Most startup fashion brands that manufacture within the US pay an expensive premium for the convenience of creating products stateside. Overwhelming material and production costs can stall a new fashion business from the start. Let’s dive in on saving money with international sourcing.

Looking through a global lens will help you address many of these cost concerns. International sourcing is overwhelming at the start. Many brands struggle producing thousands of units overseas if they do not have previous experience. However, by assessing the cost of certain components of your production, you can think strategically about what is causing the most strain on your margins. Rad Sourcing is a company that helps solve these issues and ensures your company does not pay manufacturers more than needed. They can connect you to the right overseas manufacturer to ensure you pay the lowest cost of production, along with the highest quality of products.

Importing materials yourself is one way to considerably decrease your product costs. Let us walk through these steps in detail, so you can decide if international sourcing will be right for your brand.

Are You Ready?

An international sourcing strategy is ideal for companies that have more customer sales data to work with. When the consumer buys your product, they are showcasing what they are looking for in your brand. From this purchase, you have the opportunity to see what different variations that customer prefers. It is also imperative to know how much they are willing to spend. The products you sell are only worth as much as the consumer is willing to pay. You will learn overtime which fabrics to supply more and less of. From this information, you will organize your next assortment.

Knowing Your Customer

Learning how to source your products with the best quality and at the lowest price is challenging. However, with the right tools and resources, your brand has the potential to grow with much lower risk. If your company is just starting out, consider outsourcing internationally in order to establish imminent business growth. After that, identify your highest costs you have within your business and reduce those costs as much as possible. Learning through your customer is essential for understanding what they want and how much they’re willing to pay for it. Saving money with international sourcing will help your business thrive.

Identify Profit Roadblocks

Production and material costs for startup brands can be a dealbreaker. For some companies it is wiser to start small and produce smaller quantities. However, this approach does not produce high quantities of cash flow. There are only so many levers you can adjust to bring down costs to hit your profit goals.

By looking at each component separately, this drives your profit through the roof. Many times it comes down to only one or two components that are driving your costs higher. Identifying and addressing these specific roadblocks can have a dramatic difference on the profitability of your business. The best way to begin lowering production costs would be to import fabric from international manufactures. Because this is the main component of your products, reducing this cost can have the largest impact on increasing profit.

Meet Minimum Order Quantities

When sourcing materials or production overseas, the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is much higher. In our experience, fabric MOQs are around 1,000 yards or more. Smaller components like hook & eyes, brand labels, and hangtags need to be ordered in much higher quantities, usually around 5,000-10,000 units. For many, these amounts can seem overwhelming and out of reach. However, as mentioned before, Rad Sourcing is a perfect example of a company that can help you avoid these outrageous prices and unnecessary costs. Saving money with international sourcing takes the stress out of the manufacturing process.

You may want to consider starting with core materials and fabrics that are essential to your brand:

What fabrics are being sold in your best styles?
What materials could you use for multiple seasons?
How can you take something that is working for you and expand it to hit these higher order quantities?

Another strategy is to consider multiple collections and how you may use a certain material or trim throughout the next year.

It can also be hard to reach color or pattern printing minimums for overseas fabric. One way to work around this is by ordering fabric in white or Prepared For Dye (PFD) finishes and having them dyed/printed in the US. This also allows you the option to produce small quantities of new colors for testing.

Some product components will only save you a couple of cents to source overseas which may not be worth the time, effort or investment with high MOQ’s. However, some can save you a significant amount of money and those are the materials to target first to dramatically increase your margins.

Import Costs and Logistics

There are a multitude of different costs associated with importing fabrics that you need to factor into your pricing. One of the main costs of importing is the duty. Duties are the taxes that you pay to import into the US. This tax amount is determined by your products material, or fiber content of the product you are importing. Generally speaking, importing fabric and materials is cheaper than importing assembled garments. This creates a great opportunity for you to incorporate global sourcing into your business, without a large investment right from the start.

Other Costs

Other costs you will have to consider is shipping and logistics. Along with physically shipping the goods, there are costs like fuel surcharges, bond fees, and docking fees that are associated with these transactions. Although many of these fees are nominal, we suggest working with a full-service global logistics partner who can guide you through the process, provide you a detailed quote and get the product delivered to your door as soon as possible.

Plan enough time into your production schedule to ship the goods from overseas. Shipping by sea is the most cost-effective method and takes approximately 4-6 weeks to get from port to port. You can always ship by air but this is very expensive and eats into the profit you are gaining by sourcing overseas.

Controlling costs equals a more successful business, ergo more money in your pocket. Knowing that you have options to bring those costs down, will put the world is at your fingertips. Consider giving yourself a better advantage when it comes to the production process. Taking advantage of overseas manufacturing opens up a wide variety of opportunities for success. Partnering with a company like Rad Sourcing gives you the competitive advantage that you need to reach that next level of the manufacturing process. Rad Sourcing provides companies with specialized solutions for their manufacturing, operations, and marketing needs. This includes; product development, cost reduction, crowd funding, quality control, logistics, high-volume manufacturing, and product design. They will transform manufacturing and operations into competitive advantages for your business.


It’s time for your business to level up. Partnering with a company that will give you this advantage over your competitors, would be the fastest track to your businesses success.

Thank you for reading about saving money with international sourcing. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us anytime.