You can locate contractors for apparel assembly through recommendations from industry contacts, trade groups, and trade shows or sourcing fairs such as Material World (www.material-world.com). In trade shows such as these, apparel, textile, and trim producers exhibit at one place. The shows focus on one-stop shopping for retailers, manufacturers and private label developers. Several directories are published, among them the Fashiondex publication The Apparel Production
Sourcebook. The trade press carries classified ads for contractors. Daily News Record has ads in print and on line (www.dnrnews.com), as does the Apparel Magazine (www.apparelmag.com).
The Internet has provided another way to match your needs with contractors’ specialties. Three well known organizations that will help you find a contractor to match your needs are
The American Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) calls itself the Sourcing Network of the Americas (www.usawear.org). The AAPN is a non-profit organization of apparel contractors. It has promoted the domestic and Canadian apparel industry for twenty years, and has recently expanded to include Mexico and the Caribbean Basin. It not only maintains a database of apparel contractors, but also offers assistance to small manufacturers using contractors for the first time. The organization offers design, pattern, and sample services at low costs, and will help you write specification sheets, all described at www.usawear.org/pattern.
The Garment Industry Development Corporation (GIDC) is located in New York City and supports apparel contractors in the city and New York State. It is funded by the city, state, and a trade group for the NYC apparel industry. The contractor matching service is one of many services provided to the apparel industry by GIDC. Seams is a contractor group that promotes the production capacities of its members from the southeast US.
- Go to www.usawear.org. Open On the left hand page, click on Find Contractors. Pick a product that interests you, and use the arrow in the box to select the correct garment, then search. Open up one of the contractor names to see full information.
- Open www.seams.org. Select sourcing. Pick something to source and see what information comes up for a contractor.
- Open www.gidc.org. Select domestic sourcing from the buttons on the left. Do a search and look at an individual entry
Which system gives you the best information for making a contractor selection? Which ones enable you to link to a contractor’s e-mail? Which would you recommend to a new entrepreneur for ease of use?