How to Find Quality Clothing Manufacturers

This article will explain how to find a clothing manufacturer, where to find one, understand your manufacturing needs, and alternatives to manufacturing. Read on to learn more.

 min read
March 24, 2024
Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify for $1 for one month.

I’ve dealt with clothing manufacturing and print-on-demand in previous ventures. I wrote this article to help you find the right manufacturer.

I’ll help you understand your manufacturing needs, how to find a clothing manufacturer, and what to consider in your search. You’ll also learn whether print-on-demand is viable for your business.

Here we go.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose between small-batch production for testing or large-scale for lower costs.
  • Domestic manufacturing offers faster turnaround times and quality control.
  • Factor in production costs, MOQs, and additional fees when budgeting.
  • Find manufacturers specializing in your garment type for optimal results.
  • Avoid manufacturers with extremely low pricing or a lack of transparency.

Clothing Manufacturer Pros & Cons

Most of you reading likely know whether you want a clothing manufacturer. If that’s the case, skip this section. Otherwise, keep reading:


  • Unique designs: Realize your creative vision with custom clothing items.
  • Strong branding: Gain full control over branding, labels, and how you present your products.
  • Higher potential margins: Cut out third-party costs, potentially selling at higher prices.


  • Upfront investment: Expect significant costs for design development, samples, and minimum order quantities (MOQs).
  • Inventory risk: You're responsible for storing and selling all manufactured items.
  • Potential for issues: Thoroughly vet manufacturers to minimize risk of quality problems or unethical practices.

If you decide against clothing manufacturing, I’ll talk about print-on-demand (POD) later. This is a great alternative.

Let’s dive in.

Understanding Your Manufacturing Needs

Here’s what you’ll need to consider when searching for a manufacturer:

  • Small-Batch vs. Large-Scale Production: Small-batch;ideal for testing new designs or starting small. Large-scale offers the lowest per-unit cost but requires sizable orders.
  • Domestic vs. Overseas Manufacturing: Domestic manufacturing offers faster turnaround times and easier quality control. Overseas manufacturing provides lower production costs but has longer lead times.
  • Your Budget & Cost Considerations: Understand your budget limits, as this will dictate what manufacturers you can afford.
  • Specialized Requirements: Choose a manufacturer specializing in your type of clothing to ensure expertise.
  • Desired Product Complexity: Find manufacturers equipped to handle the complexity of your designs for optimal outcomes.

The following sections will explain more in-depth what you should look out for, provide tips to finding manufacturers, and provide examples when necessary.

Let’s move forward.

1. Small-Batch vs. Large-Scale Production

  • Small-Batch Production: Best for starting a clothing line or testing new designs
  • Large-Scale Production: Best for businesses with a steady demand for their products

Small-batch production involves manufacturing limited quantities of garments, often between 50–500 units per style. This is ideal for testing new designs, offering limited editions, or starting your clothing line with smaller investments.

Example: A dropshipper might use small-batch production to test a new t-shirt design without committing to thousands of units.

Pros of small-batch manufacturing:

  • Reduced financial risk due to lower Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)
  • * Less fabric waste.
  • Reduced risk of unsold inventory and deadstock
  • Ability to respond quickly to market trends and customer feedback
  • Potential for higher quality control due to smaller production runs

Cons of small-batch manufacturing:

  • Higher cost per unit compared to large-scale production
  • Can be difficult to find manufacturers willing to take on small orders

* The exact percentage can vary depending on the specific production methods and the complexity of the designs.

Large-scale production involves manufacturing large volumes of garments, typically thousands of units or more per style. This is suitable for established businesses with predictable demand and a need to keep costs low.

Example: A popular fast-fashion brand (think Zara) would use large-scale production to mass-produce trendy items.

Pros of large-scale production:

  • Lowest possible cost per unit
  • Easier to find manufacturers for large volumes

Cons of large-scale production:

  • High financial risk due to substantial MOQs
  • Less flexibility for design changes after production starts
  • Longer lead times compared to small-batch
Summary: Small-batch production offers sustainability, flexibility, and reduced risk, while large-scale production prioritizes the lowest cost per unit.

