Our Journey to Finding a Factory in the USA

Posted by baker miller

manufacturing in the usa

Now that we have completed the development of our dresses, it was time to find a production partner. We needed to find a factory that could take the plans we had worked so hard to develop and bring them to life as a physical, wearable garment.

When we first decided to start a contemporary curvy clothing line, we committed to manufacturing in the USA. There were many reasons we wanted to produce in the USA: higher quality, livable wages for employees, higher labor standards, eco-friendly practices, and faster shipping times. 

Made in the USA would also allow us to keep a closer eye on production and quality control.

The relationship with your manufacturer can make or break your clothing company. The factory will determine the overall quality of your line. We wanted to make sure our factory would be a reliable partner. Not only did the factory need to be the right fit for producing our garments, but equally as important, we wanted to get along with them as business partners.

We had specific criteria we were looking for in a factory:

  • Based in the USA
  • Excellent communication skills and fast response time
  • Fast turnaround from order to completion
  • Producing high-quality work
  • Established history and reputation
  • Likable people
  • Sustainable manufacturing practices
  • Ethical working conditions
  • The ability to run small batch production (i.e., manufacturer in lower quantities)
  • Willingness to work with new, emerging brands

We also wanted a factory that had experience producing contemporary clothing in plus sizes. Not all clothing manufacturers are capable of producing all types of clothing. Our factory needed to be accustomed to working in the styles, sizes, and fabrics we were using.  

We received factory recommendations from our network of other startup fashion designers, in addition to a number of our vendors and suppliers. We did thorough research on different factories, including looking at the garments the factory produced for other companies. We gathered feedback from the owners of those brands and asked how they liked working with the factory. Did they have any issues? Were they happy with the quality?  

As part of our evaluation of the different factories, we reviewed every aspect of our tech packs, patterns, samples, fabrics, and other instructions, so they completely understood what we wanted. Clear communication is critical for our garments to be made correctly.

We narrowed our search down to one factory. However, before we committed to them, they had to make production samples for us. The samples had to be perfect and appear exactly how we wanted them to come off the production line. 

We made a few adjustments to the samples until they were just right. Perfecting and finally approving the production samples ensured our factory would manufacture clothing that met our high standards.

We will talk more about our factory and production methods in our next blog post.

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