Why is it difficult to find a low MOQ clothing manufacturer?

No, factories aren’t just greedy and falling into the trap of fast fashion, the MOQ is 500-1000 per style… per color. And today, let’s take a look behind the seams why we found it. low MOQ clothing manufacturer You’ll feel like you’ve found a unicorn. By the way, MOQ stands for minimum order quantity. We will also share the hidden drawbacks (that no one talks about) of working with these small manufacturers that specialize in start-up production. The reality is that working with small-batch manufacturers is often not the magic potion that startup founders think of.

But before we begin.

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Yes, the industry is greedy, but not always…

How to find low moq clothing manufacturers

What inspired me to write this article is that I’ve seen many people complaining about having a hard time finding a manufacturing partner with a low minimum order quantity online. And they always jump to conclusions. If they can’t get the small orders they need, the factory must be part of the fast fashion problem. First of all, 500 is not a fast fashion quantity, it is 500,000.

So to really understand why factories need MOQs higher than they are comfortable with, we need to understand how the manufacturing process works.

How the factory works

Small lot clothing manufacturer

The first thing to understand about working in apparel manufacturing is that everything is a chain reaction. And when one part of the system is affected, all parts of the system are affected. For example, if the button was fastened and the delivery was delayed, it’s not as easy as sewing the whole shirt and then buttoning it later.

When a novice brand says, “I have 95% of what I need, why can’t I just start there?”, the factory goes crazy.

No, Karen, no.

And I’ll tell you why. Working in such a way is highly inefficient and factories profit from learning to be as efficient as possible.

And understanding this is key to understanding why the MOQ is so high.

Learn to think about hidden jobs

This is another very common startup question. “If you divide them into 5 colors, we can meet the MOQ of 500. Can we make 100 of each color? They all have the same pattern.”

Now, from the micro level of the factory, let’s take a look at five different color orders, all of the same style. This is because the process must occur separately for each color. 5 dye formulas, 5 dye baths, 5 lab chip approvals, 5 dyers and finishers. Basically 5 times the production time!

And here’s another example (there are so many). The factory loses time just making one more color!

For each color, I want the factory to literally have to take all the sewing thread out of the machine and put in new thread to match the next color. It may not sound like a lot of work, but I promise you it is.

Factories become more efficient over time

Another reason factories prefer larger orders is that it gives them time to get used to what they are making.

If you order only 50 pieces, the order will be completed by the time the sewer craftsmen start production in earnest and practice efficiently. But if you have an order of 1000 pieces it will be a little different. On the first day, you may only be able to build 10 sewers. They are probably 15 on the 5th day and 20 per day towards the end of the order.

Efficiency aside, sewers actually like this kind of work. Their stress is reduced if they can tap into their muscle memory and don’t have to learn the intricacies of a new design every few days.

And it’s also kind of personal

Now, from an efficiency point of view, I think it’s clear why factories don’t want to accept low MOQ orders. And it’s kind of personal. (It’s not my style to tell you what you want to hear, but remember you need to hear).

When you approach a factory as a startup with ultra-low MOQ demands, it means they need to train you. Also, training new clients takes time. Thanks to YouTube and TikTok, we all fall under the false illusion that we can do anything online. But now you have to put your ego aside and listen to the factory’s point of view.

No matter how many YouTube videos or books you watch, nothing beats hands-on experience. The world of fashion is chaotic. That’s one of the reasons the job is so exciting. Even after working in this business for over ten years, I am still learning new things all the time.

Things always go wrong and factories want to mitigate risk as much as possible. So that often means missing orders for startups with low MOQs.

You have a tech pack and you think you look professional and ready, but you’re not. Last week alone, she spoke with two sourcing agents who have a strict policy not to work with emerging brands. Because startups are wasting their time, they said. But…they agreed to work with my LMCL students. Because I know they are well trained in how the industry works. And you don’t have to spend time teaching them how to do it right.

