Getting reliable vendors for clothing line like wholesale clothing manufacturers or distributors is one of the crucial steps in starting a successful fashion brand. But most fashion entrepreneurs don't know the difference or the most beneficial option for their businesses.
In truth, it all depends on what you want or the most suitable option for your fashion business. For example, clothing manufacturers are an excellent choice if you want large quantities of affordable, quality clothing. But if you want a wide selection of products to choose from and prefer purchasing in smaller quantities without concerning the extra cost, clothing distributors are ideal.
Keep reading to know more about the differences between clothing manufacturers and clothing distributors.
What Is a Clothing Manufacturer?
Clothing manufacturers are businesses that manufacture clothing and sell them to distributors or retailers. They may have an R&D team or work with independent artists or designers to create apparel.
Also, they make custom-designed clothing or couture for fashion designers. Hence, whether you're an established or growing fashion brand, clothing manufacturers make garments that meet the standards of boutiques, museum exhibits, and fashion shows.
Additionally, some wholesale clothing manufacturers also offer wholesale services, enabling clothing businesses to buy bulk ready-made garments without waiting for a long production period.
But before choosing a clothing brand manufacturer for your fashion brand, it's best to research the company's reputation, portfolio, and values. In addition, the ideal clothing manufacturer should use only environmentally sustainable practices for production and eco-friendly materials.
What Do Clothing Distributors Do?
Clothing distributors are organizations that purchase apparel from manufacturers on a large scale at wholesale prices. Then, they send the garments or supplies to retail stores for sale to final consumers. Sometimes, clothing distributors use direct mail orders to send clothing to consumers.
Clothing distributors usually purchase a certain amount of inventory from apparel manufacturers and are responsible for providing transportation and logistics services to the retailer. When inventory is low, they coordinate with the wholesale clothing manufacturer or other clothing distributors to ensure that supplies are delivered to the retailer on time.
Ideally, fashion brands should opt for clothing distributors that understand their vision and value, and offer products at a competitive price.
Why Should You Work with Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers?
Working with a wholesale clothing manufacturer offers several benefits depending on your goals and needs. Here are a few reasons why you might consider working with one:
- Expertise and Experience: Wholesale clothing manufacturers excel in all aspects of garment production, from design to quality control.
- Cost Savings: Wholesale clothing manufacturers often produce garments at lower prices, and their relationships with suppliers allow them to purchase materials at lower costs.
- Scalability: Wholesale clothing manufacturers can also help scale your production as your business grows. They have the equipment, facilities, resources, and capacity to output large quantities of garments.
Why Should You Work with a Clothing Distributor?
Here are some reasons why working with a clothing distributor is a good move for your business:
- Access to New Markets: Clothing distributors' relationship with retailers and other buyers grants you access to new markets, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
- Increased Sales: Clothing distributors have the expertise and resources to market and sell your products effectively, helping to boost sales and grow your business.
- Logistics and Fulfillment: Most clothing distributors can easily manage inventory, order processing, and shipping & returns, saving you time and resources.
- Reduced Risk: Clothing distributors also take the responsibility of marketing and selling your products, allowing you to focus on other aspects like product development and production.
Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers vs Clothing Distributors, How to Choose?
No doubt, you must choose between partnering with a wholesale clothing manufacturer, contracting some processes to other businesses, or working with a clothing distributor before starting a fashion business. But your specific needs and goals determine if you'll need a wholesale clothing manufacturer or an apparel distributor.
While manufacturing your clothes requires more time, you'd have a more efficient and cost-effective process for large volumes. Most apparel manufacturers even allow you to control the production process from start to finish.
Apparel distributors, on the other hand, are the go-to if you need your clothes quickly. Since they often have inventory on hand, you won't have to worry about managing production or sourcing materials— They'll handle everything for you.
However, clothing distributors have higher upfront fees than manufacturers. And you'll barely get any customization since they offer pre-made clothing items.
