How to Manufacture Swimwear

Your dream is to start your own swimwear brand. Maybe you have already sketched out your vintage bathing suit, or maybe you just have some ideas for a cheeky bikini you want to design. Whatever the case, you are not alone in wondering how to start manufacture a swimwear brand, and we are here to help. Here are a few things to get sorted before you even start the manufacturing process:

  • Name – Make sure you have a name for your brand! It is worth it to make sure that no one already owns that name. Make sure the name is memorable and catchy!
  • Logo – You will need a logo for memorable branding for your line. Have fun with it and be creative! 
  • Target Market- Decide on your target market/audience. When designing your marketing materials, clothing, and branding it is important to know who you are creating your swimwear for! This research will affect your target price point and what materials are used.
  • Budget – Make sure your budget is large enough to start a swimwear line. Design work can cost several thousand dollars. Also make sure your budget is appropriate for the number of styles you want to start with. Each color and style demands its own minimum order quantity (MOQ) which will increase costs.

Swimsuit Design

After these steps have been completed, you have to make sure your stellar ideas are well supported with your sketches, CADs, and tech packs. Everyone has a vision, but the difficult part is conveying that vision to your swimsuit manufacturer with proper instructions. A tech pack is basically an instruction manual for the factory for your designs. Just like an instruction manual it can take more time to finish the project if the instructions are unclear. You want to make sure the designers you are working with are experienced in designing for the manufacturing process. 

Where to Manufacture

Once you have your tech pack ready you are ready to start looking for manufacturers. The first step is to decide where you are going to look for manufacturers. This is where your previous target market research comes in handy. If you were planning on selling a luxury bikini line for $100+ per piece, then you have more freedom as to where you can manufacture your product. You can manufacture domestically or internationally and still maintain a solid profit margin. However, if you want to offer a quality product at an accessible price point, let’s say between $30-50 per piece, then you are most likely going to have to look at manufacturing overseas to be able to profit off your order. There are international manufacturers that offer excellent quality at reasonable prices.

Finding a Manufacturer

The easiest ways to find manufacturers are by researching online or working with a sourcing company. If you want to find your own manufacturer here are some tips:

  • Make sure to find and ask for relevant products made by that manufacturer.
  • If possible, research the factory and its history. Try to find information about whether it treats its workers well, the quality of the products, and if they have a solid history of working with American clients. What percentage of their clients are international? 
  • Make sure that you get as much information as possible before working with the manufacturer. Important topics to ask questions about: pricepoint, timeline, minimum order quantity (MOQ), sample cost, and manufacturing terms. 
  • Check to see if the language barrier and time difference is not too much to stop you from communicating with the factory.
  • Get insurance for your order. There are a lot of low quality factories domestically and internationally that can seriously hurt your business and its reputation with your customers.

If you choose to work with a sourcing company it can be very helpful for your first manufacturing order. They will source the factory, the materials, and manage communication for you. If you are inexperienced a good sourcing company will make sure to walk you through the process. The negative is that sourcing companies do mark up their costs or charge a sourcing fee, however this can be less than the markup that some international factories will give inexperienced international entrepreneurs. Also be sure to vet any sourcing company you decide to work with. Make sure they have swimwear industry experience.

The Manufacturing Process

After receiving a manufacturing estimate the first step is to order initial samples. Expect to pay anywhere from 

$75-400 for an initial swimwear sample. That big range depends on what manufacturer you are working and your swimsuit design. The initial sample will usually not be made out of your desired fabric. The initial sample is a way for you to see the quality you can expect from your potential manufacturing partner. The manufacturers will not order materials for your order until a deposit is made. Once you receive a sample and pricing that you approve of the next step is the manufacturing process.

It is important to plan for this process to take several rounds of samples in order to get the perfect process. Typically manufacturers will charge 50% upfront and 50% once the order is completed. Before the products can be shipped, the remaining balance and all shipping costs will need to be paid. Some manufacturers will charge more upfront if you have never manufactured with them before.

This is a simplification of the manufacturing process for swimwear. If you have any questions that are more in depth about how to start manufacture swimwear please email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help you. To learn more about us please visit our site or send us a message on Facebook.