Remember, when you start sampling, they’re basically working for free, even if they’re paying the factory.

These sampling fees often barely cover the time and (human) power it takes to create a sample. So the more time you spend teaching them how to be good clients, the more free they are basically.

Factories (unless they are specifically set up to specialize in low MOQ orders) don’t really start making money until they place large orders).

And please keep this in mind when chatting with our factory partners.

Think of every little question and every little mistake. It may not seem like a big deal from your point of view, but it’s a huge waste of time, resources, and money for factories. And sewer work can take hours.

What you can do if you do not meet the factory MOQ

Tips for finding low moq clothing manufacturers

become a professional

before going to the factory. Take your time and learn the right way. And be careful who you take advice from. Here are some tips. Make sure they actually work in the industry.

no rules set

Now, no one in this industry would actually tell a small startup directly. But let me tell you this little secret.

We bend the rules for those we like.

This is a lesson I learned in fast fashion.I spent a lot of time working directly with overseas factories and building relationships. And that relationship is what makes miracles happen. I was able to rush things when no one else could. I am not the owner or even the president of the company. And the only reason I was able to do that was because the people at the factory liked me. And wanted to help me, my projects were pushed to the forefront and prioritized.

We have a lot of clients that don’t meet our official MOQ, but we love it. I want to work with them to bend the rules.

why do i like them

Simply put, because they are cold. they work hard. Don’t have too much ego. Please take the time to put all the material together so that it is easy for me and the factory to understand. And in general they are very easy to use.

As far as I can see, if a brand takes the time to learn this industry and is really trying, I want to help them, so I bend the rules a bit.

The best advice you can start with when your MOQ is low is to value other people’s time.

As explained in most of this blog post, factories don’t make much profit on sampling and these small MOQ orders. So always supply his chain Always thank his partners and tell them how grateful they are for giving you a chance.

So let’s talk about the low MOQ clothing manufacturer niche

Helping find custom clothing manufacturers

With more and more people quitting their jobs to pursue their dream of starting their own company (I support 1,000%, by the way), small mini-factories for small MOQ orders have sprung up. is appearing.

At first, this solution seems like a dream, but it has its own strengths and weaknesses. So let’s dig in.

Advantages of cooperating with a factory specializing in startups

Well, low MOQ. Fufu, lol.

Allowing small orders, these studios are perfect for small brands that don’t (yet) have a huge budget to dedicate to ordering large quantities of clothing. They are also called maid clothing manufacturers.

However, as great as this sounds, there are major drawbacks to custom garment manufacturing.

Disadvantages of working with low MOQ clothing manufacturers – higher prices

When you work with these low-volume clothing factories that specialize in the world of low MOQ clothing manufacturing, you’ll find the prices are very high. I haven’t made a budget for that.

Here is the truth. Of each style he only produces 10 pieces, making it impossible for him to create a sustainable brand whose retail price is as affordable as $50. Unless you want to lose money. Because the cost he could be $50 or more just to produce the clothes.

So if you go the low MOQ route, you have to remember that you need to raise your retail price to make a profit.

Final Tip – Where to Find Low MOQ Clothing Manufacturers

Where to find small moq clothing manufacturers

Look at the outskirts of the manufacturing hub. A good example is Hong Kong.

Today there are few large-scale garment manufacturing left on the island. Large factories do not have enough space. Needless to say, the rent is too high and not cost effective. However, Hong Kong’s proximity to China makes it possible to create small garment factories (many geared towards tourists and small local businesses), benefiting from China’s highly organized supply chain system. I can do it.

Other hubs to start your search are LA and NYC in the US and Jaipur in India.

Hope this helped!

Every decision you make while building your fashion empire has its pros and cons. How can I become the perfect brand? Instead, focus on teaching and learning each type of process. Then make the best decision for you and your brand. Let us know in the comments – do you have plans to work with low MOQ clothing manufacturers?

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