Why is it important for clothing brands to diversify suppliers?
Do you know, once upon a time – Zara was a Fast Fashion brand – launch styles every week. That is 52 collections in a year. In an industry that was used to 2 to 4 collections a year, this was mind-boggling.
Do you know how many styles does Shein or Temu launch in a week? 100, 1,000 or even more. If Zara was fast fashion, Shein is faster fashion and add generative AI to the mix, this becomes a never-ended race to fast and faster fashion.
As these trends are evolving in the fashion world, clothing brands face a constant challenge to stay relevant, meet demand, and deliver quality products to their customers. As a clothing brand begins to grow, the need for reliable and diverse suppliers becomes increasingly evident.
Suppliers are the backbone of the fashion industry, responsible for providing raw materials, fabrics, and components to clothing brands. They are the unseen heroes who ensure that the fashion industry keeps ticking. However, as clothing brands grow and evolve, their relationship with suppliers may need to undergo a transformation as well.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the compelling reasons why clothing brands should consider changing suppliers or working with multiple suppliers as they expand their operations.
When a clothing brand experiences a surge in popularity, demand for their products often skyrockets. While this is undoubtedly a good problem to have, it can quickly turn sour if a brand’s supplier is unable to keep up. Changing a supplier or working with multiple suppliers can help address this issue. Working with a strong supplier like Hula Global (contact us) can reduce the likelihood challenge of losing out demand.
Having multiple suppliers allows a brand to distribute production, reduce lead times, and meet increased customer demand without compromising quality. This not only keeps the brand in business but also fosters customer loyalty by preventing stockouts and late deliveries.
Depending upon a brand’s size, having an over-reliance on a single supplier can pose significant risks for a clothing brand. Natural disasters, labour strikes, economic downturns, or even simple miscommunications can disrupt the supply chain. When a brand diversifies its suppliers, it reduces vulnerability to these external factors.
Imagine a clothing brand that solely relies on a single supplier in a region prone to labour incidents like Bangladesh. A single labour related incident in the region could halt production indefinitely. By working with multiple suppliers from different regions, the brand can spread the risk, ensuring that production continues even in the face of unexpected disruptions.
Quality Control and Innovation
Suppliers vary not only in terms of location but also in terms of capabilities and expertise. As a clothing brand grows, it may need to source specialized materials or components for its products. Working with multiple suppliers allows brands to tap into a broader range of skills and knowledge.
Different suppliers might offer innovations, sustainable materials, or unique production techniques that can set a brand apart from its competitors. This not only enhances the brand’s product quality but also keeps it at the forefront of the fashion industry.
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Suppliers, like any other business, operate in their best interests. As a clothing brand grows, it may have the leverage to negotiate better deals with suppliers. By changing suppliers or working with multiple suppliers, brands can ensure that they are getting the best value for their money.
Furthermore, competition among suppliers for a brand’s business can lead to cost reductions, as suppliers may be more willing to offer competitive prices to secure long-term partnerships. This, in turn, can lead to increased profitability for the brand.
Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing
In today’s socially conscious world, ethical and sustainable sourcing has become a top priority for many clothing brands. Working with suppliers who share these values is crucial. As a brand grows, its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices may lead to a change in suppliers.
Different suppliers have different approaches to sustainability and ethics. By diversifying suppliers, a brand can ensure that it aligns with those who uphold the same standards. Brands can choose suppliers that use environmentally friendly materials, provide fair wages, and follow ethical labour practices.
Expanding a clothing brand often involves increasing production capacity. A single supplier may not be equipped to handle the volume required for growth. In such cases, brands need to change suppliers or engage with multiple ones to accommodate their scaling needs.
Working with a network of suppliers can provide the flexibility to scale production up or down as needed, without overburdening a single supplier. This scalability is essential for managing operational costs and maintaining production efficiency.
As clothing brands expand into new markets, they often need suppliers who can accommodate their geographical reach. Different regions may have unique regulations, logistics challenges, and consumer preferences. Brands may find it advantageous to work with local suppliers in these new markets to navigate these complexities effectively.
Changing or diversifying suppliers can ensure that a brand has the agility to cater to different customer bases without compromising the quality or integrity of their products.
The world of fashion is ever-changing, and clothing brands must be adaptable to thrive in this dynamic industry. As clothing brands grow, the need to change suppliers or work with multiple suppliers becomes a strategic imperative. This not only addresses the challenges posed by growth but also enhances quality, sustainability, and innovation.
By diversifying their supplier base, clothing brands can reduce risks, meet increased demand, optimize costs, and contribute to a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. In doing so, they ensure that their designs continue to dazzle the runway and delight customers worldwide, season after season.
In this era of fashion evolution, flexibility and diversity in supplier relationships are the keys to keeping clothing brands at the forefront of the industry, ensuring their continued success, and, most importantly, keeping fashion enthusiasts looking fabulous.