Custom Sports Kit
UK Or Offshore Production ?
(110). Having decided to create a team sports kit, you need to decide if you want to have the kit designed and manufactured in the UK, or abroad. It is very tempting to go for the offshore option, as it is far cheaper than UK manufacture. China can be a good cost effective option if you know what you are doing, or have good professional support. It is a very popular location for sportswear production at the moment.
If you are just making a few garments, then it is not worth the hassle of manufacturing abroad. Even if it seems way cheaper, there can be hidden costs, and the risks are great. If you need to produce a large amount of garments then it may well be the only viable option.
Advantages of manufacturing abroad :-
- It can be far cheaper
- you can get fully factored production (FFP)
- It is dead easy
- You generally get door to door service.
Disadvantages of manufacturing abroad :-
- Communication can be a problem.
- You may not be able to check out the factory.
- You have to pay in full before receiving the goods.
- Sizing may be different
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How To Start.
I suggest finding a similar garment to your own that is made by a repsected brand. This is for sizing purposes rather than using their design. I would also suggest buying the same style in the smallest and largest sizes.
If you are producing say, a team football kit, or rugby kit, you may have a whole range of sizes from small children to extra large adults. The sizing alone can cause huge problems without expert advice. Only the very top manufacturers like Nike or Adidas get the sizing right, and even they are not consistent. Factories do not understand sizing, and particularly they do not understand children`s sizing and extremes of sizes.
The childrens sizes are not always just scaled down versions of the adults clothing. Sometimes a design detail like a collar, or a cuff, or a side seam band will stay the same width right the way through the sizes, from the smallest children`s size, to the largest adults. Sometimes there will be two or three different widths. There is no standard. Just a decision to be taken.
Some countries are used to different sizing. Chinese factories for instance are not familiar with European sizing because the Chinese tend to be a lot smaller. So, I would advise not allowing the factory to dictate the sizing. I would suggest if possible, doing your sample development in the UK, then providing the factory with a professional size chart for them to sample the smallest and largest sizes.
Once you are happy with the sizing you can go ahead with the production. If you have provided the factory with a size chart, then they are liable to produce the garments to those measurements. If they make the sizes as they want, then you just get what you are given.
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