Contract Sewing (Design Part 2): Sparta Your First Production Order 300 Pieces If You Plan To Make Money Or Go Home A Loser
Christian Terwiesch runs the course and he's priceless, however you are generally better off buying time in a local contract sewing shop to make your stuff. The ideal shop will be small between 2-12 employees, at least 10 years experience in the business, and located within driving distance from your house so you can drop by. The best I know are run by people who grew up in the industry as the craftsmanship is often higher. Trust me on the last part being important as they already own and have spent years working on the equipment you need. Zara has leveraged this more than almost any clothing brand, but small designers can borrow some of their magic. It works for you and us too. For most clothing apparel and accessories, your cost will be between $1,200-3,500 a run plus an extra $500-1,000 for fabric and supplies per look. Leather will push this number upwards if you are making bags sometimes people do first runs of 100 as a practical matter due to material costs being 10-100x fabric costs for apparel.
Production is where the costs start adding up if you were thinking last week that the design costs I mentioned were a very small percentage of the overall total, you were right. Which brings me to a dirty little secret of the business, I feel one of the reasons niche designers do so much better in general is they focus so much on this second part and their overall costs to market are lower. Also, contract shops will often waive design product fees if you have a homemade prototype which can halve your R and D costs significantly. The other dirty little secret is you can run multiple patterns at once using the same fabric. I recommend doing both.
Let's look at the second part of going to market, production runs for the capsule collections you made last week in our shop:
Accessory Capsule Collection
Small Collection- 4 Looks (Mixed Run, 300 Pieces):
CMT Work (Cut, Make, Trim)- $1,200-3,500
Leather, Fabric, and Trims: $400-1,000
Large Collection- 6 Looks (Mixed Run, 300 Pieces Total):
CMT Work (Cut, Make, Trim): $1,200-3,500
Leather, Fabric, and Trims: $400-1.000
Clothing Capsule Collection
Small Collection- 8 Looks (Mixed Sizes, 300 Per Look, 2,400 Total for Collection)
Grade 8 Looks ($100.00 Each): $800.00
CMT Work (Cut Make Trim): $12,000-24,000
Fabric and Trims: $5,000-15,000
Large Collection- 12 Looks (Mixed Sizes, 300 Per Look, 3,600 Total for Collection)
Grade 8 Looks ($100.00 Each): $1,200.00
CMT Work (Cut Make Trim): $18,000-36,000
Fabric and Trims: $7,500-20,000
Interested in booking us for contract sewing? We generally produce 3-7 new styles a month and we are happy to work with new designers. Maybe we can make your line too and help you get started. Drop me a call at: Nash (919)279-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dara and Nash are two happily married craftspeople who love making practical beautiful things.