Comments on: 8 reasons you can’t use retail fabric for production How to start a clothing line or run the one you have, better. Thu, 28 May 2015 20:09:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kathleen Thu, 21 May 2015 14:07:50 +0000 @Valeria
Sign up for the forum if you haven’t already. That is the best way to find sources. The best sources either aren’t online or aren’t seo optimized. They also don’t post much of their inventory online as this changes frequently.

@michelle c

I can not recall the names of the companies, but if you check instagram and Tumblr you should run into various “made in USA” contractors.

Instagram and tumblr are precisely the places where I would not expect to find legitimate “made in USA” contractors. If the best contractors don’t even have websites, I sincerely doubt they even know what tumblr or instagram is, much less know where to find it. The best contractors don’t want to be found easily. This post, 5 reasons you can’t find a sewing contractor, explains.

By: michelle c Thu, 21 May 2015 07:20:22 +0000 @Valeria

Most companies I am finding are online. Many come from Oregon. They say they will create your “private label”, which I am sure after speaking with Kathleen, they are using the term wrong. Do not get spoiled by their nice photography or professional website. I wonder if the price they charge are reasonable when making a small collection. I can not recall the names of the companies, but if you check instagram and Tumblr you should run into various “made in USA” contractors.

Finding affordable leather (faux or real) is VERY hard. Good luck in that. I am not finding any luck either. I will consider websites like for other things, but they are expensive.

By: ValeRia Tue, 17 Mar 2015 14:33:52 +0000 I will be very interested in your info Michelle C. I am starting new. Being new to all this. I have been having a problem myself in finding the right material. Came across this post. Very informative. Bought the book. I thought maybe I will get my design prototypes made. I cant find the fabric I want to use. OF course I am google queen. But no luck on the fabric stores or sites. My product does require leather too. So that is a whole other learning curve. Trying to get wholesale fabric and wholesale leather. Learning a lot along the way.

By: Niina Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:35:04 +0000 I have to comment on the section 4…Disney actually went after a small business owner, who made stuff out of store bought Disney-fabric and guess what? They have lost multiple times! Granted, I read about this few years ago so things might have changed, but the reasoning was something like that they didn’t advertise that they made Disney-products, so the items were just like any product, that just happened to made from Disney-material. There also might have been something about that fabric is such a product that whoever makes/sells it, have to expect someone to make something out of it.

Just my two eurocents…

By: Michelle C Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:07:20 +0000 Great advice! I’m aware of a few of these issue, but very surprised to hear about a few others. There are a variety of local “manufactures with “brand-building” capabilities opening up. Of course, samples are about $3000 to start, but these companies are able to take care of many of the issues stated above. I’ll surely be sharing this information with prospective brand owners.

By: victoria kathrein Fri, 21 Feb 2014 19:37:01 +0000 Jay, I understand that you have to work with what you see. Unfortunately, I would rather just be a dilettante, as Kathleen puts it, then make something I don’t like. And, what I like is inaccessible either because of price point or minimums. I actually think the only way to do it is to buy 50, 30, 20 yards (whatever you can get) from a reputable jobber and just bite the bullet. Create inventory and go forward. Purchase one or two fabrics and limit your first collection to 1 or 2 items. Please refer to Kathleen’s book for that. BELIEVE ME if you are doing more than 3 pieces you will need deep pockets. Maybe there are some other mysterious ways, but I have not figured them out yet. Seriously, when you add the cost of fabric, production, shows, advertising, etc., you are looking at $25,000.

By: Jay Arbetman Sun, 16 Feb 2014 21:43:38 +0000 sorry, sent by mistake

printing is more like a 500 yd minimum. I just got hooked into some interesting custom dye services. If I look at what I can do now and what I could do say 4 years ago, the difference is enormous.

I just did a 330 yd customer striped French Terry in 100% cotton. I’ve done all kinds of custom colors in rayon/spandex jersey and in other rayon derivatives.

This is not to say that this stuff will fall into your lap. I’ve been trying to rep a good silk line for 10 years and have not found anything that was worth repping.

Still, at the end of the day, you’ve got to look at what is available and then design into what can work. Reality might still bite, but not as hard as it used to.

By: Jay Arbetman Sun, 16 Feb 2014 21:35:49 +0000 I came across Victoria and her futile search. Well Victoria, since the time you were making your search, things have changed at least a little bit. In the area of knits, an incredible amount of customization can be expertly performed at 300 yds (and sometimes 300 meters). Custom printing is now somewhat doable though most minimums here

By: victoria kathrein Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:52:55 +0000 My fabric search has actually taken my business aspirations to a dead end. Funny how that works. For anyone who tried to do this by the book, here is how it works: you are trying to buy fabrics from Korea, let’s say, at $8.00 per yard. Great stuff. Oops. You need to order 1500 yards minimum. Same for Taiwan of course. And China? well do I need to say more.

Ok, you say, let’s try Europe. Yes you can buy 50 yards, but that will bring the price up 50% from its original price of $25 per yard. (The dollar is in the tank by the way) So now we are looking at $37.50 per yard. But WAIT! YOU STILL HAVE TO BRING IT HERE AND PAY FOR TARIFFS AND TAXES AND SHIPPING. Another 20%? Yep. So now all you can afford to make is a tube with holes for arms and head, because who can really afford a pattern maker and a factory at this point. And, all you can afford to make is 1 item.

Sorry to be such a downer kids. Reality bites.

By: Jay Arbetman Mon, 10 Feb 2014 01:10:09 +0000 Monica,
That call went well because you were listening and you were open to do something different from what you are doing currently. And, I sense that you have ambition. You get all the credit for the call being informative and productive for both of us.

Just bear in mind that every company that you buy from has different procedures and requirements. Some are generous with swatches and color cards. Some are not. Some will sell you 3 yds. Some have a 50 yd minimum. Some are lovely to work with. Some are difficult. A couple only have a fleeting regard for the truth.

That said, there are wholesalers that are very interested in your business and will be fair and reasonable to work with.