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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are looking into the possibility of using an overseas manufacturer (China, Central America, Turkey, etc.) for our t-shirt line. Has anyone had experience with overseas manufacturers?

I don't necessarily want to go this route, but have not been successful in finding a company in the U.S. that would print the shirts, do the labels, hangtags, etc.
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

It would not be that hard to do it here in america. (I assume you are from America?) You would need to use at least two companies though.

One company to screen print, and sew in new tags. Or one company to screen print, and another to sew in tags.

And you will also need one company to make the labels and hang tags. There are alot of companies that do both. The hang tags you can put on the shirts yourself pretty easily.
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

Yes...I'm in the United States...South Florida to be exact. In addition, to screen printing, I also wanted to have other options available (cut and sew, DTG, etc.).
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

Probably the most major concern with an overseas supplier is that if they do not fulfil their part of the contract, your avenues for recourse is very small.

Unfortunately, I think this applies to any country, and probably most industries. If your business is small, the other party is aware that you will probably not incur the costs involved with pursuing a recourse, even if the business is in a country with strict business laws.

Just be aware of the risks you would be undertaking, and factor it all into your business decision.
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

here's my 5 cents. Back 2 years ago we worked with a Chinese supplier (of machinery). They did a pretty good job on their order but if I didn't personally go there and make sure they load the thing right and make custom documents right, we'd be screwed. Not intentionally, but because they wanted to get their money asap so they were in a big hurry to do the right thing. I think if it's a really serious order, big money involved, you got to be on top of them all the time. Have payment terms such as L/C at least and be precise about late delivery, default, quality problems etc.
But if you have a small order, don't go overseas. Or go to an outsourcing broker who knows what he/she is doing. Or do it in Europe. A little more expensive but you'll be guaranteed better quality and timely execution.
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

Thanks for the information guys. This is certainly helpful information as we had not thought of some possibilities that you mentioned. Since we will be starting out small, we'll continue to seek U.S. companies to do the t-shirts. Without having the specific recommendation (by the knowledgeable members of this forum) of an overseas manufacturer, it will be prudent for us to wait until we are able to visit to assess their operations.
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

mit said:
Thanks for the information guys. This is certainly helpful information as we had not thought of some possibilities that you mentioned. Since we will be starting out small, we'll continue to seek U.S. companies to do the t-shirts. Without having the specific recommendation (by the knowledgeable members of this forum) of an overseas manufacturer, it will be prudent for us to wait until we are able to visit to assess their operations.
If you find a place....please share :)
 

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For sourcing from China through the web, one good method is through www.alibaba.com or www.globalsources.com

To put it simply, the process is roughly like this.

1.Select the manufacturer/agent you are interested in
2.Write to them, ask for delivery time and minimum order quantity.
3. If will want to see samples, send them your fed ex account.
4. They will send you samples.
5. Have them make a sample and send them to you
6. Be specific and as detailed on what you want. Being fickled and indecisive = more mistakes.
7. place order, pay deposit and wait till they finish
8. If big money is involved, fly over to check your goods.
9. Pay the rest, have them send you the original Bill of Lading, arrange forwarding on yourside.
 

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Selecting the manufacturer can be quite daunting. I've recently been sourcing a decent T-Shirt supplier in China. You can go to sites like Alibaba and Global sources and find thousands of factories that offer T-shirts. You contact them and they will send you prices for basic Tees but when you start talking distressed or vintage wash the communication dries up quickly.
Whilst they can manufacture anything you've got to be very specific with your requirements. It takes time but try to find a manufacturer who is doing similar garments to your requirements. When I started my Teddy Bear Business I went through over 100 suppliers and agents to find one that could make a tightly knitted hooded top for the bears. I've seen many copycat offerings since I started but none come close. I'm lucky to have a really excellent agent in China who checks all my mechandise and although I pay a little extra I sleep better! Ong gave a really good breakdown but sometimes you can be as detailed and as specific as you like but if they have a problem understanding your requirements you are banging your head against a brick wall. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. You got to be prepared to stick your neck out you are ordering 1000 pieces per stlye per colour, you've got to get it 100%.
My Chinese is non-existant but my agent speaks better English than me, that helps!
 