2. Domestic vs. Overseas Manufacturing

Best for Domestic Manufacturing:

  • Prioritizing quality control and fast turnaround times
  • Targeting a market that values domestic production

Best for Overseas Manufacturing:

  • A focus on cost-effective production
  • High-volume orders or needing specialized production (e.g., swimwear with specialized stitching or performance fabrics)

Domestic manufacturing means producing your clothing within your own country. For example, a US-based brand manufacturing in Los Angeles uses domestic manufacturing.

Pros of domestic manufacturing:

  • Faster lead times and easier shipping logistics
  • Potential for better quality control due to closer oversight
  • Easier communication with the manufacturer (no language barriers)
  • Support for your local economy

Cons of domestic manufacturing:

  • Higher labor costs, increasing your price per unit
  • Potentially limited access to specialized fabrics or techniques

Overseas manufacturing means producing your clothing in a different country. This is common, with many brands manufacturing in China, Vietnam, or Bangladesh.

Pros of overseas manufacturing:

  • Lower production costs (especially in Asia)
  • Access to a wider range of specialized manufacturers
  • Greater scalability for large production runs

Cons of overseas manufacturing:

  • Longer lead times and complex shipping arrangements
  • Potential for quality control issues with more distance
  • Language and cultural barriers can complicate communication

If minimizing expenses is your top priority, overseas manufacturing might be necessary, but if quality control and faster lead times are essential, domestic might be the better choice.

Also, assess whether you can meet the often higher MOQs of overseas factories. Your target market should also factor in—does the "Made in [Your Country]" label add value for your customers?

Consider the complexity of your designs—do they require specialized techniques or materials that might be easier to source overseas?

Summary: Domestic manufacturing offers faster turnaround and closer oversight, while overseas manufacturing provides lower costs and greater scalability.

3. Your Budget & Cost Considerations

Here's what to consider to understand your financial limits:

  • Production Cost: This includes costs for materials, labor, and shipping. Overseas manufacturing offers lower production costs.
  • Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs): Manufacturers often have minimum order requirements. This can range from 50 to more than 1,000 units, depending on the factory.
  • Sampling Costs: Most manufacturers charge for creating samples of your designs before production.
  • Additional Fees: Consider import duties and other fees if working with overseas manufacturers.
  • Dropshipping: If dropshipping, factor in the supplier's per-item fulfillment costs on top of the manufacturing costs.

The cost of manufacturing is just one part of starting your clothing business. Factor in additional expenses like product photography, models, advertising, taxes, and business formation fees for a realistic budget.

Summary: Budget is crucial when choosing a manufacturer; consider production costs, MOQs, and additional fees.

4. Specialization Requirements (Type of Garments)

Here's why specialization matters:

  • Construction Expertise: Different garment types require specialized skills. For example, a denim jacket needs different sewing techniques than a cotton t-shirt.
  • Fabric Knowledge: Manufacturers often specialize in handling specific fabrics. A factory skilled in leather might not be ideal for delicate silk garments.
  • Quality Standards: Manufacturers specializing in your niche better understand the quality expectations. For instance, a sportswear manufacturer knows the importance of performance fabrics and moisture-wicking techniques.
  • Basic versus Complex Garments: Some factories excel at items like t-shirts or leggings. Others specialize in designs like tailored jackets or intricate dresses.
  • Target Market: Do you need children's clothing, plus sizes, or athletic wear? Finding a factory with experience in your niche is vital.

Example: If you design structured formal wear, look for manufacturers with tailoring experience rather than ones focused on casual streetwear.

Before contacting manufacturers, create a detailed description of your garment's construction and materials. When searching, refine your search by using keyword examples like "tailoring specialist" or "organic cotton manufacturer."

Summary: Finding a manufacturer specializing in your type of garment ensures better construction, material choices, and overall quality.

5. Desired Product Complexity

The complexity of your designs will impact your choice of manufacturer.

Consider these factors:

  • Construction Details: Do your garments have intricate stitching, multiple pockets, or special closures? Complex designs often need specialized machinery and skilled workers.
  • Embellishments: If your designs include embroidery, beading, or unique prints, you must find a manufacturer with experience in these techniques.
  • Materials: Working with delicate fabrics, unusual textures, or multiple material combinations often requires specialized knowledge and equipment.

