Choosing the right apparel factory

One of the biggest decisions that a fashion brand has to make is choosing the right factory for product manufacturing.  Finding the right manufacturer to work with is one of the most critical steps for a fashion brand and can make or break your business. There are two distinct types of manufacturing factories, and the best choice for you will depend on a variety of factors. Finding apparel factory partners will mean choosing between Cut Make Trim  (CMT) shops or a Full Package Production (FPP) factory. Here’s what you need to know so that you make the best decision for your brand.


"The right factory can make or break your business - so it's vital you choose the right partner to work with from the start."

CMT Factories

Cut, Make, and Trim (CMT) factories are ideal for smaller fashion brands who started out by hand-making their products and want to take the next step. When you need larger quantities of your products and you already know the materials and how to stitch them together, a CMT factory is the solution.  The key difference in working with a CMT outfit is that you provide the materials, pattern and trims needed for your product and these experienced folks can put it together for you. These shops usually allow for smaller minimums so they’re ideal for those starting out as well.


Benefits of a CMT factory

As well as being able to offer smaller order runs, there are some key benefits to using a CMT when you need a factory to make your product for you. These include:

  • Flexibility: When finding a manufacturer to make your product is so important, smaller fashion brands will find that CMT facilities will tend to be more accommodating than Full Packaged Production factories. CMT facilities will be smaller enterprises, meaning that they will be noticeably more flexible for new designers and for when changes to your products need to be made. 
  • Specialization: Most CMT factories tend to be specialized by product category or a specific material. By working with a specialized shop, you’ll be able to get the best expertise to match your needs and your materials, which will greatly improve efficiency and production time.
  • Quality Control: By providing materials and trims, you get full visibility as to what exactly goes into your product. You control just exactly where the fabric comes from, which vendor to source your trims from and get full visibility of your material supply chain.

"Small or large, it's crucial that the production partner you choose believes in your product and your brand."

Full Packaged Production

This will be a larger manufacturing factory for those fashion brands who want to rapidly scale up or have larger volumes. A Full Packaged Production (FPP) factory can help take ownership of your entire manufacturing process, from product design right through to product delivery to your customers. While using an FPP will be more expensive, it is the perfect choice for those fashion entrepreneurs who have little experience in the garment-making industry. This can make product development a slower process with a lot of back and forth communication, but using an FPP does bring with it some clear advantages over a CMT factory.

Benefits of an FPP Factory

Although the cost of using an FPP will be higher, the price that you pay will be all-inclusive. That makes it much easier to manage a budget. However, the main advantages of using an FPP are:

  • Streamlined Production: By largely removing yourself from the material sourcing process you will have a single point of contact with your production manager. This cuts down on potential confusion and makes it easier to see your final cost. 
  • Improved Sustainability: When it comes to choosing the right factory, one of the key factors to consider is environmental impact. Brands need to be more environmentally aware than ever, and by using an FPP that sources local materials and suppliers, you cut down on imports and packaging that would otherwise cause a larger carbon footprint. That means using an FPP can become part of your sustainable marketing strategy.
  • Long-Term Value: The larger your orders with an FPP factory, the lower the costs will be. As your brand scales, you will be able to reduce the cost per item, driving profit generation and brand growth. 

Finding a manufacturer to make your product is a vital part of a fashion brand’s growth strategy. While smaller brands may be best suited to a CMT factory, larger business models should take a closer look at a Full Package Production factory. Consider how much input you want to have in your product lines and your potential to scale. These factors will ensure that choosing the right factory is significantly easier and that your production process is a more seamless aspect of your business management.

Need help finding a factory?

We've got you.  Calico's elite factory network includes production shops that have worked with luxury houses to your favourite online brands. Click here to speak to one of our team and find out how we can get your product from concept to doorstep in record time.

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