Domestic vs. Overseas Clothing Manufacturers
A classic question when looking for suppliers if you plan to manufacture or wholesale is whether you want to source domestically or from overseas. Overseas can refer to any location overseas but since the readership of this site is mostly North American, when we refer to overseas suppliers, we are referring to clothing manufacturers in countries like India, China, and Taiwan.
You likely already know that it’s almost always cheaper to source your products overseas but there’s a lot more to that decision than just the upfront investment and cost per unit.
Both domestic and overseas sourcing have their advantages as well as disadvantages which I’ve previously discussed in a blog post on the Shopify blog titled How To Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages below:
Domestic (USA) Clothing Manufacturing Companies:
- Typically higher manufacturing quality
- Typically higher labor standards
- Easy and efficient communication
- Similar time zones and holiday schedule
- Marketability and brandability of North American made goods
- Faster shipping time and cheaper shipping costs
- No import duties or tariffs
- Intellectual property right protection
- Higher payment security
- Higher manufacturing costs
- Typically smaller choice of potential factories
- Smaller product choice (Many items are only made overseas these days)
Overseas Manufacturing Companies:
- Lower manufacturing costs
- Greater number of manufacturers/factories to choose from
- Well established directories like Alibaba have made it easy to find potential suppliers
- Lower perceived quality from customers
- (Usually) lower manufacturing and labor standards
- Import clearance and customs brokers to deal with
- Language and communication barrier
- Significant timezone difference
- Cultural differences in negotiating and schedules
- More costly to visit and verify manufacturer
- Longer shipping times
- Import tariffs
- Higher shipping costs
- Lower payment security
Where to Look for Clothing Manufacturers
Now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons to finding manufacturing partners domestically and abroad, you can begin your search. There’s a few great places to start that can put you on the right track to finding your perfect apparel manufacturing partner.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular:
Directories can be your best bet for casting a wide net. Some of the larger directories can contain hundreds or thousands of potential manufacturers/factories for your next project.
While there are a lot of manufacture directories online, many of them are low-quality or outdated. However, there are several legitimate directories that are have done a great job of consolidating manufacture profiles.
Worldwide Clothing DirectoriesBonus: Purchase The Ecommerce Startup Bundle and receive 50% off a Maker’s Row subscription for the first 4 months along with nearly $1, 000 in other savings to build, launch, and grow your ecommerce business.
As you probably can imagine, searching Google is your best bet for finding clothing manufacturing companies if you’re willing to dig deep and work hard to find them.