5 Top Tips to make your product lines more profitable
As a brand, you want to deliver your customers the best quality product at an affordable price point, yet you also need to make sure it can be a profitable line for your business. Products need to fall into a specific RRP price point, so finding ways to maximise your margin needs to come from the design. Here we look at 5 top tips to help you maximise your profitability.
Making smarter production decisions will enable you to reduce unit costs and maximise profits, without needing to sacrifice style decisions, product quality, or compromising on sustainability goals and ethical buying practices. Win-win!
Less is more — Keep product lines smaller
It’s tempting to think you need to create more choice for your customers, but creating a huge, sprawling product line spanning many categories is often not the most successful strategy! Strive to launch fewer product categories and look to share the same fabrics or prints across the line. Focus energies on designing and producing fewer, carefully designed, and well-manufactured products. Remember – too much product choice can actually overwhelm customers in the decision making process! Fewer styles also increase brand recall, increasing customer loyalty. This will also help reduce the risk of badly performing lines and give you the best chance to produce lines that play to the strength of your production abilities. It isn’t a good idea to stretch yourself too thin and end up with too much inventory that might not sell. Ultimately, this can increase the likelihood of heavy end-of-season discounting, which is damaging to the planet and profits.
Keep designs simple
Extra embellishments on a garment increase the time to manufacture, so be careful with adding ruffles, pleats, and other complex features unless it is absolutely critical to the design of the piece. Make sure whatever is featured in the design counts toward the garment’s appeal.
Where possible, start with simple blocks that aren’t going to take a lot of time in the design development phase. A timeless and versatile piece of clothing that transcends trends will appeal to a wider audience too which means increased sales volumes. This holds true for colours and patterns too. Instead of using complex prints, rely on bright, crisp, single-tone colours that give a garment a clean look.
Zero-waste patterns are also gaining increasing popularity as they are easy to cut and sew and use up all of the fabric leaving no waste behind.
Repeat the same blocks
An industry technique for streamlining production and cutting down costs is the use of pattern blocks. These blocks are basically garment templates, either from your own past designs or purchased from a pattern maker, that you can base a new garment blueprint off of. Instead of starting from scratch each time you introduce a new product, simply start off with a block and add adjustments from there to turn it into finished tech packs. There’s always plenty you can do with trim, length, and fit to change things up.
Using a block will give you a big head start when it comes to getting what you’ve designed into production faster. When you get data about what is selling the best, you can reintroduce those styles without starting from scratch every time. And if the factory is already familiar with the garment block from previous tech packs they’ve used in production, it will be a lot easier to ensure quality and reduce mistakes during production.
Make smart material choices
Your material choice has a huge impact on the overall cost of your garment. Understand the properties you require from a material for the overall look and feel you are going for and then choose readily available materials that fit the bill. Sourcing niche materials will add time and cost to the process and often won’t add significantly to the overall value of the garment.
Readily available materials are popular for a reason, they are very good at being fit for purpose and because they are produced in bulk manufacturers get economies of scale in ordering them. Deadstock fabrics—textiles that are leftovers from previous seasons with no plan for future use—also help reduce costs as they are usually heavily discounted, Deadstock fabrics commonly come from a fashion brand or mill’s collection where it wasn’t required as well as rejected fabrics, unable to be sold due to minor defects or design changes.
Again, when it comes to colours and printing techniques, chose ones that your manufacturer is familiar with. This will save you time in design development and help ensure you get the product you want.
Work with your Factory
Strong manufacturing partnerships are a strategic advantage for businesses. Remember your manufacturers are experts in what they do and are best positioned to give advice when it comes to value-engineering your product. Get tips on what fabrics, trims and deadstock materials they themselves currently have in stock. Collaborating with your manufacturer during design development allows for much better control on cost, helps reduce waste and maximises your profits.
Working directly with a factory to source fabrics is another way to get the best deal from suppliers. If you need to special order fabrics, you should try to get them through the factory instead of ordering them directly from the supplier yourself. Whilst you might think your relationship with a supplier can go a long way, manufacturers buy materials in much larger quantities so will be able to negotiate far better prices than you alone. Additionally, vertically-integrated manufacturers often source close to production reducing carbon footprints and eliminating middlemen margins.