Our own Clothier Design Source President Mindy Martell, Design Director Danielle Heiser, and Design Manager Kerry Buffalo share expert advice on one of the most important aspects of materials sourcing.
We’ve had the honor of working with over 1000 brands on fabric and trim sourcing. With this great breadth of experience under our belts, we hope to help your product development experience go as smoothly as possible.
Playing a part in the evolution of so many projects from idea to in-hand product has been inspiring and also very educational. We’ve developed fabric-sourcing strategies and short-cuts that will absolutely lead to better end-results. We are here to help at any stage in the process, in whatever way you need. Whether through education, consultation or management of the product development, you’re in good hands. “If you can dream it up in your mind, we can make it happen”, says Mindy Martell with confidence.
It’s a myth that you can simply go to the store and pick up the perfect fabrics for your project. They actually have to be carefully scouted from all over the world to get the exact materials that will be most optimal. A few things we do differently definitely provide the backbone for the positive results we’ve seen. We have a strong working relationship with a lot of fabric companies, they are happy to work with us on your behalf. Also, we try to merge projects and orders to cut costs and increase efficiency of the processes for our clients. Through this and other means, we help bridge the gap between difficult-to-access fabric companies and start-up companies to put the right materials in your hands for your project. It’s about getting your project from dream to reality.
4 Tips to Enhance your Fabric Sourcing Experience
When you meet with us in the early stages of the process, bring something in that has a similar fabric and trim that you are looking for. A physical, in-hand fabric will fast-forward the process and lead to more accuracy in sourcing, even if the object is outside the actual type of product you will be looking to create.
Make sure you are prepared to make decisions quickly once you’ve found your ideal fabric. There is no guarantee that stock levels will remain the same from day-to-day and week-to-week.
Test the product in a fully-developed prototype before ordering mass quantities. Being absolutely certain about your fabrics before proceeding will help your bottom-line and your timeline.
Do research before reaching out to a fabric company or mill; they tend to not be newbie-friendly. They would much rather deal with organizations that will be low-maintenance, high-paying. So, know your stuff. This will lead to better working relationships and they are more likely to take on your business. “They’re in the business to sell fabric, they are not in the business to educate clients. We are in the business of educating clients” says President Mindy Martell. Here are a few key things you’re going to want to know before approaching a mill:
What type of fabric are you looking for? Knit, woven, etc?
Know your lingo within the type of fabric: “power mesh”, interlock or jersey knit, twill woven, broadcloth, etc...
Be aware of timelines.
Know basic questions to ask: What are your minimums? Do you have a stock program? What are costs and timeline of shipping? What is the pricing per yard?
Be well-versed on the weight of your fabric (If needed, we offer this service!)
We hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful. We invite you to email us with any questions you may have on the process. We’d be happy to set up a consultation to get the ball rolling on your exciting project!
All the best!
Your Clothier Design Source Family
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