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Do you show samples to buyers first, and then go to production once they place order?

I'm just starting my fashion design company, designing my own clothes. Need to learn about the industry. Thanks.

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In my opinion, it is best to show samples and after you have buyer commitments move to bulk production. However, this is some times not possible depending on when buyers need inventory and your production lead time schedule. I would suggest that you get a T&A (time & action calendar) from your factories. This will help you understand how long it will take them to manufacture your garments from the time you place your order. If for example, it takes four months to produce (don't forget to calculate transit time), you will need to advise your potential buyers of the schedule. You do not want to take an order that states you need to deliver product in two months and then learn from your factory that you can not receive merchandise into your warehouse until four months.

Only hold inventory if you think that your buyers will need product faster then you can actually produce the garments.

Anyway, this is just one opinion. Many factors are involved. Continue your research to figure out what is best for your business. Good luck.

Hopefully others will add comments with better suggestions then mine..
Hi, Thanks so much for the explanation of how the business works. It is so helpful in preparing my collection. I just want to clarify something. Are you saying there are buyers who are willing to wait 4 months to receive their order? And how does it work if the clothes are seasonal. If I'm making summer clothes, when do I need to approach buyer, and when do buyers buy for summer? and other seasons as well? Thanks again. Hope you don't mind. Pauline
I do not mind you asking questions... THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS SITE... I only hope that more people help to answer your questions. Unfortunately, I am not that clever to have all the answers.. I see that JC has already provide a great response to your questions. Here are a few of my comments to add.

Absolutely there are buyers that are willing to wait four months for product. However, other buyers may require product on replenishment (constant flow of inventory), and others may give you a month lead time. The timing really varies. Actually, four months is a bit long, but for certain items and fabrications, it is OK for very large orders. It really depends on the retailer, product, and other factors. For example, if you are producing flannel shirts, the woven flannel fabric typically would have a longer manufacturing lead time then if you were making a jersey knit shirt. Woven fabric typically takes longer to produce then knits. The buyers may understand this and provide more time for production. Anyway, the length of production lead time really depends on what market, what product, and which retailer is buying your product. Actually, quantity is also relevant. If I am selling a hundred thousand units to wal-mart, they have different delivery schedule expectations then a specialty store ordering 6 pieces. If you are selling to specialty stores, I think you would need to have inventory on hand for quick delivery. In all honesty, I have not dealt directly with specialty stores in many years.

Regarding the seasons of selling, typically buyers do their buying during market week. I am not certain where you can find a schedule of market week. That is actually something that I should know, but unfortunately I do not. I can tell you that I have some spring 09 orders, that are already in production. Those will start shipping from Asia in December (but that does not mean all spring orders ship during that time frame).

My suggest is to determine which retailers you hope to sell to. If they are local speciality stores, simply go in and ask them a few questions. If they are in the store and not too busy with customers, I am sure they will help answer your questions.
Hi serdar, Thank you for the information. IT's what I needed. I will keep you in mind once I'm well on my business. Regards, Pauline.
Hi Serdar,

I am also interested in getting some small runs made up, usually dresses. Do you supply the fabric requested as well? Would you be happy to supply as low as 10 dresses at a time,and what is the rough cost price per dress?

Many Thanks
Usually we do in that way before our customer take an order, make a sample and than go with large order. That is how we work. But my company is leather manufacture and I don't know how the other work.
This largely depends on the time involved. I would never produce something for a customer unless I can get some commitment that they will do business with me. After all, your time and resources are limited.

Instead, have a portfolio of items at hand that can show the quality fo your work. Have drawings, fabric samples, as well as finished items to show.

I hope this helps!
Thanks a lot for the valuable advice. Regards, Pauline.
I'm just starting out my fashion design business too! and I want to know if its too late in April 2009 to approach buyers with a sample collection for winter/autumn 2009.

Or do i just wait a bit and present a spring/summer collection 2010?

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Greetings to you, Hope this mail finds you in good health and sprite. I am Sashikant Co-Owner of Urban Purple. I came to know that you are in look for some vendors to outsource your apparel production requirements. I have a Job Working unit which is having the capacity to produce High end garments in Small Quantity up to 500 pcs / style/ color . Kindly let us know if you have any requirement that you can outsource to us.

Looking forward to your reply on this.

Urban Purple – Company Profile

Fashion Studio and Garment Manufacturing Unit

Address: Urban Purple

2nd Floor, Kapilan Orchid, # 25

7th Main 80 Feet Road, Subana Palya Extn

Bangalore – 560043


We are a Garment Manufacturing Unit and Exporter and Job worker with 10 Machines and have been working with clients across USA and UK. Established in the year 2010 we have been working solely with importers from USA and EU region.


WE have In house Pattern Designer, Fabric Expert, Sample Tailors and 10 Batch Tailors capable of Producing both Knitted and Woven Garments. Also we have our in-house cutting section.


We provide end to end solution to our buyers from Design, Sample Development, and Apparel Production.


Monthly Capacity to produce is up to 1000 PCs of Garments.




8 – Single needle Machines (Juki)

2 – Over Lock Machines (Siruba)

1- Flat Lock Machine (Juki)

1 – Boiler Iron and Finishing Table (orbito)

1 - Layer Cutting Machine (orbito)

Contact Person: Saravana V. (Pattern Master and Production Manager )

Contact Number:  9880549978

Sashikant - 9035001810


Marketing Head
Urban Purple Design Studio
# 33 , 2nd A Cross , Vijaya Bank Colony Extn
Horamavu , Bangalore - 560043 ( India )
Tel : 9035001810 / 9880549978 ( V.Saravana - Production Manager )

Yeah i thinkit is best to show samples to the customer,so he can make choice on the samples and can ordered to buy.

We develop your private label with the minimum is 01. We have all services from A to Z.

We also have an own factory for small quantity. So it is very convenient for you starting your private label.

Pls contact:


Best regard!



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