Starting a clothing line can be very daunting. If you are looking for mass production and going big scale, Asia is a great place to start. But how do you get all of your materials, supplies, products, manufacturing, packaging, clothing labels, and shipping set up? Your best option is to hire an agent overseas.
How to Hire and Agent Overseas
How do you go about doing this? Where do you begin? How do you know if they will be trustworthy? Will they produce what they say they will? How much will it cost?
The first place you will want to start looking for an agent is by asking your contacts in the industry. They should always be your first source of information and help. These could be friends, local suppliers and local manufacturers. Your secondary source should be the the internet but this can prove difficult to find the right one to work with still.
The Purpose of an Agent Overseas
The purpose of hiring and agent overseas is for them to act as a middle man between you and the suppliers and manufacturers. They are your main and only point of contacting eliminating the need for dealing with multiple people. Agents will have a network and team of people in place that are able to source all your fabrics and materials, produce patterns, grading, and samples and once you are ready, they will be able to have all of your clothing mass produced.
Some agents may provide additional services but you should focus on what you need first; but always keep the future and growing your business at the forefront of your mind. If you can find an agent and a team that can grow with you, you will save yourself time and money in the long run.
Having a Contract Builds Trust
The agent should be able to provide you with a detailed contract outlining what “the company” (or the client) and “the agents” duties and responsibilities are, the terms and conditions as well as fees and payments. This could also include the scope of authority “the company” gives “the agent” when negotiating and making decisions, duration of the agreement, timelines, payments terms, expenses, quality control and corrective actions. Contracts can very depending on the parties involved.
If you find an agent and they do not provide you with a contract, this should be your first red flag. Move on and keep searching. You need to have a trusting relationship with your agent, otherwise you will always have doubt. Having a contract in place is to protect both parties is the good start to building trust.
In an interview on www.entrepreneur.com with Ashton Udall he says:
In most cases, it’s wise to hire an agent, someone with expertise in assessing factory operations. When screening agents, look at their track record, find out how long they’ve been in business and talk to previous clients. “There’s so much risk in a startup; you want to look for ways to take the risk out,” Udall says. “One way to do that is hiring professionals. You wouldn’t go out and pretend to be a lawyer. Don’t pretend to be a manufacturing or sourcing expert if you’re not.
“Udall urges entrepreneurs who don’t hire an agent to visit prospective factories. “I don’t care if it’s China or Timbuktu,” he says. “The internet does not suffice.
“Visiting a factory enables you to meet your prospective business partners and gauge the quality of their facilities and breadth of their services. Ask about the size of the quality-control and engineering staffs. Find out whether tools are built on-site. Take note of organization and cleanliness.
One of the main factors for anyone contemplating whether to hire an agent overseas is the costs involved. The costs and fees can vary but in general most agencies charge an initial set up fee (ex: $2,500.00) plus a commission fee of 12-20% of the final production costs.
We at Clothing Manufacturing Agent Bali have lower upfront agent fees as we have a strong working relationship with our team and are able to pass the savings onto our clients. This in turn will give our clients the opportunity to save money and produce more pieces. Contact Us to see how we ca help you get started today!