Example: A simple cotton t-shirt has lower manufacturing complexity than a leather jacket with lining and zippers.

Start off by evaluating your designs: Are they basic or highly detailed? If unsure, start with simpler designs and scale complexity as you gain experience.

Summary: Complex designs need manufacturers with specialized skills and equipment; assess your designs before you search.

Clothing Manufacturer Search Strategies

Here are different methods to use when searching for clothing manufacturers:

  1. Online Manufacturer Directories: Search vast online marketplaces to filter manufacturers based on your needs.
  2. Industry Trade Shows & Events: Attend in-person events to meet potential manufacturers and view samples.
  3. Referrals & Networking Within the Industry: Tap into your network for leads on reliable manufacturers.
  4. Social Media: Search relevant hashtags and connect with manufacturers directly on social platforms.
  5. Leveraging Industry-Specific Databases: Use specialized databases to find manufacturers matching your specific criteria.

This should be most of the information that you’ll need. However, don’t skip this section because I’ll provide examples of each section.

Keep reading to learn more.

1. Online Manufacturer Directories

1. Alibaba: A massive B2B marketplace connecting buyers with suppliers worldwide, primarily based in China.

  • Clothing Specializations: Offers a wide variety of clothing, from basics to trendy pieces, with a strong focus on fast fashion.
  • Other Considerations: Best suited for larger production runs and those prioritizing low costs.


  • Vast selection of suppliers at varying price points
  • Ability to negotiate directly with manufacturers
  • Secure payment options for protection


  • Quality control can be challenging due to the sheer volume of suppliers
  • Language barriers can complicate communication
  • Longer lead times are typical for overseas production

2. Maker's Row: A US-focused platform connecting brands with domestic manufacturers.

  • Clothing Specializations: Focus on small-batch production and a range of apparel categories.
  • Other Considerations: Emphasis on quality and transparency, often featuring manufacturer profiles and reviews.


  • Easier to find manufacturers meeting specific production needs
  • Potential for faster turnaround times and quality oversight
  • Support for the US manufacturing industry


  • Production costs are typically higher than overseas options
  • Manufacturer selection can be more limited

3. Sewport: A global platform designed to connect brands and manufacturers seamlessly.

  • Clothing Specializations: Offers a range of apparel manufacturers, from small-batch to large-scale production.
  • Other Considerations: Features tools for project management, easy communication, and links to other industry services.


  • User-friendly interface with project management tools
  • Range of manufacturers offering flexibility in production scale
  • Access to resources like fabric sourcing and tech packs


  • Can have a mix of overseas and domestic manufacturers, requiring careful vetting
  • Some features may have additional costs associated with them

4. Kompass: A worldwide B2B directory with a long history and broad industry coverage.

  • Clothing Specializations: Includes apparel manufacturers but isn't solely focused on clothing.
  • Other Considerations: Offers search filters by country, product type, certifications, and more.


  • Large global database of potential suppliers
  • Detailed search filters to refine your results
  • Option to search for specific certifications (e.g., organic, fair trade)


  • Interface can be less user-friendly compared to clothing-specific directories
  • May require more time to sift through non-apparel manufacturers

Important: Research and vet any potential manufacturer you find on these directories, regardless of the platform.

2. Industry Trade Shows & Events

Trade shows are events where manufacturers and suppliers showcase their products and services. They offer a unique chance to meet potential manufacturers face-to-face.

I recommend attending them because they give you an opportunity to see garment samples in person to assess quality and construction. If you like them, you’ll have a chance to build relationships with manufacturers and gain industry insights.

It’s also better than performing online research because you might discover new trends and potential suppliers you might not find online.

Examples of clothing trade shows:

  • MAGIC Las Vegas (US): A massive fashion trade show with a broad range of apparel suppliers.
  • Texworld USA (US): Focuses on fabrics and sourcing, offering connections to fabric mills and garment manufacturers.
  • Premiere Vision (Paris): High-profile event for fashion textiles and trend forecasting.
  • Canton Fair (China): One of the world's largest trade shows, featuring a vast apparel section.

