A lot of people go into the manufacturing process without knowing the two types there are - FF & CMT. Distinguishing the two can help you decide what's best for you financially and at the scale that you're at.
So, what is the difference?
Fully Factored Manufacturing (FF)
This manufacturer offers an integrated system. They will handle everything for you. They will assist you in not only designing and pattern making but also source your fabrics, trims and make the samples for you. They grade your patterns and will handle production too.
This is great because as a designer it will save you so much time and allow you to focus on other important areas of your brand such as marketing and finance. All the production is handled by the manufacturer so if any issues arise, they take care of it leaving you without much worry. Everything is under one roof, meaning it will be easy for you to look over things. You rely on the expertise of an experienced team but it does mean that you must trust and build a good relationship with them.
The cost of FF manufacturing can be quite a lot as they do offer an all-inclusive service, you will need to take this into consideration when making a decision. You have to be organised when working with them because they will be stricter due to production schedules with other brands/designers they will also be working with. You must also look at your budget as they require large minimum order quantities which as a start-up may not be feasible yet.
Cut, Make and Trim Manufacturing (CMT)
The other option available is Cut, Make and Trim Manufacturing (CMT) which offers you a lot more flexibility as an emerging designer/brand. This manufacturer, will cut the fabric you send them, make the garments how you have specified and use the trims that you send to them. This gives you a lot more control over the outcome as you ultimately will have a say as they follow your instructions.
They are more affordable and accommodating especially for small brands so your costs won’t be as high. They will be more patient and take time with you to ensure the best outcome as you will be working together so keeping in constant contact will be necessary. The minimum order quantity is a lot smaller so it's easy for you to opt to make 50 to 100 pieces as opposed to FF manufacturing where you are looking at hundreds or thousands per design.
You do need to consider how you want your brand to scale. Whilst CMT is great in the beginning, with the success of your brand they may not be able to handle the size of your future orders - their teams tend to be quite small too. This isn't something to worry about now, just needs to be considered.
Whatever type of manufacturing you opt for, it is important to do your research and make sure that you choose one that is cost-effective and that you can create a great rapport with.