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Agents normally charge 3%-5% of the total value, depending on how much you buy. Sometimes it is better to go through an agent because

1. They get better prices sometimes
2. They QC your goods
3. They make sure paperwork is in order for custome clearance

But going over to check your goods is still the safest option. Just look for Chinese companies with an "Import / Export" name to it. They normally advertse all of the above points.
 

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What we do is when samples are produced we get sent the range the agents get sent them and obviously the manufacturer has a set for reference. When they start production our agent sends a representative to the factory to monitor production and ensure the goods are coming out exactly as per samples approved. On one occasion he sent his sister who stayed a week at the factory checking all goods as they came of the production line and rejecting any that weren't up to standard. I understand what Ong is saying but one year we had 4 containers so it's not practical to fly out there every time. It would also be impossible to check every item, one of our containers had approximately 75,000 small message bears, fortunately these all came out to the exact spec. The first container we had of larger Bears the Bears came out slightly on the small side but our agent gave us a generous discount. On another occasion we were a bit strapped for cash but he sent the goods and we paid him a few months later. He is well worth paying the extra percentage and is a great guy to deal with and sorts all the paperwork out. The small message bears were designed on my computer on a Sunday and by the Friday of that week I received perfect counter samples, that's service.
Yesterday I paid $50 for approximately 14 samples of distressed wash vintage T-shirts is different fabric weights (that includes DHL shipping) the samples are being washed as we speak and will be ready Monday. They will photo them send me jpegs for approval and if they look OK they will send them off and I will receive them in a few days. I ensure they send all relevant swatches, labels and swing tags.
 

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mit said:
We are looking into the possibility of using an overseas manufacturer (China, Central America, Turkey, etc.) for our t-shirt line. Has anyone had experience with overseas manufacturers?

I don't necessarily want to go this route, but have not been successful in finding a company in the U.S. that would print the shirts, do the labels, hangtags, etc.
Hi, it is considerable to buy the tee shirt from China supplier as some of them is quite experience on print, label, hang tag so and so.........But the quantity is not small if you like to print yr own design. You might pick up the available for try.:)
 

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Tgraphics said:
Selecting the manufacturer can be quite daunting. I've recently been sourcing a decent T-Shirt supplier in China. You can go to sites like Alibaba and Global sources and find thousands of factories that offer T-shirts. You contact them and they will send you prices for basic Tees but when you start talking distressed or vintage wash the communication dries up quickly.
Whilst they can manufacture anything you've got to be very specific with your requirements. It takes time but try to find a manufacturer who is doing similar garments to your requirements. When I started my Teddy Bear Business I went through over 100 suppliers and agents to find one that could make a tightly knitted hooded top for the bears. I've seen many copycat offerings since I started but none come close. I'm lucky to have a really excellent agent in China who checks all my mechandise and although I pay a little extra I sleep better! Ong gave a really good breakdown but sometimes you can be as detailed and as specific as you like but if they have a problem understanding your requirements you are banging your head against a brick wall. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. You got to be prepared to stick your neck out you are ordering 1000 pieces per stlye per colour, you've got to get it 100%.
My Chinese is non-existant but my agent speaks better English than me, that helps!
Hi all, yes to get someone who speak good English and Chinese in orient is helpful to get the good tee with competitive cost. It is great but how we get can them.:) :)
 

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Re: Experience with overseas manufacturers?

But if you have a small order, don't go overseas. Or go to an outsourcing broker who knows what he/she is doing. Or do it in Europe. A little more expensive but you'll be guaranteed better quality and timely execution.
we have a small company and right now we will be making kinda small orders...so how do we get in contact with the Outsourcing Brokers? and i assume that they will get us in contact with the companies in Europe that will print, sew in labels, and place hang tags on our products! or am i just wrong? lol :D
 
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