Research shows in advance to target manufacturers relevant to your niche. From there, prepare questions and have a clear idea of your production needs.

Summary: Trade shows offer direct interaction with manufacturers and valuable industry exposure.

3. Referrals & Networking Within the Industry

Here's how leveraging your network can lead you to reliable manufacturers:

  • Industry Connections: Talk to fellow entrepreneurs, designers, or fashion professionals for recommendations.
  • Online Communities: Join forums or social media groups for your niche and ask for referrals (e.g., LinkedIn groups).
  • Professional Organizations: Check if relevant industry associations offer resources or networking events related to manufacturing (e.g., American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)).

Example: If you're designing athleisure, connect with other fitness apparel brands for their manufacturer recommendations.

Referrals are nice because they’ll potentially lead to manufacturers with a proven track record. This could save you from a headache in the long run. However, always vet referred manufacturers; even good referrals need to fit your specific needs.


Offer to do the same for others—build a network of support.

Summary: Tap into your network for leads and gain insights on potential garment manufacturers.

4. Social Media

LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform used for finding manufacturers (in the US). To find manufacturers, start by joining groups or use hashtags like #clothingmanufacturer, #garmentsourcing, or #fashionproduction.

Or search for specific manufacturers and reach out to them.

Here are some alternatives to LinkedIn:

  • Instagram: Search relevant hashtags and explore manufacturer profiles featuring their work samples.
  • Facebook: Join similar industry groups and utilize the search function to find relevant pages.
  • WeChat (China): Signing up requires a Chinese mobile phone number. Consider this platform if targeting Chinese manufacturers specifically.
  • XING (Germany): Sign up is free and can be done with a regular email address. This platform is a good option for European connections.
Summary: Social media offers direct connection potential; focus on industry-relevant platforms and targeted searches.

5. Leveraging Industry-Specific Databases

Industry-specific databases act like specialized search engines for finding clothing manufacturers.

Here are a few types:

  • Subscription-based Databases: Platforms like Common Objective (CO) offer searchable databases of verified manufacturers, often with information on certifications and production focus.
  • Government-Supported Resources: Some countries have export promotion websites listing local manufacturers (e.g., the "Made in China" portal).
  • Trade Association Directories: Industry associations often maintain member directories that include manufacturers, although they might require membership to access.

Examples of filters you’ll find on Common Objective.

Summary: Industry-specific databases offer focused searches for finding manufacturers matching your specific criteria.

Evaluating & Selecting Clothing Manufacturers

Use this criteria to help you find a clothing manufacturer:

  • Requesting Samples & MOQs: Evaluate quality and ensure production volume aligns with your needs.
  • Quality Standards: Ensure the manufacturer meets your quality expectations through samples and certifications.
  • Communication & Responsiveness: Choose a manufacturer with clear, timely, and effective communication.
  • Pricing, Payment Terms, & Lead Times: Get detailed quotes, negotiate payment terms, and understand production timelines.
  • Ethical & Sustainable Considerations: Find a manufacturer that reflects your values on ethical and sustainable practices.
  • Assessing Production Capabilities: Verify the manufacturer can handle your order volume and has the machinery for your designs.

I’ll provide examples of what specifics to keep in mind, organizations you should refer to, and real-world examples (when applicable).

Let’s get to it.

1. Requesting Samples & Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)

Samples allow you to assess fabric, construction, and overall workmanship. However, expect to pay $50–$200 (or more) for a sample fee, then more for shipping. And if your store offers multiple sizes, you’ll need samples for those sizes to evaluate fit.

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) are the minimum units a manufacturer will produce per style.

Smaller manufacturers often have lower MOQs (around 50–300 units). Meanwhile, large-scale production typically requires much higher MOQs (500+ units).

When considering MOQs, negotiate if possible, especially with newer manufacturers. They likely need your business more than you need theirs. Also ask about sample pricing and lead times upfront.

If you can successfully get MOQs, test the market and quality before committing to large orders.

Summary: Request samples to assess quality and inquire about MOQs to ensure they align with your production needs.

