There will always be something about personalized, custom-made apparel that just can’t be replicated by the mass production process. And this is where custom manufacturing comes in.
Whether it’s a shirt, a bag, a pair of jeans you’ll never let go of, or a hat that’s been with you through thick and thin—if you’ve purchased it at a mall or a known online brand, chances are it’s mass-produced.
Mass production is a process of producing goods in large quantities, with the same design and specifications. And while there’s nothing wrong with it, it may not be the ideal solution for certain brands that want to set themselves apart from the competition.
What Is Custom Manufacturing?
You’ve guessed it—custom manufacturing is the process of producing goods customized to a customer’s specifications. It can be done in small batches, with unique designs and fabrics or by redesigning a pre-made template.
Custom manufacturing is a great solution for brands that want to level up their product line-up and differentiate themselves from their competitors. It also offers the advantage of greater control over product quality and cost, since you have more say in what goes into each item.
How Much You Should Expect To Spend
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to custom manufacturing costs, as the expenses can vary depending on the type of material used, how many items you want to produce, and the labor involved. Generally speaking, however, you should expect to spend anywhere from 10% to 20% more than what you would typically spend on mass-produced items.
This is due to several factors, such as the need for specialized labor, custom fabrics and materials, and longer lead times in production.
However, this additional cost shouldn’t matter if you can market your custom items well and convince your customers that the extra expense is worth it. The key is to make sure that your product stands out and offers something truly unique.
What To Consider When Looking for a Custom Manufacturer
Now, how do you go about finding a reliable custom manufacturer? Here are a few things to consider:
The Types of Products They Make
Of course, one of the first things you should check out is the product catalog of your prospective manufacturers. Yes, you may only be selling shirts for now, but if you plan to expand your product line-up in the future, it would be best to have a manufacturer that can handle those items as well.
Look for a manufacturer that caters to different types of fabric and apparel. This gives you more flexibility and cost-savings in the long run, as it eliminates the need to work with multiple manufacturers for different items.
Their Brand Reputation
While your custom manufacturer’s brand won’t really matter to your end-customers, it still pays to make sure they have a good reputation in the industry. Do your research and read reviews from their current and past clients. This will give you an idea of their production quality and customer service. You should also check if they are compliant with industry standards when it comes to labor and environmental regulations.
The Quality of Their Materials and Craftsmanship
You may have great designs and superb marketing strategies, but none of these will matter if the materials and craftsmanship are sub-par. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly inspect their samples and compare them to industry standards. Make sure the fabrics are of high quality, the cuts and stitches are precise, and the colors are consistent with your designs.
Before launching your products, you want to get a few samples from your manufacturer to see how they would turn out. This will give you enough time to make corrections and refine the design if necessary.
Their Lead Time
Another thing you can check when you order samples is the lead time. This will tell you how long it will take for them to produce and ship out your orders. Obviously, you want to go with a manufacturer that can guarantee the turnaround times you need without compromising the quality of their products.
While there are ways to reduce your upfront costs with custom manufacturing, your customers will ultimately be the ones who will bear the brunt of your expenses. That’s why it’s important to consider your brand position and target product price points when sourcing for a custom manufacturer.
Make sure the prices you get from them will be in line with your expected profit margin, and that their MOQs (minimum order quantity) won’t be too high.
How Much They Understand Your Brand
Not to be sentimental here but finding a manufacturer who understands your brand and is passionate about it goes a long way. Yes, at the end of the day it may be all business, but you want to make sure that your manufacturer can grasp your vision and objectives for the products.
As you do your research, check out the content and portfolio of the manufacturers you are considering. This will give you a better idea of their skill level, creativity, and how well they can bring your ideas to life.
Is Private Label the Same As Custom Manufacturing?
You’ve probably heard of the term “private label” when it comes to apparel and clothing brands. While both methods involve customization, there is still a significant difference between private label and custom manufacturing.
Private labeling involves purchasing products from a manufacturer, then adding your brand’s name, label or logo to them. Most manufacturers that offer private labeling services don’t allow you to alter the design or fabric, so you’ll have to work with what they have. This can be a good option if you’re looking for ways to save costs and time and you don’t really need to make any changes to the product.
On the other hand, custom manufacturing is a more hands-on approach. While most custom manufacturers already have a set of blank products you can choose from, you’ll have full control over the design, colors, and fit. This method is more suitable when you are looking to establish a unique, distinct identity for your brand.
Can You Do Private Labeling With Custom Manufacturing?
Private labeling and custom manufacturing are possible options for businesses and individuals looking to create unique, branded products. However, not every company offers these services. If you are interested in private labeling or custom manufacturing, it is important to do your research and find a company that can meet your needs.
At Awkward Styles, we offer private labeling programs for wholesale items that can be customized to your specifications and branded with your own logo and design. Our team of experienced professionals will work with you to create the perfect products for your business or personal brand.
Pros and Cons of Custom Manufacturing
While it may seem quite enticing, custom manufacturing still has its own pros and cons.
One of the most obvious advantages of custom manufacturing is that it lets you create the exact products that you envision for your brand. This gives you more control and allows you to get creative with your designs.
Moreover, it enables you to have better control over the quality and cost of your products. You can customize each product individually, ensuring that every piece is made with the same quality standards.
However, custom manufacturing can be a costly and time consuming process. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort in sourcing the right materials, finding a manufacturer, and liaising with them to ensure that your orders are fulfilled on time.
Having a partner like Awkward Styles can help make the process a lot easier as we accompany you through the process from A-Z, including the design and sourcing steps.
Tips for Success
Ready to start your own business with custom manufacturing? Here are a few tips that can help you succeed:
Only Work With a Manufacturer You Can Trust
When it comes to custom manufacturing, the quality of the products will often depend on the manufacturer you are working with. It is important to make sure that the manufacturer you choose is reliable and trustworthy.
Understand Your Target Market
Before you start designing and producing your products, it is always helpful to have a clear understanding of who exactly you are targeting. This will help you decide which fabric, colors, and styles are the most suitable for your target demographic.
Take Time to Test Your Products
Your customers deserve nothing but the best, so it is important to take time to test your products and make sure they are up to your standards. This will also help you ensure that you are delivering the highest quality products to your customers.
Low Starting Budget? Start Your Clothing Brand With POD!
Custom manufacturing is a great option for any brand looking to establish itself in the market. However, if you have a low starting budget and want to take your business to the next level, print on demand (POD) is an ideal solution. With POD, you won’t have to worry about investing in inventory; instead, you can focus on getting your brand out there, creating designs and marketing your products.
Once you have established your brand and have a better understanding of what your customers are looking for, you can consider leveling up your branding by investing in custom manufacturing.
With the right supplier and a bit of patience, you can easily launch your own clothing brand and start making money. Good luck!
P.S.- If you’re looking for a trusted print on demand or custom manufacturing partner, Awkward Styles is the perfect choice for you. With our extensive product catalog and quick shipping times, you can be sure that your customers will be happy with their purchase. Visit Awkward Styles today and start building the clothing brand of your dreams!