Sometimes, a deal with a supplier might sound too good to be true. If it does, you need to make sure you ask the right questions and do the right research to avoid being disappointed.
Research & Reviews – Do your research. Look up the supplier online to see if you can find any reviews. Facebook and Google are a great place to start. If the supplier doesn’t have public reviews, ask yourself why, as this could be a bad sign. If you can’t find any public reviews, you can try review sites such as productreviews.com.au or trustpilot.com for independent ratings.
Don’t just look at the star rating, read the reviews and try to determine if they are legitimate. Do they make sense? Are they basic (e.g. “great service!”), or detailed? Avoid being one of the unfortunate victims as per below examples.
Referrals – Ask around to see if you know anyone who has ordered from the supplier. If you do, ask them how their experience was.
Location – Identify where the supplier is based. If they are based overseas you may find it hard to get any repairs, replacements or refunds, as they are not always covered by the ACCC.
Artwork – Check how accurate the supplier’s artwork is. Are you seeing a mock-up or an actual production template? You need to see artwork on production templates shown by size, in order to have confidence.
Communication – Identify whether you can speak with the artists. If so, do they speak English, and is it easy to communicate your requirements?
Fabric – Establish whether you have a choice of fabric and ask if you can see or feel the fabric. You want to be familiar with its weight.
Colour – Be aware that choosing colours from a screen often leads to disappointment, as colours cannot be accurately displayed on a screen. You should also check if the supplier sources from a single factory. If they use multiple factories, your colour consistency may be affected on re-orders.
Sizing – Ask for a sizing chart and decide whether you are confident with the sizing.
Sampling – Confirm whether you can order samples. If so, how long do they take and what will it cost?
Delivery – Get a quote for delivery. Is it delivery to your door? Does it sound achievable based on your location, especially if you are in a remote area? Ask if the supplier can guarantee the delivery time they have quoted you.
Timeframes – Identify where the factory is. Ask how long manufacturing takes, and how long delivery takes.
Educate yourself on manufacturing standards and establish whether the factory abides by any.
Certification – Here is a list of certification standards that are common in the textile and apparel industry:
- WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production)
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
- ISO 9000
- ISO 14000