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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys/dolls,

can i get some info on importing t-shirts from far away places ?
this topic has come up around here lately and with the USD being so low... is it a good time to start importing and not buy US made ?

some thoughs on this is appreciated.
 

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LucyRoberts said:
hey guys/dolls,

can i get some info on importing t-shirts from far away places ?
this topic has come up around here lately and with the USD being so low... is it a good time to start importing and not buy US made ?

some thoughs on this is appreciated.
With the US dollar so low, wouldn't you want to take advantage and actually buy MORE US made products?
 

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I wouldnt say that all the 'quality' t-shirts are located in the US. Plenty of companies use factories in China/Vietnam etc. And a well known brand doesnt mean a sale, as long as the quality is comparable I don't think many people would be able to tell the difference between a AA t-shirt and one from a Chinese factory. Heh.....I use an overseas supplier anyway. Personal choice I suppose and cost factors make my mind up... I'm pretty sure I wouldnt be using a UK based supplier myself though.

Although I'm not sure how many people would have overseas contacts....plenty of manufacturers to choose from though.
 

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Alot of people in my industry use South America, Turkey, India, and South Africa. I still like the US distributers because of shipping time and lower quantities. Getting shirts shipped on time keeps my sanity in check.
 

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hongkongdmz said:
I wouldnt say that all the 'quality' t-shirts are located in the US. .

I don't mean that the US is the only place to get good shirts. That's blatantly not true, given many high end shops have their products made all over the place.

What I mean is that, for our industry, the vast majority of blanks with a brand name *perceived* as "quality", are made in the US.
 

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Also depends on whether or not you're willing to go through the hassle of dealing with custom manufacturers. Can you get high quality shirts made in offshore factories? Absolutely. Can you buy those easily, pre-made, off the rack, styled, coloured, here-you-go-sir? Not so much.

Of course that's where agents come in, but that's just exchanging one hassle/cost for another. It's definitely an option (and one I know some specific brands that are moving to, having previously used local production), but it's not for everyone. Particularly, it's not for those who aren't dealing in quantity.
 

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Solmu said:
Particularly, it's not for those who aren't dealing in quantity.
Admittedly, while this is the perceived wisdom that I've taken on assumption and run with... it's actually contrary to what at least one of those designers who is now producing offshore said (i.e. I was told part of the advantage of it was being able to do smaller runs).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
alphadatabase said:
For those of you that did have clothing imported, what kind of minimums did you have, and how did the customization process of your garment work for you in dealing with a distant company?
So far the Product quality has always been good.

Only had one problem with imported Bulk goods. All other times 100% satisfied.

Importing from China (for example) is complicated here in Canada.
I find the best way is if the company has a rep where you are located ( or in our case in the USA at least ) to deal with.

Never the less, importing is "risky" with customs etc. an import brooker helps alot.

The one and only problem we had was a $ 30,000 order that turned out to be knock-off's. Yep, started noticing the same goods on High Fashion model magazines, in Gucci, Dior etc... stores.

What the heck ! of couse we did not know they were knock offs cause they were being made at the same time as the real ones and i guess these were leftovers or something.

Anyways, we voluntaraly pulled all the goods from the retail stores and got the the Legal involved. 2 years later it all finaly got sorted out, returned the goods and got the cash back.


Other times Importing from Farway places has worked out great.

It pays to import in bulk when hot items are not available local or for a better price ( to save cents, dont bother importing).

From Canada, We like to import from FarWay places via USA, NYC or LA and deal with reps there that import much larger volumes then us. It is cheaper and Easier to bring them into Canada from the USA then importing them directly into Canada from Farway places. ...i find.

The lower USD helps too, when buying with CND from the USA. Way better then a few years ago. :D

.... importing from the UK is easy for us, we have a connection there ..... the Queen. Bwahahahah :)
 

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i am an Aussie new in shanghai , china and involved in this industry - one year
a lot of factories are suppling quality blanks for below 3 usd fob.
i sell wholesales finished products but has got enquiries for blanks from australia and is considering this trade.
qualities coming out of china are good - blanks. but good printers are few.
 

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As with just about everything, there are different levels:

You can use a local manufacturer and a local distributor - e.g., American Apparel. These shirts will usually have the highest percieved quality, but will be more expensive; it will depend on your customers if they think paying extra for a US made shirt (for example) is worth it. Usually roughly around 4 USD per blank (I did say roughly; it will vary with quantity, brand, etc.).

Next step down, you can use a local distributor dealing in shirts that aren't made locally (e.g., buying Hanes or Gildan shirts from S&S Activewear). This is usually a good balance for most people, as you still get a good product but the price is lower. Usually roughly around 2 USD per blank (again, roughly; it will vary).

After that, I guess there would be the level of buying in bulk directly from the manufacterer (this could be higher on the ladder depending on the manufacterer). Here, I'm referring to manufacterers that will only sell in very large bulk orders - so it's better to order from a distributor unless you have a very largescale production.

Going down another step, you can deal completely with outsourced distribution and manufacturing. You may be risking quality for cents at this stage, but in largescale production with a company you've found you can trust, it may be worthwhile.

I suppose you could even take it one step further, and make the t-shirts yourself (or buy the out-of-country plants that do) =)


The last 2 steps are (in my opinion) only really a good idea for people running very large businesses producing thousands (or tens of thousands) of shirts a year. Granted, this is a U.S. based perspective, and the viability of such options may very well be different from t-shirt companies elsewhere.
 

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Twinge said:
I suppose you could even take it one step further, and make the t-shirts yourself (or buy the out-of-country plants that do) =)
Personally, I plan on being here in a couple of months myself. Given the wealth of knowledge this site I can't believe we all aren't going this route. :p
 

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I do not know how you guys import shirts. Arent there allot of scam artists out there, especially in forgein conutries where they are harder to trace? How do you guys build a trusting relationship?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
T-BOT said:
So far the Product quality has always been good.

Only had one problem with imported Bulk goods. All other times 100% satisfied.

Importing from China (for example) is complicated here in Canada.
I find the best way is if the company has a rep where you are located ( or in our case in the USA at least ) to deal with.

Never the less, importing is "risky" with customs etc. an import brooker helps alot.

The one and only problem we had was a $ 30,000 order that turned out to be knock-off's. Yep, started noticing the same goods on High Fashion model magazines, in Gucci, Dior etc... stores.

What the heck ! of couse we did not know they were knock offs cause they were being made at the same time as the real ones and i guess these were leftovers or something.

Anyways, we voluntaraly pulled all the goods from the retail stores and got the the Legal involved. 2 years later it all finaly got sorted out, returned the goods and got the cash back.


Other times Importing from Farway places has worked out great.

It pays to import in bulk when hot items are not available local or for a better price ( to save cents, dont bother importing).

From Canada, We like to import from FarWay places via USA, NYC or LA and deal with reps there that import much larger volumes then us. It is cheaper and Easier to bring them into Canada from the USA then importing them directly into Canada from Farway places. ...i find.

The lower USD helps too, when buying with CND from the USA. Way better then a few years ago. :D

.... importing from the UK is easy for us, we have a connection there ..... the Queen. Bwahahahah :)

yes, IT IS a risk, but i like to think we are still a kosher society. :D
 
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