12/10/2020 update - Big changes have been made to our business structure starting full time in 2021. We are now working on a retainer model and with established businesses only going forward. It’s been fun to help people launch new brands the past 4 years but anyone who has launched a brand knows the huge amount of hard work, time, and money that goes into it- that applies to us too! A lot of folks have mentioned during initial consultations that this FAQ answered most of their questions and was very helpful so we're leaving it up for those new to the industry.
These are some of the questions most frequently heard during free consultations. Please read over this list to make the best use of your time during our call.
1. How does process of making apparel and accessories work?
We have a secret webpage that details out our entire process. Simply sign up for our monthly newsletter on the home page to get access to the info.
2. Will you sign my non-disclosure agreement before we talk?
We take everyone’s privacy very seriously regardless of NDA. If you have a short NDA that we deem reasonable, it may be considered. Otherwise, there is an NDA in our contract. You can read the actual one here - https://www.developapparel.com/post/my-actual-nda
Please note it is not common practice for manufacturers and factories to sign NDA's due to the open nature of a factory and the number of people that are involved in production creation.
3. How long does it take to get a first sample made?
It depends on the item because every original clothing style is unique. Estimate 2-3 months if we're starting from an original concept. This includes time for a round of fabric sourcing. If you already have a fabric source, samples usually take a month or less. We can give a better estimate once we know the details.
4. Can you manage my sales and marketing?
We are highly product focused and don’t personally handle the sales aspect of the business. We can refer you to some other people for assistance. We do offer basic marketing advice to consulting clients.
5. What is your hourly rate?
We do not charge hourly for product work. We have set package rates that vary slightly by type of product. We’ll discuss this during your introductory call to work out what is best for your needs. Our prices are on the higher side due to the fact we avoid many costly mistakes, quality issues, and other challenges up front. This ultimately saves you time and money in the end. We do offer hourly consulting for those solely in need of advice.
6. Can I make 100 pieces of my style for $5 each?
The fabric alone is usually more than $5 a yard. Clothing is not cheap to make unless you are producing large volume with simple construction in an inexpensive fabric (like 5000 basic cotton/poly tee shirts). Even then, please question cheap clothing as the price is often low due to poor environmental processes, low quality materials, or unfair wages. More here at https://www.developapparel.com/post/why-it-costs-more-to-make-less
7. Can you tell me what it will cost to make this in production?
We can give an estimate range once the first proto samples are made. It is not possible to give an estimate before that. Production pricing is determined by volume among other factors.
8. What is your minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
We offer in-house sample development services like design work, sourcing, tech packs, label creation, and prototype sampling. We are not a factory. We partner with a network of factories we have developed relationships with over the past 15+ years for bulk production. Some of those places have MOQ's as low as 100 pieces per style depending on what you're making. We can help set production up with them once samples are fit approved.
9. How long does sourcing take?
Sourcing refers to finding all the stock fabrics and trims not just to make one sample, but to make production quantity in the future too. It is the first step. It is often the longest, most challenging part of the process, especially if the material is new to market or complex. Please see our blog post on this at - https://www.developapparel.com/post/how-long-will-sourcing-take
10. Why do I need a tech pack?
Like an architectural blueprint for a house, a tech pack is your blueprint for apparel. We do not recommend getting anything made in bulk without one. See my article on Maker’s Row at https://makersrow.com/blog/2018/02/tech-packs-101/ and here at https://www.developapparel.com/post/what-is-a-tech-pack
11. Can my collection be finished in production in a year?
It depends on the line or style itself. Product development and iterations can take months. Once fit approved, we always estimate 90 days for total production - from a factory commitment to product leaving the factory if made off shore. For USA made, estimate 6-8 weeks for bulk production. We need to plan around a few things like manufacturers' busy seasons, Chinese New Year if made in China, or summer break if made in Europe. Made in America is typically faster but it will be more expensive. Custom fabrics add a lot of time to the calendar so this estimate is based on stock fabric.
12. How much money will I make on my first collection?
The first collection launch might not bring any profit. You have to be in it for the long haul to be profitable. If you break even on the investment of starting a clothing line on the first run, then consider that a win. Most new brands start smaller to test their styles and the market. The less you make of something, the more costly it will be to have produced.
13. Can we meet in person instead of having a phone call?
All initial introductory calls are done over the phone. 2020 update - We used to meet with clients in person for working meetings pre-pandemic. All meetings are now done virtually.
14. How do you work with remote clients?
Through phone calls, Zoom, emails, and mailing packages to each other. Email is preferred as we find this the best way to stay organized.
15. How do you do your billing?
Payments are made monthly through the invoicing system online for product work. If you're in need of hourly consulting, then we invoice before the call or meeting.
16. Will I be working with Jessica or someone else?
You'll be in contact solely with me for now. I only take on as many clients as I can personally manage well at once because of the in-depth nature of the services I provide. We can book a couple of months out if I'm at capacity. I work during regular business hours only on Pacific Time, no evenings or weekends. While I love the business I've created, it's my job, not my life. I use 'we' as I have behind the scenes support with office tasks and sewing contractors.
17. Do you use a contract?
Yes, if we move forward to work together, we use a service that will push a contract to you to be e-signed. We can send you a sample one via email if you'd like to read it over first. We do not work without one.
18. Why haven't I heard back about the initial introductory call?
Due to the volume of inquiries received, we are not able to respond to all of them. Please wait a week before resubmitting your contact form.
19. How can I make this process faster?
Design & creation are iterative processes and a huge amount of work to create quality product. It is typically not possible to go from original concept to first sample in a couple of weeks as we only produce high quality of work and aim to get things done correctly up front. We have seen product that was rushed not turn out well and prefer not to work this way.
20. What kind of clients do you work with?
We primarily work with businesses who have learned how challenging it is to bring a product to life. The people who run these companies value quality, service, and results over speed and cost. Check out our About page for more details in the About You section.
Ready to get started? Please answer the questions on this form to give me an idea of what you'd like to make - https://www.developapparel.com/contact