…..especially if you are looking for a specialised one……especially if you want to get your garments produced in the EU.
What does it mean that a factory is specialised? It means that they have all the machines that are able to produce your garment from pattern design to the last stitch, including the latest technologies like taping (a new method using tapes instead of yarn) and the setup of the machines are done in a way that they can handle strong materials. Also, they must have experience with the kinds of fabrics and suppliers that I’m planning to use for my collection.
I wanna keep the production in Europe. It’s easier to keep the control and European factories usually take smaller quantity orders. And so..I searched on the internet, asked for references and started to inquire about possibilities. No need to mention the obvious – I got turned down by most of them. The garment is simply too complicated and it’s not worth the effort for them, not even if I’m willing to pay a surcharge. And since the design itself is super complicated, they asked for a prototype – so how do you produce a prototype if you don’t have a manufacturer? Catch 22. And this is where my decision at the beginning to hire a professional designer with proven experience in the outdoor industry was proven to be worthwhile. She has the contacts and managed to get a prototype done in Russia. She also put me in contact with a German factory owner whose factory happens to be located two hours drive from my home city.
The factory itself is beautiful, spacious and clean, they are using the most advanced technologies and they are working for premium brands (mostly German, Austrian and Swiss). I really like how effectively the work itself is organised, people cooperate and the ned results are really stunning. Even though this is not cheap, I believe that the price you pay for a premium service worth it in the end. It saves your time, spares your nerves and probably even money if you count the prototyping rounds and quality issues. It’s important for me that the people I work with understand my concept and the concept of premium. I’m really looking forward to our cooperation.
So in summary, my checkbox looks like this:
- Experience in outdoor apparel manufacturing
- Reference for working for premium brands
- Fair working conditions
- Fair business partner
- Modern technology
- Understanding of functional fabrics
- Understanding of the concept of premium
- Small MOQ
- Located in the EU
These conditions didn’t come to me overnight – like I sat down and wrote this bulletpoints together before I started my research. The more factories I visited, the more experience I gathered the more I realised what I was actually looking for.