Geoff Krasnov offers apparel/clothing/garment manufacturing and sourcing news.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Import Apparel Pitfalls -How to Import Clothing and Not Lose Your Shirt

Style Source Inc has been importing custom clothing for 5 years now, but our depth of experience is much deeper than that time period portrays. Years ago, we made the decision that turning away customers because we could not hit their price points with domestic manufacturing was wasted opportunity. Having had experience in sourcing with Sara Lee Corporation, I knew that starting from scratch with unproven vendors would be a long and difficult road. I had learned that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and that all the great things a sales representative at a trade show booth could tell me they were capable of had little relation to what could be expected when the rubber hit the road and it came time to develop and impliment custom apparel from customer specifications. The decent english spoken by the man in the booth was, typically, the companies best effort, and the soldiers manning the front lines brought about a new challenge in communication. Therefor, I decided to tap the shoulder of someone who was well established, with over 20 years of experience, and with rock solid proven channels. Thus was born the relationship we have today with our import apparel partner, which has proven to be one of the best decisions we could have made.

When looking for an import partner pay very close attention to the initial processes. It is your responsibility to define the product at a detailed level. This normally takes the form of specification packages. When dealing with another country and language barriers, it is critical you define the fabric for content, yield and performance parameters. You need to know the garment construction, or at least have a sample to go by. You must define the sizing and the size grade. Packaging, labelling, placements, etc must all be very specific. With a company like Style Source, we help you gather this information and even offer the service of creating initial spec packs. When dealing directly with a foreign entity the responsibility falls solely on you.

Pay very close attention to initial samples. If the samples are shoddy turn and run. The factory should supply you with approval samples of the fabric, all the findings, and lab dips of your colors. If embellishments are being added these should also be sampled first for accuracy, detail, placement and colors. Many of these operations will require a deposit of 100% before starting this process. Beware, as once the money is overseas you have no out!

The issue of logistics comes into play, and this facet of the decision makiong process needs to occur at the onset rather than as an afterthought. When dealing directly with an overseas based supplier terms are usually ILOC or payment up front. Shipments are made FOB port of origin, meaning you release your letter of credit when the goods reach the port of origin. You then have full responsibility to have the goods scheduled, insure all documents are processed, and to pay all fees (broker, port, security, inland and ocean freight, duties, document preparation, etc etc) from that point. Be SURE to add up all the fees and the duties and to add them to your FOB cost to determine your true landed/duty paid(LDP) cost!

Style Source Inc takes all of the pain out of this process. We will quote you an LDP price (exclusive of freight) and estimate the freight costs for you. We pay all of the fees and duties and handle the logistics. We manage the sampling process. We offer terms of 50% down and 50% at document presentation for export, allowing you to hold onto 50% of the order value through the typical 90 day manufacturing process. Most importantly, we offer a guarantee of satisfaction, and as a US based company, you have the assurance that you have recourse if there is any unresolved issue. What do you pay extra for the managment of the entire process of importing private label clothing and the security of full package custom apparel importation? We like to say nothing, as our pricing is most competitive and we channel enough volume through our suppliers that we receive favorable pricing from them. Unless you are producing thousands of units a month on an ongoing basis and sourcing direct you will not find more competitive pricing.

Friday, September 04, 2009


We review allot of satistics here at Style Source world headquarters, and I found it interesting that the search strings most commonly used to find us reference the word clothing instead of apparel. " How to start a clothing line " was number one followed by " private label clothing " and " starting a clothing line ". Mis-spelled or abbreviated terms also come into play like " starting clothing line " how start custom clothing ". No matter how you spell it, or what string you use, you will land at Style Source, your preferred alternative for manufacturing custom clothing or custom private label apparel! Our website is full of helpfull information about importing custom clothing or how to import custom apparel. Our import division has set a record this year in volume, and has imported polo shirts, childrens custom rompers, woven dress shirts, jeans, hats, shorts, dresses, canvas totes, belts, ties, and many other items with 100% customer satisfaction. Feel free to inquire about your custom clothing line and we will help guide you!


We just returned from 110 degree smoke filled (both outside from the wild fires in California and inside in the Casinos) Las Vegas and here are some thoughts on what we saw.

The MAGIC ( originally Mens Apparel Guild In California)show has continued to evolute. There are added venues as the definition of catagories has transformed. How to differentiate between Pool, Project , Street and Slate has become a challenge, as it seemed we were seeing virtually the same merchandise with different graphics in each venue. The fact that Pool, Slate, Street, Mens and Premium all blended from one to the other in the same humongous hall did not help. At least Project was in a different building, but if you asked me the difference between Pool and Project I would be hard pressed to answer! The use of decorations continues to expand and gain importance, as evidenced by the riot of colors and graphics overlayed with crystals, foil, applique and whatever other creative means could be employed. This means the bulk of products were either made in the Los Angeles area, where these types of decorating are available, or made overseas. Finding booths that relied more on cut, fabric drape, and style versus patterns, color combinations and decorations was a chore!

The kids show at Magic was laughable. There were maybe 8 booths of kidswear. It adjoined Ecollection, which was an area I expected to be greatly expanded with the advent of organics and natural fibers. Unfortunately, this area consisted of about a dozen or two of booths, with very little in the way of fashion or childrenswear!

We attended the WWIN womenswear show at the Rio, as we have several customers that were showing there, and , when catching the shuttle we noticed there was an independant Kids show at Ballys. If not for the shuttle sign, we would have never known! We went there and had no issues navigating the aisles, as, apparently noone else knew of this show either. Exhibitors were setup similar to the ENK show, and the show size was pretty decent, but it was extremely disheartening to see how poorly attended it was, a foreboding sign for the shows future.