What Clothing Manufacturers Don’t Want You to Know
The custom t-shirt screen printing industry is estimated to be worth $8 billion in just the US. That excludes other types of prints and apparels such as caps, hoodies, tank tops etc. With growing household disposable income, demand is also soaring.
As competition is rising, you need to really understand your product and your market to achieve product market fit. Here we expand upon the ways you can truly understand one facet of your product; the sourcing of blank t-shirts.
You make everything from scratch.
When we say everything, we mean everything. From the fabric to the final t-shirt. If you want your blank t-shirts to be made in a very specific way, have a very specific weight, and a very specific material composition, then this is what you want. This process tends to be more expensive and t-shirts such as this is usually sourced by larger fashion brands who have very particular design requirements.
The higher cost in this process is due to many factors. Costs may come down if the buyer decides to source the fabric on their own, but even then the cutting, sewing, dyeing, washing, and everything else the manufacturer does is usually personalized and the level of personalization adds to the cost. If the manufacturer has to deal with the fabric too, then they will outsource it’s manufacture if it’s not done in house. That too will add a premium.
The aforementioned personalization will also add to the manufacturing cost. If a buyer wants certain trimmings and accessories added, then sourcing that will add more too. That is of course, unless the buyer provides them as well.
A lot of blank t-shirt companies prefer to produce their products this way in Bangladesh. Gildan for example, has a large footprint in Bangladesh. They acquired a Bangladesh clothing manufacturer back in 2010 to expand upon their Asian operations and has invested heavily in the manufacturing plant. That factory now produces high quality ring-spun cotton t-shirts, much like how this scenario plays it out.
The major difference between this scenario and the first one, is that the fabric used is obtained from stock fabric that is already present in the market.
What ends up happening is that the material composition and to a large extent the quality, is dictated by the fabric that the market can provide at the price at which you target. It is cheaper than the first scenario as the cost of sourcing the fabric is much less, but you lose the opportunity to dictate the material composition of your final product.
Say you want to have 5000 t-shirts that are tri-blend (polyester/cotton/rayon) at a very specific and light weight around 3.8 Oz/128 GSM. But based on your sizes, there is only enough fabric available for 3000 t-shirts. You then need to make a decision to whether change the material composition or have the material made or outsourced.
On the other hand, this is a great option if you want to keep your material composition to just one single material and a common weight. Maybe 100% cotton at 5.3 Oz/180 GSM or a common 50/50 polyester blend at 4.3 Oz/145 GSM. These kinds of materials are usually abundantly available in the market and the prices tend to be relatively reasonable.
If you are a smaller fashion brand, or you are a t-shirt printer that needs to outsource some of their orders, then this is the way to go. You will be able to satisfy most of apparel needs at a competitive price.
In this scenario, you source readily available blank t-shirts from the market. This is the cheapest method for sourcing blank t-shirts anywhere in the world.
In Bangladesh specifically, these blank t-shirts are either the result of excess production or failed shipments. These t-shirts are actually not defects. Most clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh don’t want you to know that a lot of their capital is tied to these production runs, and the only they can recoup parts of their investments is by dumping clothes into the market at rock bottom prices. Not only that, but these kinds of clothes are usually ordered by big brands such as Hanes and Fruit of the Loom and their measurements, weights, colors, and other requirements are exactly according to their specifications.
There are some disadvantages though. Say you want 5000 blank t-shirts of a certain shade of white and at 5 sizes, you may have to settle for 3000 pieces at another shade of white. Prices will fluctuate according to demand and supply, and you need to be on top of the latest market whispers to source blanks competitive in this scenario. The best way to go about that though, is hiring an agency that is both near the market and is informed about the ups and downs of the Bangladesh clothing manufacturing industry.
If you want to know more about how to source blank t-shirts from Bangladesh, drop us a line. Someone from the team will be in touch soon after that!