2. Quality Standards

Here's what to examine:

  • Examine Samples Thoroughly: Look for neat stitching, even seams, and secure buttons/zippers.
  • Check Fabric Quality: Feel the fabric for its intended use (durability, softness, etc.).
  • Request Quality Certifications: Ask if the manufacturer holds certifications like ISO 9001 (quality management) or those related to sustainability and fair labor practices.
  • Read Reviews/Testimonials: Search online for reviews or testimonials from the manufacturer's past clients.
  • Factory/Audit Visits (If Possible): For large orders, consider visiting the factory or arranging a third-party audit to assess conditions and workmanship directly.

This video doesn’t target businesses, but it can help you gauge the quality of the clothing produced.

Example: A t-shirt with uneven stitching and loose threads indicates lower quality standards.

And how do you find these third-party auditors?

First, there are manufacturing auditing firms. These companies specializing in factory audits offer services like quality inspections and social compliance audits (assessing working conditions).

Platforms like QIMA or Alibaba's "Inspection Service" connect you with auditing companies. And some associations offer resources or connections to accredited auditing firms.

And couldn’t these auditors or firms be “brought out?”

Maybe. If that’s what you’re worried about, ensure they have accreditations from recognized bodies like the TIC Council (formerly IFIA). This indicates adherence to industry standards.

Summary: Assess samples, certifications, and reviews to determine a manufacturer's quality standards.

3. Communication & Responsiveness

Here's how to evaluate a manufacturer’s responsiveness:

  • Initial Inquiry Response Time: Track how quickly a manufacturer responds to your initial contact. Delays now might indicate communication issues later.
  • Clarity & Detail: Assess the manufacturer's ability to answer questions clearly and provide detailed information.
  • Language Barriers: If working with an overseas manufacturer, be aware of potential language barriers and how they might impact communication.
  • Proactive Updates: A good manufacturer should keep you updated on production progress without constant prompting.

Example: If it takes several days (or repeated emails) to get a simple quote, this could be a red flag.

Summary: Assess response time, clarity, and proactive communication to gauge the manufacturer's professionalism and responsiveness.

4. Pricing, Payment Terms, & Lead Times

Pricing Breakdown: Ensure the quote specifies costs for materials, labor, shipping, and any additional fees like customs or inspection charges.

Payment Terms Negotiation: Most manufacturers require a deposit upfront (typically 30–50%) with the remaining balance due before shipment. Negotiate terms that work for your cash flow. For example, you might propose a smaller initial deposit or staggered payments tied to production milestones.

Lead Times: Lead time refers to the total time it takes a manufacturer to complete your order, from receiving your materials to final shipment. This can vary depending on factors like garment complexity, order quantity, and material availability.

Factor in potential delays caused by holidays, especially when working with overseas manufacturers

For example, Chinese New Year. In China and many Southeast Asian countries, factories typically close for 1–2 weeks, impacting lead times during that period.

Summary: Obtain clear pricing, negotiate payment terms, and understand lead times for informed decision-making.

5. Ethical & Sustainable Considerations

Choosing a manufacturer aligning with your values is important if you focus on social responsibility and eco-consciousness.

Investigate the following:

  • Labor Practices: Look for manufacturers with fair labor certifications like Fair Trade or WRAP. Inquire about wages, working hours, and factory conditions.
  • Environmental Impact: Ask about sustainability measures like using recycled materials, reducing waste, and having a responsible water usage policy.
  • Certifications: Certifications like GOTS (organic textiles) or Bluesign (safe chemicals) ensure the manufacturer meets specific standards.

Example: A manufacturer using organic cotton and holding GOTS certification signals their sustainability commitment.

Summary: Choose manufacturers aligning with your ethical and sustainability values; look for certifications and transparency.

6. Assessing Production Capabilities

Ensure the manufacturer can handle your order volume and has the necessary equipment for your product type.

Here's what to ask:

  • Production Capacity: Inquire about their maximum monthly output and typical order sizes they handle. This ensures they can meet your demand.
  • Machinery and Technology: Find out what specialized equipment they have (e.g., for embroidery, printing, or specific fabric types). This is crucial if your garments require special techniques.
  • Experience with Similar Products: Ask if they produce items similar to yours. This indicates familiarity with your type of garments.
  • Lead Time Impacts: Discuss how order size affects lead times. Ensure they can maintain consistent quality and timelines at larger volumes.

