5 Factors Impact the Cost to Produce Clothing

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Guangzhou is famous for its clothing manufacture and export business in China. As we all know that millions buyers from the world to purchase in Guangzhou. They are always interested in the reasonable price of the clothing, and worried about if they buy the clothing in a good price. But how to judge the price whether good or not? In our opinion, the first step is that, we must understand well the factors which impact the cost to produce clothing.

What’s the factor impact the cost to produce clothing?

Knowing the production cost is essential to correctly budgeting for the mass production. As a professional clothing sourcing and buying agent, we try to get out to envision how clothing is made and how the costs break down.

Seems a complexity question, right? There are too many variables to consider when trying to calculate your production costs. In fact, each design choice is going to impact the production cost in a different way. So, in order to simplify the question, we need exclude the reasons of design, samples before we discuss the cost of producing clothing.

Generally, we think there are 5 important factors that will impact the cost to produce clothing.

Factor 1: Difference of Manufacturers & Suppliers

Different styles of clothes need produce via certain machine, while different manufacturers will have different facilities according to their history or specialized. As a clothing seller or buyer, you may have to buy whole collections each season. That’s means you will face and do business with different suppliers during your purchasing.

Frankly, as a fact, every supplier charges for their fabrics and materials differently. Clothing manufacturers operate in different area, and with a different regulatory environments or policies of the government. Furthermore, because the different consuming index, their operational costs are different from one another. In the same time, different equipment and different skill sets of workers, means their interests maybe different.

However, the most important reason we think, is the scale effect of the manufacturers prefer. In other words, a manufacturer who has a sewing machines, doesn’t mean they can or they want to produce what they have designed. Why? Because, they usually focus on the number of completed pieced per hour, fewer styles the work produce, more effective the production capacity the machines have. Anyway, we can understand easily, the faster they can produce clothing, the better benefits for the manufacturers.

Factor 2: Hidden Cost of Clothing Styles and Complexity

Obviously, there are hundreds of styles of clothes, such as winter clothing, resort wear, swimwear, etc. No matter you choose which designing, each clothing category has subsets of possible styling, features, elements, materials, and fabrics options.

As we all know, the more complex an item of clothing is to make, the longer it’s going to take to make it. Time, means the cost of labor, it surely will impact the cost of clothing. Moreover, complex design usually means higher technical and skill require of workers, and higher risk of quality controlling.

Benefits, if we can understand it well, we can easily understand, the manufacturer will reject an order of high value custom sequin dress, but to accept a simple style of t-shirt producing. For instance, if the t-shirt cost $5 to produce and the sequin dress costs $50, but the dress takes three days to make. Which option do you think the manufacturer will choose? In three days, the manufacturer can produce thousands of t-shirts.

Normally, manufacturers prefer to simple clothing with large quantities, because it keeps their factory busy and easier to achieve the sales targets. In the same words, the complex style, generally means more cost when you persuade the manufacturer to accept the orders.

Customize clothing

Factor 3: Fabrics & Materials Impact the Cost of Clothing

Fabrics is the major factor of the cost for clothing, that is to say, your choice of fabrics, will ultimately impact the cost of the clothing.

For example, for swimwear, the cost is absolutely different when you choose Lycra or some other synthetic fabric. Lycra, also called Spandex or Elastane, comes in different varieties, blends, and qualities. In the same words, difference quality of Elastane, means different cost for a swimwear clothing.

By the way, if you want to have the featured fabric, it usually means more cost, because customized fabrics will higher cost than stock, of course, need more time.

Materials or trims, is another important factor to impact the cost of clothing, such as buttons, zippers, clips, clasps, grommets, draw strings, nuts, bolts, sequin, jewels, straps, bands, and whatever other materials that are used in clothing manufacturing.

But just like fabrics, there are also varying qualities of each. Your choice of zipper can mean the difference between pennies or dollars, depending on what you choose. Furthermore, suppliers always require MOQs. That is to say, depending on what you choose, the total quantity of pieces will impact the cost of clothing.

Factor 4: Dyeing or Printing the Fabric

Dyeing your fabrics will impact the cost of clothing, because the customized fabrics need new MOQ. When manufacturers prepare their dye solutions, they first consider the type of fabric that is being dyed. To reduce waste, they will expect to consume all of the dye they’ve made. The amount of fabric that’s needed to consume all the dye, is calculated as the new MQO.

Printing your fabric will impact the cost of clothing too. Because printing can be achieved using different techniques such as screen printing vs digital printing. You’re going to face different cost structures based on your designs. From experience, screen printing costs less than digital printing, normally, at times it’s 50% less.

Factor 5: Labor Cost and Supplier Chain

Labor cost is a very popular problem in recent years. In Guangzhou, the labor cost increased from 300rmb/day to 600rmb/day for an experienced pattern maker; 200rmb to 300rmb for common sewing workers. That’s means your cost of clothing will higher than before. While if you place order to manufacturers in western region of China, the cost surely will be more cheaper.

But, do consider the other related cost. The most important is the supplier chain of clothing industry. As a clothing manufacturer must purchase related fabrics and materials from their suppliers. In Guangzhou, there is a completed supplier chain, from yarn to fabrics, to accessories, even including related dyeing and printing factories. That’s means if you place order to other region’s clothing factories, the related cost maybe still higher. By the way, the skilled workers, specialized factory manager are all means hidden cost of the clothing.

In Summary – How to judge the clothing price reasonable or not?

In this article, we explained so much factors that impact the cost of clothing, simply want to remind you: judge the price from the design, fabrics, styles, technical, and related cost.

We really can’t answer this question as now you may have good sense. We only can suggest you, that if you want cheaper clothing, now better to purchase from India, Thailand, Vietnamese, or Myanmar. As now in Guangzhou clothing market, more and more clothing manufacturers are focus on quality and design. They offer mid-high price range clothing, and step by step carry out OEM service and private label service.

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