Know your own product and you will cut your costs.

I always encourage my clients to know as much about their product as they can. Not only does it project a degree of professionalism when you know in depth about your own product but the more you know about your product the less likely it is that the vendor can manipulate you on costs.

There is another reason why knowing how your product is made is important: It can actually help you reduce costs. A case in point is a current apparel project of mine. My client needs a low manufacturing cost so she can get her product in the Big Box retailers and she has asked me to find a vendor who can reach her target cost. My first thought was that we should look at the design to see if there is anything we can do to cut costs. Because the product uses a heat transfer print in one of the designs the first thing I thought of was screen printing the design instead of using a heat transfer. In China there are various techniques for printing designs on apparel including heat transfer, laser printing for some embroidery patterns, screen printing etc etc. My customer was not really familiar with these when I ran the suggestion by her. When I asked some vendors about this they told me that yes, screen printing can be cheaper than heat transfer but only if there are 2-3 colors in the design. My client’s product has about 5-6 colors so one option I gave my client was to reduce the colors in her design, maybe down to 2 or 3.

Moreover cost on a heat transfer print is not determined by how many colors but by the size of the print. Designs are printed on one large piece of special printing paper and then transferred to the apparel. One pays according to the sheet size meaning that the more designs you can fit on one sheet the cheaper your final cost will be. If one sheet costs $ 0.20 and your image is so big that you can only get 4 images on one sheet then you end up paying $ 0.05 per image. If however you reduce the size of the image so that you can fit 8 images onto one sheet then you end up paying only $ 0.025 per image. Over 1000 pcs you are saving $ 250.00. Over 8000 pcs your are saving $ 2000.00. So you can see that there are ways to reduce your costs by playing with your design.

In short, if you go to your vendor with this knowledge already in hand it is very likely they will work with you on suggestions to decrease your costs. At the very least they will respect you. And that in itself is very important when you do business in China.

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