Private label clothing is clothing purchased and branded under your own company’s name. The company that provides the clothing may provide varying levels of customization, but you don’t need to design the goods from scratch to develop your own private label line.
The Difference Between Private Label and Wholesale
Most people are familiar with the concept of purchasing items wholesale. If you are considering opening up your own clothing store, you may think this is the way to go. Purchasing clothing from a private label manufacturer is different than purchasing from private label clothing wholesalers. Understanding the differences can help you determine which is best for your business.
Private Label Clothing Wholesalers
Private label clothing wholesalers sell standardized products. What you offer in your store will be the same thing that is available in countless other online shops and brick and mortar stores. While you cannot personalize the items, you also gain the advantage of shorter and easier sourcing of products.
Because you are ordering items that are already established and ready to be sold retail, the time from you picking a product and being able to list it on your site is shorter than with private label selling. The quick turnaround time is something many people appreciate when just starting out in the clothing business.
Private label clothing wholesalers typically require a larger minimum order than private label companies. You will probably find that they also charge restocking fees and require cash payment upfront.
You have less control over the price you sell your products at with private label clothing wholesalers. Increase your price too much over the wholesale price and you won’t be competitive while keeping the price low lowers your profit margin.
Purchasing wholesale allows you to purchase established products that have a track record of selling well. The products that have flaws, high return rates or other problems won’t remain available for long.
Private Label Clothing Branding
While it seems like there are plenty of benefits to selling wholesale, private label products have many benefits as well. Anyone interested in building and developing their own brand should probably consider private label selling. The process involved allows more creativity and brand building opportunities than in wholesaling. There are other differences as well.
To launch a successful brand, you need to find a manufacturer who provides you with quality products at a price that allows you to have a healthy profit margin.
Purchasing private label allows you to find products that aren’t widely available and further customize them. This process allows you to stand out in the crowded online marketplace.
Private label clothing manufacturers typically allow you to purchase items in smaller quantities than wholesalers. This means you can spread your investment around. Instead of purchasing 200 of one item for resale, you can purchase several units of 20, creating a more well-rounded product line.
While there are many different factors that affect the quality and price of garments, purchasing private label increases the odds of connecting with a company that provides quality apparel.
Because you are purchasing these items at the manufacturer’s listed price, without paying a fee to a wholesale distributor, there is more flexibility in your retail price.
Perhaps one of the most attractive points of going with private label clothing manufacturers is that you are in control of so many of the decisions made in your business.
You will be doing more than just ordering clothing from a wholesaler and marketing it yourself. The items can be personalized from cut to fabric to color, and you can have your own brand’s label sewn into each garment.
You can also make changes that allow you to have more control over customer satisfaction. If your customer feedback mentions particular issues, you can address those before you place your next order.
It isn’t necessary to choose between only one or the other process when starting your business. Many online clothing retailers decide to stock their stores with a combination of staples sourced from wholesalers and more customized options purchased from a private label clothing manufacturer.
Private label products are available in a variety of ranges. From workout wear to underwear, there are many types of clothing that are sourced from private label companies. Many of the clothing lines that are sold on Amazon and in Shopify stores are sourced from private label companies.
Selling clothing sources from private label companies is a good way to get into the private label business, particularly if you are looking for a creative outlet. Private label selling is growing in popularity, making it more challenging to develop your own niche.
Private label clothing manufacturers allow personalization of your product line in a way many other private label products do not. For someone with an interest in a particular niche, this can make it easier to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Sourcing Your Materials
Nearly everyone has heard horror stories about someone who purchased a bridesmaid gown, for example, from an online vendor and were shocked at the low-quality garment they received. The product did not meet the description and looked nothing like the pictures.
This is the type of concerns you will need to guard against when building your online brand. Many people are going to be less likely to buy from an unknown brand than from a more established name. Supplying a well-made product that meets customers expectations is the first step in combating this issue.
Before committing to a particular company to provide your clothing you should order some samples. Is the product exactly as described? Does it run true to size? How does it look while being worn?
Offering a product that doesn’t meet your buyers’ expectations will cost you money in returns and loss of sales.
Of course, clothing is available in a wide range of prices. You cannot expect to offer top-end products at bargain basement prices. The key is to offer products that are priced competitively for what you are offering and to be sure, through pictures and product descriptions, that you provide an accurate representation of the product.