Example: If you design intricate dresses, inquire if they have experienced seamstresses and specialized sewing machines.

Summary: Evaluate the manufacturer's capacity, machinery, and experience to ensure they can successfully produce your designs.

Finding Print-On-Demand Manufacturers

The following sections will explain what print-on-demand (POD) is, examples of POD manufacturers, and tips on finding the best one.

Here we go.

1. Understanding the Print-on-Demand Model

  • Best For: Businesses starting out, testing new designs, or offering limited-edition items.

Print-on-demand (POD) is a fulfillment model where garments are printed only when a customer places an order. It’s dropshipping apparel. This differs from traditional manufacturing, where you produce large batches of garments upfront.

If you’re familiar with white label production, that’s what this is.

Pros of print-on-demand:

  • Low investment costs: No need to purchase inventory upfront, minimizing financial risk.
  • Speed and flexibility: Products are made on-demand, allowing for quick launches and design changes.
  • No storage needed: The POD provider handles inventory and shipping, saving you space and hassle.

Cons of print-on-demand:

  • Higher per-unit costs: Production is less cost-effective than bulk manufacturing.
  • Limited customization: Options for unique garment styles or branding elements might be restricted.
  • Less control over production: You rely on the provider's quality and consistency.

Here’s an example of blank label (white label) clothing from Printful.

Examples of Print-on-Demand Providers:

  • Printful: Best for all-around POD needs, strong product variety and quality.
  • Printify: Best for extensive supplier network and wide product range.
  • Gooten: Best for diverse product catalog beyond typical apparel.
  • Teelaunch: Best for focus on custom apparel and upfront pricing.
Summary: POD offers quick launches and low risk; consider it for testing or niche products.

2. Key Factors in Evaluating Print-on-Demand Partners

1. Quality: Assess printing methods for suitability to your designs and focus on garment brands for desired quality.

  • Printing methods: Understand if they use DTG (Direct-to-Garment), screen printing, or sublimation, as each suits different designs and fabrics.
  • Base garments: Check the brands they offer and assess samples for fabric quality and fit.

What do the different print methods that I typed mean? Am I typing in a foreign language?

Here’s a comparison:

  • DTG (Direct-to-Garment): Full-color printing directly onto fabric, ideal for businesses focusing on intricate designs, photos, or gradients.
  • Screen Printing: Uses stencils for sharp designs with limited color options, best for businesses with bold logos, text-based artwork, or large volume orders.
  • Sublimation: Dyes fabric for vibrant colors, perfect for businesses offering all-over prints, sportswear, or products made with polyester fabrics.

Sublimation versus DTG.

Screen printing versus DTG

2. Integrations: Ensure seamless connection with your sales platform and consider order management apps for a streamlined workflow.

  • E-commerce platforms: Ensure seamless connection with your store (e.g., Shopify, Etsy).
  • Order management apps: Integrate with tools like Sprocket or Printful's in-house app to streamline order processing, inventory tracking, and customer communication.

3. Product range: Evaluate garment basics (styles and sizes) as well as any unique offerings for finding the right fit for your niche.

  • Apparel basics: Most offer t-shirts, hoodies, etc., but check for specific styles and sizes.
  • Beyond apparel: Look for providers offering home goods, accessories, or items for your niche (e.g., Printify's phone cases or Gooten's range of home decor).

Example of Printful’s catalog. Yes, I like Printful because they’ve given me a good experience when I used them as a POD provider.

Summary: Evaluate quality, integrations, and product range to find the POD partner aligning with your business.

Red Flags To Avoid When Finding a Clothing Manufacturer

I’ll explain how to identify red flags like too-good-to-be-true pricing and a lack of transparency. I was also going to put something about bad communication, but I talked about that earlier.

Let’s go.

1. Too-Good-To-Be-True Pricing

How to Identify:

  • Compare Quotes: Get quotes from multiple manufacturers to establish a realistic price range for your desired quality.
  • Request a Breakdown: Ask for a detailed cost breakdown specifying materials, labor, and any potential additional fees.
  • Research the Manufacturer: Look for online reviews, check their website for professionalism, and verify their business registration.

