A business that fails to become its own version of Bear Grylls once the crisis hits is at risk of disappearing. And what does Bear Grylls advise us to do in the face of adversity? IMPROVISE, ADAPT, OVERCOME.
Now, let’s see how that translates to the clothing industry. And let’s expand the adversity spectrum to the never-before made products.
Garment manufacturers with fabric knitting facilities will be able to improvise with knitting patterns and yarn combinations to fine-tune the fabric according to their clients’ specifications. This translates to faster lead times and more quality consistency.
Adapting to different types of products translates to higher flexibility. And it’s usually easier for the smaller clothing factories to adapt to changes, which makes them more flexible in terms of switching between products.
When a garment manufacturer focuses the majority of its capacity on custom-made clothing, it will grow a loyal client base. Such clients can be of great help during difficult times and can help their supplier overcome the crisis like the pandemic that we’ve all felt in 2020.
We as clothing manufacturers have been dealt a bad hand in the wake of the pandemic. That’s because the majority of our production revolved around making clothing for marathons. And guess what events were among the first ones axed due to the coronavirus pandemic? That’s right – marathons.
This is Danimir Ljepava, an avid marathon runner. We made custom-made running tees for each time he participated in a big 6 marathon. Because of COVID-19, he is yet to participate in the Tokyo marathon.
So let’s see how the Bear Grylls meme – improvise, adapt, overcome applied in our battle with the COVID-19.
Once the coronavirus canceled all the events we were to make clothes for, our production completely stopped. And it wasn’t likely that it would start any time soon.
But then, the same coronavirus brought business to us after a few weeks. In the first few months of the pandemic, one product that was in-demand worldwide was face masks.
That meant that our entire workforce had to relearn their profession a bit. Initially, it involved a lot of improvisation until we picked up the pace. This was the first time we worked with silver-coated and non-woven fabrics. Also, the first time we made such tiny products in such great numbers. But hey, face masks got us through.
The ascendance of face masks brought about permanent production change for us. Because once the face mask hype started simmering down, a new trend in orders started to emerge – casual wear.
A lot of small orders from startups started popping up every week, one of our major clients increased their demand for various types of casual wear, and we found ourselves in a completely new sportswear-free environment.
One trend we’re liking a lot is a surge in demand for sustainable fabrics and production methods. Hopefully there will be more and more sustainable brands working with sustainable manufacturers.
Being a small group of dedicated professionals (there are currently 150 people working at FUSH), we pulled off this switch relatively easily.
And we’re getting better at it with each passing day.
As we said earlier in the text, having loyal clients can help you weather the storm. It definitely helped us.
Two big clients of ours didn’t cancel their pre-coronavirus orders. And they ordered merch for events that got canceled due to the pandemic. And then those same clients ordered so many face masks from us that we managed to work at nearly 100% capacity.
For both those clients, we worked as a CMT clothing manufacturer, meaning we made clothes according to their specific instructions. Being that dependable makes you a valuable asset, one that a big business wouldn’t be willing to let go.
The New Reality
Circumstances surrounding the pandemic have changed a bit when doing business is concerned. I believe this is not only true for us but for the rest of the clothing industry. Meaning there’s work again.
And that’s great news because the clothing industry is one of the few, if not the only one that’s not heavily affected by the 4th industrial revolution. Which means, it still depends greatly on its (wo)manpower.
We hope your business managed to steer through the rough seas of the pandemic with little to no fiscal losses.
Let us make clothes for your brand or your company. Tell us what kind of clothes you had in mind in the contact form below and we’ll give you the price and lead time estimate ASAP.