What To Look For When Choosing a Private Label Clothing Manufacturer
As you can see, the key to a successful clothing business will be finding a reliable manufacturer to source your clothing line through. You want a reliable company that provides affordable products. An internet search will pull up plenty of options, but how to narrow it down?
Carries Your Type Of Product
First, you need to find a company that provides the products you are looking for. While a company that provides a wide range of products may seem the easiest to work with, you may find the quality is better by choosing a manufacturer that is more tightly focused and provides clothing related to a particular niche.
For example, if you are interested in selling workout wear, a company that only manufacturers different types of workout gear may provide a higher quality and better customization than a company that provides workout wear, pajamas, formal wear, and children’s clothes.
The Importance Of Pricing
Pricing is another important factor when launching your clothing line. A good price allows you to price your clothing competitively while still having a healthy profit margin. Get quotes from at least three vendors early on in the process.
When comparing prices, keep in mind that you need to compare apples to apples. Different companies charge differently for a lower number of orders, any customization, and shipping.
Quality Of Private Label Clothing
The quality of the products you offer is how you will build your business. While you will value every customer you get, the ones that return for repeat orders will be your bread and butter. The only way to get repeat customers is by offering a quality product.
Reliability Of Clothing Supplier
Reliability is another important expectation to have for your clothing supplier. Ask any company you are considering using what their delivery time is. Clothing purchases are often spontaneous, and if you are out of stock of a particular item, that customer will probably go elsewhere.
If you decide to go with an international company, make sure they have an export license. The last thing you want to face with your fledgling business is import problems. Some companies get around the need for an export license by using a third-party company that handles the transaction. Doing this is legal, but adds another layer of paperwork and fees to each transaction.
A company that already has an export license clearly has an interest in developing an ongoing relationship with customers. They are more likely to have experience with exporting goods, and this experience can be beneficial when you are just starting out.
Before narrowing down your list too far, do an internet search of the companies you are considering. While any company that has been in business for any length of time will likely have some negative comments, a company with multiple issues or where the same problem crops up repeatedly should be marked off the list.
Private Label Clothing Manufacturer Resources
There are many different clothing manufacturers to choose from. It is important to do your research to select the one that works best for your business. While cost may be the most important consideration for one person, the degree of customization permitted will be more important to another.
Alibaba is probably the biggest online directory for private label goods. They are not an individual company, rather a listing services for manufacturers. While Alibaba is a great starting off point, whether you buy from them or just for ideas, they are not the only choice.
Because they are so widely recognized, vendors using their service are often overwhelmed by requests and may not make the best choice for someone just starting out. Quality can be all over the board with their goods as well.
Scrappy Apparel Company
Scrappy Apparel is a great choice if you are looking to sell t-shirts and hats. You provide them with your design, and they create it, plus your own label is sewn in. In addition to standard screen print, they offer an amazing all-over sublimation that is sure to catch eyes.
Seam placement offers as much or as little help in the design process as you want. They can take your idea and turn it into a ready to wear fashion. If you are looking for a high level of control, they are a great choice. They can create patterns and make samples for your review before production.
They can also handle the sourcing of fabrics through their large network of suppliers.
If you don’t require that level of control, they can also handle the production end of things. They offer quick turnaround times and no minimum orders.
If you are looking for a straightforward manufacturer with experience, Blue84 is a great choice. They offer a range of trendy garments as well as wardrobe staples in a range of colors. They also offer personalized labels. They have been in business since 1984, long before the explosion in popularity of online selling. Their products are manufactured in the United States, which is important to many people.
Aktive Apparel is a great choice for individuals interested in developing a line of workout wear. This company can handle design as well as manufacturing and delivery. They can work with existing ideas, making modifications to personalize your lines or help you develop a product from scratch.
They also have a variety of blank workout wear items that you can order with your own print and label, with a low minimum order requirement. The items come packaged individually using your branding.
Creative Apparel Concepts
Creative Apparel Concepts is the brand behind many well-known companies that you may not realize purchase private label products. If you have purchased souvenir shirts from Six Flags, Sea World, Universal Studios or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you have probably worn Creative Apparel Concepts goods.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as available private label clothing manufacturers are concerned. By searching for the particular clothing item you are looking for + “private label clothing manufacturer” you will be able to narrow down your list further. You can also visit online directories, such as Wearables and ThomasNet for help finding a vendor.