size of your order.
It is important to work backwards from when you want to manufacture your products. We suggest giving yourself a 6-month timeline to make sure you educate, research and get the all materials back for you to move forward.
Your first step (6 months before you manufacture) is to make sure you research the manufacturer you are going to use. You need to know who you are partnering with so you can move forward without any doubt. Below are the major items you should have answered before you move on to the next step.
- Price analysis
- Capabilities: what are they capable of doing and do you need to partner with one than one third party vendor to get everything done.
-Try to find a manufacturer that is an all-inclusive full-service manufacturer. This will help eliminate multiple vendors and touch-points. This will also help you streamline a process easier.
- Whole scope of services: Ask them from a to z what their services entail. Do they do design and shipping or do they only manufacture.
- Timeline: What is the turnaround time for production and how quickly can they produce things.
- Alignment: How does this manufacturer align with your standards?
-Culture / Communication
After you find the right manufacturer to partner with there are two steps to follow up with to make sure your launch is done correctly. These steps are conceptual design and building out your products. We suggest doing these in tandem to make sure nothing is missing.
When it comes to conceptual design understanding your brand is the most important. Answer the below points to help you through the process.
- What is your brand story?
- Create your customer Persona’s
- What is the Mission?
- What is the Vision?
- Why does this brand matter to the customer?
- What style does your audience care most about?
Once you define your conceptual design it is time to build out your products. Make sure to figure out what type of garments you want. This would be the time to work with your manufacturer to figure out the style, cut, color and inventory that is available so you never come across an issue. Make sure to understand what can and cannot be printed on these items so that you can plan ahead. Build out your initial designs and discuss with your manufacturer what type of inks are best for your designs and materials.
The fourth (and most important) step, that most companies forget about is to get your marketing and goto market strategy completed. A lot of brands forget this step and when it is time to launch there is not a clear plan to be successful. Making sure you build out prototypes and a tech-pack will help make sure everyone on the team (especially your sales department) is setup for success.
Many brands believe you need prototypes to create a marketing plan, but in reality you can presell and create marketing material with digital mockups so your cost stays lower. Mockups are also a great way to presell to determine your audience needs and wants.
Making sure you have a clear strategy helps make sure you can move on to the fifth and final step before you go to market. This final step is defining your budget, volume and quantities for each design. This step is crucial in determining what you are going to produce and pull the trigger on. A big part of this step is determining whether you want to order a small first wave to see how the products sell or a big bulk order to make sure you don’t run out of stock. Once you determine which option you want you will want to put in a purchase order to place your first order.
Now you are ready to manufacture and go to market!