Quality control is another factor to consider before choosing between wholesale clothing manufacturers and clothing wholesale distributors. Working with domestic clothing manufacturers is an excellent option for consistent quality across your clothing items, but distributors may not offer the same level of quality control.
In short, each option comes with its pros and cons. Hence, you should evaluate them before choosing the best option for your startup business.
What to Consider When Searching for Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers?
You must consider several things when looking for wholesale clothing manufacturers. Here are some of the most important ones to look out for:
Size and Location
Regarding size and location, you must choose between domestic clothing manufacturers or overseas clothing manufacturers. Domestic clothing manufacturers offer various linguistic, legal, and geographical benefits. However, overseas clothing manufacturers dominate with their lower prices. Also, the actual price depends on factors like labor standards and other extra costs.
Price and Quality
Ensure you ask the wholesale clothing manufacturers for all costs, particularly ones not listed in the terms. Most manufacturers readily provide this information on request via message, email, or a quick call,
To prevent future risks, inquire about your wholesale clothing manufacturer's production capacity. Even if their current capacity satisfies your initial requirements, can they meet your demands when your business grows?
Shipping Fees & Time
Shipping is another crucial factor that affects productivity and cost. Some apparel manufacturers may have hidden shipping fees that may cost you extra money, so always ask in detail. Ideally, you should always estimate the shipping time, especially if you're working with an overseas clothing manufacturer.
Experience & Certificates
Always add these factors to your checklist because they provide hints about the manufacturer's product quality. Experienced, certified, and professional clothing manufacturers offer excellent services and values alongside high-quality items.
Appareify is a trustworthy wholesale clothing manufacturer that prides itself on exceeding clients' expectations. We have a team of skilled apparel R&D professionals, craftsmen, and designers who work together to create exceptional clothing. Furthermore, we use cutting-edge machinery and technology to produce everything from simple blank garments to intricate designs.
At Appareify, we understand that your business may experience growth, and we offer excellent scalability to accommodate your changing needs. Our team is equipped to handle small and large orders with ease, ensuring that we can work with you for the long-term. Additionally, we have a fast turnaround time, and we can typically ship orders within 7 to 20 working days.
How to Select the Right Clothing Distributor
Here are five tips to help you choose the right clothing distributor for your business:
Partner with Manufacturers First
You should eliminate go-betweens to optimize your profit margin. If you want to sell branded merchandise, contact the manufacturer directly, and they may sell to you if your business meets their minimum order requirements.
If not, you can ask them for a list of reliable clothing distributors. Dealing with fewer people will reduce expenses and give you a competitive edge.
Foster a Healthy Relationship with Your Clothing Distributor
Start your clothing business by contacting clothing distributors through the manufacturer's website or wholesale directories.
Ensure you look for their minimum order conditions, wholesale unit pricing, and operating area. Also, you can make the first contact through phone or email. Then, do follow-up calls to provide more information or proceed with the deal.
Keep Up with B2B Marketplaces
Look towards reliable B2B marketplaces offering various products at affordable prices. While Alibaba.com is the leading platform for wholesale clothing manufacturers and clothing wholesale distributors, you can check others like BuyerZone (USA), Busy Trade (Hong Kong), and EC21 (Korea).
Use Specific Keywords in Online Searches
Avoid generalizing your terms when searching online. Always add keywords related to your niche or products to find appropriate clothing distributors.
The more clothing distributors you can uncover, the better you will understand the industry's standard costs, get competitive bid ideas, and compare your options.
Nothing hurts an apparel brand more than being stuck in a contract with incompetent wholesale bulk clothing distributors. To avoid such situations, ensure you negotiate a mutually beneficial connection.
Choosing between clothing brand manufacturers and clothing distributors is one of the first decisions you'll make when starting a fashion business. While wholesale clothing manufacturers provide expertise, experience, cost savings, and scalability, clothing distributors offer access to new markets, increased sales, reduced risk, and logistics management.
However, the perfect one for your business depends on your specific requirements. The aspects discussed in this article will help you make the ideal choice without suffering setbacks.