As I started Twin x Flames, I've encountered SO MANY challenges on the road to success, but one that often gets overlooked is the wildly difficult journey of finding the perfect clothing supplier. Whether you're in the fashion industry or just seeking high-quality apparel for your brand, the search for the ideal supplier can be really tough when you're looking for the right one for you. In this blog post, I'll shed light on the difficulties I faced (and continue to face) in finding a clothing supplier that matches my specific needs and standards.
1. Quality, Quality, Quality:
Naturally the first thing you're going to think of is quality. I knew from the very beginning I wanted to have a high quality supplier because one of my big focuses is sustainability. I'm looking for something that fit my needs and I looked into the fabric that was used, where it was made, where it was harvested, how it was dyed, and how it felt. Even if it meant scrutinizing stitching, color consistency, or durability, I knew I wasn't going to settle. It didn't make me feel good but I also know I want to sell high quality clothing that will stand the test of time!
2. Cost Efficiency:
Sourcing clothing suppliers that offer competitive pricing without compromising quality is a delicate balancing act. I'm sure everyone understands the importance of cost-efficiency, but it can be tricky to find a supplier that delivers on this while meeting all other critical requirements. It was really common for me to find high-quality garments, but it was extremely expensive to buy and that was before I ever printed on them. In the end, I had to create spreadsheets just to track how many suppliers I was researching because of how many there are. It was super time consuming but it's essential for the bottom line!
3. Ethical and Sustainable Practices:
People nowadays care a lot more about their impact on the environment and it's so awesome to see! A lot of businesses are doing their best to integrate this into their own practices as they see how consumers are reacting to companies that actually try and reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, this also means that there's a lot of potential for greenwashing which simply means businesses are willing to make false claims about their business practices being sustainable if it means more potential for profits. As I did my research, I did my best to find out whether or not the suppliers were telling the truth about their business practices. Believe it or not, there were a lot of suppliers I had to end up removing from the list because of what I found!
4. Communication and Flexibility:
This is a no-brainer. Communication is important in EVERYTHING! If there's a lack of (good) communication, it's really hard to keep everything on track. A part of my research involved a ton of phone and email communication as I talked to suppliers about their claims on their sustainable practices. This meant waiting days, sometimes weeks, just to get a response! Ironically, sometimes it meant I would remove them from my list of potential suppliers because even if they were legitimate, I wouldn't be able to communicate with them anyways. Onto the next!
Finding the perfect clothing supplier can be an intricate puzzle for a CEO. The quest involves balancing quality, scalability, cost efficiency, ethical practices, effective communication, and reliability. While the journey is challenging, the rewards of a well-suited clothing supplier are worth the effort. It's an investment in the long-term success and reputation of your business. The key to success is patience, thorough research, and a commitment to finding a partner who aligns with your vision and values.
All's well ends well.
I managed to find the perfect supplier after months of long phone calls, expensive samples, and frustration, and now I have the perfect product to fit my vision so I guess it wasn't all that bad...
Through it all I think I would say it's not just about finding a supplier; it's about building a strong foundation for Twin x Flames' success even if it meant I had to keep starting over. I'm confident in what I sell and I didn't want to make anything that would go against the whole idea of what the business stood for.
I will say I learned a lot in this research and it can only help me moving forward so there's my silver lining. This brief moment of appreciation is the calm before the storm as I quickly learned there was so much more coming...
Until next time!