Starting fashion brands that search for a clothing manufacturer online often get lost. There is so much supply and at the same time it is unclear how reliable all those parties are. Many brands cannot find a solution through Google and on LinkedIn they find a lot of new friends with great promises that usually cannot be fulfilled. Men of Orange helps these young companies by linking them to one or more manufacturers. Co-owner Eefje Witvoet: "But you must have a plan, know exactly what your brand stands for and know how you are going to sell it, otherwise you will remain a one-hit wonder." Together with Koen Ellerbeck, Witvoet owns Men of Orange, a company that links brands to premium clothing manufacturers. Because they worked for years as chief buyer and senior product developer at various Dutch fashion houses, they have a large network. From their showrooms in Heemstede they help brands find a suitable partner.
How do you find a clothing manufacturer? When brands come in, Ellerbeck and Witvoet first sit down with them. Is the design only in the mind of the entrepreneur or is there already something on paper? What kind of product is it actually? How many pieces? What is the budget? Which substance should be used? Witvoet: "We are going to supplement this together so that a briefing is created that a factory can work with. The fit and measurements must also be recorded. We can help with the preparation of these documents, if necessary. Some brands have this of course already." Asia, South America, North Africa or at least Europe Only when it is clear what a brand wants can Ellerbeck and Witvoet help to find a suitable manufacturer. "The moment someone has a premium brand that is quite small, Portugal is often a good choice. The quality of the clothing is high here and you don't have to buy huge numbers immediately. with larger numbers, the Far East is a lot cheaper, they are also more geared to large numbers," explains Ellerbeck. However, producing in Asia is not the best solution for every brand. There are still a lot of factors that starting brands have to take into account. "The disadvantage of Asia is of course that it is not so easy to go there, especially not now. As a brand you still want to know how your products are made. The transport time is also longer and the additional costs higher. You also have to take into account import duties," he says. Witvoet adds: "Brands often also consciously choose to produce closer to home, in order to leave a smaller ecological footprint."
Founding a successful fashion label If you want to become successful as a starting brand, think carefully about the sales strategy, emphasize Ellerbeck and Witvoet. Ellerbeck: "Are you going to sell it only through your own webshop or will it be a wholesale brand? If you choose to work with third parties, you have to take a margin into account when you determine your prices." What many young entrepreneurs do not realize is that they have to finance the collections in advance. “Keep in mind that you will have to pay at least 30 to 50 percent of the bill at the time of order confirmation, and the balance before the collections are shipped,” says Ellerbeck. "And also think about the second and third collection. You have to be financially aware that if you are working on the first collection, you also have to finance the second, while you have not yet received the proceeds from the first collection. " Because the costs per brand differ greatly and depend on many factors, Men of Orange always makes a tailor-made offer. For more information or to make an appointment, visit menoforange.nl.