We explain in a different guide on where to find online reviews and how to verify their business registration.

If a manufacturer's quoted prices seem significantly lower than competitors, be wary.

Low prices COULD be a sign of these issues:

  • Scam: Extremely low prices might be a tactic to lure you in before disappearing with your deposit.
  • Compromised quality: They might use cheap materials, poor labor practices, or unethical production to meet those low prices.
  • Hidden fees: Unexpected charges could appear later (e.g., sampling, shipping, or surprise customs fees).
  • Unsustainable practices: Unusually low prices might point to unethical labor or environmental exploitation.
Summary: Question extremely low prices; research and compare quotes to identify potential scams or hidden costs.

2. Lack of Transparency or Reviews

How to Identify:

  • Unclear Communication: If they avoid direct answers about production methods, labor, or materials, be cautious.
  • Limited Online Presence: Lack of a professional website, social media, or client testimonials raises concerns.
  • No Reviews or Testimonials: Look for online reviews or case studies from past clients to gauge their reputation.

Search for reviews for companies on directories like Kompass and Maker’s Row. Otherwise, search these places for reviews:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): Look up the manufacturer's BBB rating and check for reported complaints.
  • Trustpilot: Search for the manufacturer's name to see reviews from past customers.
  • Google Reviews: Check for reviews on the manufacturer's Google Business Profile (if they have one).
  • Reddit Subreddits: Look for communities like r/smallbusiness or r/dropship.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Search groups related to clothing manufacturing or sourcing.
  • Yelp: Some listings will have evaluations for manufacturers
Summary: Lack of transparency or reviews raises concerns; trust manufacturers who provide open information.

How to Choose an Overseas Manufacturer

The following sections will list different regions and explain the strengths of the various countries within them.

When considering a country, you’ll need to think about these factors:

  • Time Zones: Plan communication logistics around significant time differences (consider China being 13+ hours ahead of various US time zones).
  • Import Data: Research platforms like the US International Trade Commission for specific country import statistics.

Brace yourselves. We have a lot to cover.

1. Asia

Here’s a list of some popular clothing manufacturing hubs in Asia:

  • * China: Large-scale production, fast turnaround times, wide range of fabrics. High volume of apparel imports to the US.
  • Vietnam: Skilled in intricate designs and embroidery. Growing in textile and garment exports.
  • Bangladesh: Cost-effective for basic, high-volume garments (t-shirts, etc.). Exported $6.79 billion worth of apparel to the US [1].
  • India: Rich textile heritage, known for cotton and silk production. Strong in vibrant prints and traditional techniques.
  • Others: Pakistan (offers competitive prices), Thailand (smaller MOQs, value-added designs), Turkey (high-quality, modern tech).

* Note: Rising costs have shifted some production to Vietnam and Bangladesh.

2. Central & South America

Here’s a list of countries to consider manufacturing within Central and South America:

  • Guatemala & CAFTA-DR Countries: Proximity to the US market for faster shipping. Duty-free benefits for some products boost cost-effectiveness [2].
  • Peru: Renowned for alpaca fiber and high-quality cotton. A growing South American apparel exporter.
  • Brazil & Colombia: Significant textile industries and growth potential within the region.

3. Africa

And here’s a list of potential manufacturing hubs in Africa:

  • South Africa: Rising manufacturing hub with growing demand from the US and Europe. Offers a focus on quality and potential cost savings.
  • East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya): Large, young workforce for labor-intensive garment production. Focus on basic, high-volume items.

Use all this information to help you find a manufacturer. What we provided should help you get an idea of where to start.

Wrapping Up

Finding the right clothing manufacturer takes research and careful consideration. Whether you choose domestic or overseas, small-batch or large-scale, always prioritize quality, transparent communication, and alignment with your brand values.

Do you prefer just selling suppliers’ clothing? See how our product sourcing tool can help you find clothing that’ll actually sell.

Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify $1/month for 3 months.
Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify for $1 for one month.

Stay In The Loop

Subscribe to our newsletter to never miss out on future articles.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong.