October 11, 2023

How to Manufacture Clothes in China & Ship Overseas?

You can turn the global apparel industry into your arena with the right clothing design and strong ties in China. It's within reach, but it's crucial to sidestep the pitfalls many clothing entrepreneurs stumble upon.

Manufacturing clothes in China is like two halves of a golden coin. One side shines with China's deep-rooted expertise in textiles, while the other is all about efficiently shipping those finely made garments to global destinations.

Let’s explore this golden journey — from the bustling factory floors of China to the strategic shipping lanes that connect continents. 

Spoiler: It’s not just about manufacturing and shipping!

Understanding the Basics - Why China?

China stands as a titan in the global clothing industry. With its roots embedded deeply in textiles, it's no wonder the nation contributes to over half of global textile and clothing production

In July 2023 alone, China boasted an impressive output, churning out around 2.6 billion meters of clothing fabric, maintaining a consistent monthly textile production volume near three billion meters. 

Yet, these statistics only tell part of the story. Behind every successful global clothing brand lies an untold secret: the strength of a strategic partnership in China. 

Navigating this behemoth of the textile world requires more than just awareness; it demands the right manufacturing ally by your side. 

Part 1: How to Manufacture Clothes in China

Embarking on the journey of manufacturing clothes in China can be both exciting and daunting. With China's vast textile landscape, it's essential to navigate its intricacies precisely, from sourcing the right supplier to ensuring the finished product's impeccable quality. 

This venture promises immense rewards, but only if you have the proper knowledge.

1. Finding the Right Supplier:

China's extensive landscape of suppliers, specializing in myriad clothing categories and fabric types, offers a wealth of options. But navigating this expanse can be a challenge. While trade shows in China, like the Canton Fair or China International Fashion Fair, and virtual directories, such as Alibaba offer introductions, how do you ascertain the reliability of a clothes manufacturer you meet there? 

The right move:

Whether you're physically visiting a fair or scouring online platforms, having a trusted manufacturing partner by your side is invaluable. This partner will guide you, ensuring that you're not just speaking to any manufacturer but the right one. They'll assist with vetting, due diligence, and ensuring the partnership aligns with your brand's vision, quality standards, and budget.

If you are more concerned about finding the right supplier in China – check out our related blog post.

Related: Finding manufacturing companies in China – Top 5 do’s and don’ts

2. Sampling and Prototyping:

Alright, here's the deal. You've shortlisted a supplier, and it's time to see if they're all talk or if they can walk the walk with some stellar samples. This step is crucial. You're not just checking out their craftsmanship but ensuring the final product isn't some one-hit wonder. Be crystal clear about what you want - from the exact shade of blue to that perfect stitch density. Think of the prototype as the superstar lead in a movie; if it's not Oscar-worthy, the whole film tanks.

Now, a word of caution from the wise: don't be swept off your feet just yet. It's like being given a delicious appetizer and assuming the main course will be just as good. We've seen too many businesses fooled by a jaw-dropping sample only to receive a lackluster mass-produced version later. Remember, a tiny snafu in clothing can lead to the fashion equivalent of a movie flop. 

So, keep your eyes wide open and make sure your manufacturer doesn’t swap out the lead actor halfway through the show!

3. Negotiating Terms and Pricing:

Let's break down the real talk about price negotiations. If you're jetting over to China dreaming of manufacturing dirt-cheap clothes, you're in for a treat. You will, without a doubt, find someone to give you what you're paying for. But remember, when you pay peanuts, don't be surprised if what you get isn't fit for the fashion runway but more for a one-time wear. Instead of scouting for the cheapest deal, look for someone who lays down fair pricing and backs it up with some serious expertise.

Negotiation Skills: Pro vs. Newbie

Lastly, there's a world of difference between the negotiation prowess of a seasoned industry expert and, well, the rest of us. So, having a local manufacturing partner who knows the ins and outs of the game is a game-changer. Just like our experts at MorphoMFG, who've been in the ring, know the players, and, trust me, they pack a punch when it comes to getting you the best terms.

Remember - It's not just about haggling over pennies; it's ensuring no sneaky hidden fees pop up later.

If you want to know more about the manufacturing cost of a product in China – Check out our pricing guide.

Pricing Guide: Manufacturing costs of custom ODM products in China

4. Quality Control and Inspection:

Quality control is the most overlooked step in the clothes manufacturing process, and it's where many trip up. It's like running a marathon, and just when you're near the finish line, deciding to take a nap. Sure, you trust your supplier, but banking solely on their internal quality checks? That's rolling the dice on your brand's reputation.

Many business owners make the rookie mistake of thinking, "Why not just let my clothing manufacturer handle the QC?" But remember, an external, unbiased viewpoint is worth its weight in gold. If you don’t have a dedicated team to scrutinize the quality, rope in your partner manufacturer. They'll inspect with an impartial eye, ensuring the clothes match up to the standards you've set. Think of it as having a referee in a game - someone who ensures everything plays out as it should. And that, my friend, is the recipe for consistently top-notch clothing items.

5. Production and Lead Times:

Setting timelines? Absolutely crucial. But before you circle dates on the calendar, take a moment to evaluate your chosen clothing manufacturer's capacity. Sure, China's manufacturing prowess is legendary, but can your chosen supplier handle your production volume? It’s essential to ensure they have the resources and infrastructure to meet your demand, preventing any delays down the line.

While China's speed in manufacturing is unmatched, there are factors, like the custom duties or unexpected global material shortages, which can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans. So, regular communication becomes the bridge that keeps you and your supplier aligned on expectations.

What’s next?

Overseas shipping is more than just dispatching boxes and awaiting their arrival. It's a layered process, with each layer crucial to ensuring a smooth journey for your clothing items. Curious about the shipping process? Let’s uncover the details.

Part 2: Understanding Overseas Shipping Norms in China

Shipping your clothes overseas from China isn't just about placing them in a container and waving goodbye. There's an art to it, rooted in understanding the shipping norms that can make or break your overseas venture. Some businesses learn the hard way by facing costly delays, customs hold-ups, or unexpected charges.

Don’t worry – we will walk you through the critical shipping norms, helping you sidestep the common pitfalls and ensuring your clothing reaches its destination without a hitch.

• Packaging Matters:

Believe it or not, packaging isn't just about aesthetics—it's a shield for your clothing. Proper packaging protects garments from stains, moisture, and other potential damages during transit. It's not just about a first impression but preserving the integrity of every piece. 

With us on board, packaging concerns fade away. We manage it all in-house, guaranteeing your clothes reach you precisely as intended, pristine and protected.

• Customs and Export Duties:

Navigating customs in China? It can be trickier than it sounds. An adept shipping agent doesn't just move goods but ensures a smooth passage through customs by handling duties and fees. 

It's a common oversight: many businesses get blindsided by unexpected charges or paperwork headaches. To steer clear, ensure your manufacturing partner is dialed into these nuances and brings clarity upfront. No one likes hidden surprises, especially when it comes to costs.

If you're eyeing a deep dive into shipping from China to the US, our related guide is just the ticket.

Related Guide: Comprehensive Guide on Shipping from China to the US.

• Shipping Time and Cost:

Let's talk timing and money, two things no business can afford to overlook. When shipping your apparel, your chosen mode largely dictates how long you'll be twiddling your thumbs, waiting.

Shipping Time:

For those opting for sea freight, brace for a 30-40 day window. If air freight is more your speed, that's around 8-10 days. And for those in a bit of a hurry? Express shipping zips your products to you in just about 3 days.

Shipping Cost:

Now, onto costs. Air freight will set you back around $5-9 per kilogram. Express shipping runs a tad cheaper, clocking in between $4-8 per kilogram. And sea freight? That's the most economical, averaging $2-4 per kilogram. 

It's always good to know where your dollars are going, right?

• Choosing the Right Shipping Partner:

It's one thing to understand shipping intricacies, but having someone handle them with finesse on your behalf is entirely another. A proficient shipping partner doesn’t just ship boxes; they anticipate hitches, navigate through them, and keep you in the loop throughout. They're your eyes and ears, ensuring that the apparel you worked so hard on reaches its destination seamlessly.

Now, think about it: if you have a partner who not only assists you in manufacturing but also in logistics, you've struck gold. With MorphoMFG, while we're on top of your production partner, we're also clued into the shipping world. Partnering with us means having a team familiar with your product from its inception to its final delivery, ensuring everything goes as planned. 

A one-two punch of manufacturing and logistics expertise – that's what we bring to the table.

Manufacturing Clothes in China with MorphoMFG - From Napkin Sketch to Next-Gen Apparel

When it comes to clothes manufacturing in China, it’s not just about stitching fabrics – it's about stitching dreams into reality. At MorphoMFG, we're more than just a contract manufacturer. We're your end-to-end partner. Here's why partnering with us makes sense:

  • Expertise at Every Step: Whether you come to us with a mere idea or detailed design files, our experienced team assesses feasibility, provides insights, and maps out the journey ahead.

  • Component Control Method: We don't just settle. We find specialized factories for each part of your clothing item. This not only ensures premium quality but also aids in IP protection.

  • Transparent Negotiation: No hidden fees, no unexpected costs. We understand the nuances of the market and ensure you get fair pricing combined with top-notch quality.

  • In-House Packaging and Quality Control: We're hands-on. Every piece is packed in-house, ensuring that what you imagine is precisely what gets created, packaged, and delivered.

  • Logistics Partnership: Our relationship doesn't end post-manufacturing. We're with you till your product reaches its destined shelves.

Your vision deserves the best in manufacturing expertise. And that's precisely what MorphoMFG promises. Join hands with us and make your clothing line the talk of the town!

Schedule a Call: Ready to bring your apparel vision to life? Let’s discuss how we can be your key partner in this journey. Click here to schedule a call with our team

FAQs: Answering Your Major Concerns

1. How much is it to manufacture clothes in China?

The cost to manufacture clothes in China varies depending on several factors: the type of clothing item, the materials used, design complexity, and the order quantity. Getting a detailed quote specific to your requirements for an accurate figure is essential.

2. Is it cheaper to manufacture clothes in China?

Indeed, if you're hunting for low-cost options, China has plenty. But a word of caution: going for the cheapest may compromise quality. Instead of chasing rock-bottom prices, aim for the best value-for-money proposition. 

That's where a reliable manufacturing partner like MorphoMFG steps in – guiding you to a cost-effective solution that doesn't cut corners on quality.

3. Where are clothes manufactured in China?

Clothes are manufactured all across China, but the primary hubs are in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. These cities host numerous factories, each specializing in different types of apparel and textiles.

About the author

Josh Fairbairn

CEO of MorphoMFG, fluent in Mandarin, Blogger, and Youtuber. Josh loves interesting materials and the craftsmanship that goes into creating innovative products - watches, tech, games, whisky, leather, wood, blockchain & electronics. Josh and his team in Guangzhou, China are striving to create (& consume) the world’s highest quality products. Partnering with entrepreneurs globally to help solve the world's problems - whether small or large.

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