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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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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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