Fashion: Are we all Looking for Chinese Clothing Manufacturers?

The last time I heard “It’s made in China” it was from a friend complaining about a product made by a Chinese manufacturer. Wearing Italian clothes sounds better than wearing Chinese clothes, and still when running a clothes business we are all looking for a Chinese clothing manufacturer. Why? Read this.

A business needs to be profitable i.e. make money. So all those running a clothes business need to get their clothes cheap (overseas) in order to sell them in line with the domestic market. It’s probably some sort of automatism that we have developed during the years, to imagine that anything we get at a cheap price must have been made in China. It’s also common place to associate poor quality to the “made in China” label. This being said, I am fully conscious that I personally own many great quality products that have been made in Asia.

Those looking for clothes manufacturers type “clothing manufacturer in China” when searching on the net. The cost of labor in China, even if rising year after year, is still lower than in the USA, Europe or Australia. With the cost of labor increasing every year after the Chinese New Year and with the cost of shipping merchandises constantly rising with the price of petrol, the question is: How long will Chinese clothing manufacturers keep this edge?

Logically people searching for clothing manufacturer in China are first looking for a competitive clothing manufacturer …wherever it is. For now the salary of a sewer in China is around 120$ per month (Nov 2008). The cost of labor is about the same (in fact 5 to 10% less) in neighboring countries: Vietnam, Cambodia etc… So when choosing the right clothes manufacturer for your order, keep your mind opened.

What everyone is really looking for is a reliable clothing manufacturer. Each retailer, wholesaler, brand designer dreams to get great quality clothes and cheap of course. My personal opinion is that all clothing manufacturers can do about the same clothes for about the same price. The difference will be in the extras, not all manufacturers will do the extra mile for you.

The logic first step when selecting a clothing manufacturer seems to get a few quotations from a couple of clothing manufacturers. It’s also an opportunity to test the consultant who is taking your call. Does the consultant understand you? Can he answer all your questions? If not, is he diligently getting back to you with more details?

Does size matters? Yes, the size of your order matters, everybody knows that. If it is low, many manufacturers in China will not deal with it; unless they have a department specialized in small quantity orders of clothes with a low minimum. Go for the largest factory possible, but take one that is small enough to care about you.

The location of the clothing factory, whether it is in China or Vietnam is not so important. What matters is who you deal with.

An especially important person for you is the consultant who answers your questions, take your order and keep you posted. Ultimately, since the consultant answers to you, he is responsible for your order. Rely on the facts, if your consultant make a promise to you and that promise is not followed, then you are not being taken care of. Always try to commit your consultant to call you back or email you some details. Each commitment you obtain gives you a chance to test your professional relationship.

Ideally your consultant follows your order at every stage: cutting, printing, sewing and packing. From a clothing manufacturer’s perspective, it does make sense that the consultant follows closely the orders in the pipeline. The consultant, in the company, is the one who knows the most about your expectations. My final thought: Whatever the country, Quality depends on People.