The fact that good or bad sourcing can make or break a company can make sourcing daunting and exhausting to do on our own. Without the right knowledge, understanding, and experience of dealing with suppliers and factories, Sourcing can easily go wrong. Every year we encounter so many brands who had the unfortunate fate of trusting the wrong supplier, factory, or sourcing company.
Working with the right supplier who understands your needs and the goals of your brands makes the process a million times easier. But finding the right supplier isn’t the easiest since the market is saturated with millions of factories and suppliers. Having someone reputable, knowledgeable, and experienced by your side when making the choice can help by providing you with the right guidance and can also read and understand how a supplier is.
Especially for brands who want to have an ethical and sustainable approach, it is so easy to scam brands into believing what the factory wants them to believe. With sustainability in fashion industry becoming an extremely talked-about and sensitive topic, Most companies, Brands, and consumers are not willing to compromise on any aspect and expect no ethical and moral margins of error. Many sourcing companies claim to be sustainable and market themselves as ethical fashion frontrunners, but it is important to understand that sustainability isn’t just a marketing strategy or a trending keyword on Instagram, it is a way of life. It needs to be incorporated at every step of the supply chain and not just during promotions. There are so many misleading definitions of what sustainable sourcing means. Let us clarify the basics before moving on to more specific things.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE SOURCING?
Sustainable practices are working principles and processes that do not disrupt the people we live amongst, the economy we contribute towards, and the planet we live in and continue that way for a good period of time. Sustainability in the fashion industry is the process of including social, ethical and environmental performance into the process of selecting suppliers. For example, many people question the moral aspect of using leather, but in terms of lifetime wear, if maintained well leather products can last for a long time, which means one product can last up to 10-15 years, and hence the need to produce new products is less, which in turn means at the end of its lifecycle, fewer products will fill up the landfills. So in one aspect, Leather can be a sustainably viable option. On the other hand, certain eco-friendly fashion bio-materials that are still in the stages of development, have great environmental benefits, and reduce the usage of toxins, etc, but have very less durability and resilience, which means the need to buy a new product will be frequent, which means more labor and energy consumption and finally more landfill pollution. The choice of choosing which elements of sustainability in fashion to focus on is up to the brands/consumers. As developing countries experience growth in their supply chains, there is also a greater risk attached to this. Because of the increase in supply, companies will continue to aim for lower costs and greater production, which will lead to serious future problems:
- Supply disruption
- Cost volatility
- Threat to brand reputation
- Challenges with local laws and regulations
As a result, companies have started taking responsibility for their supplier’s environmental, social and ethical fashion practices. Companies are also considering incorporating sustainable fashion sourcing into their management process to effectively manage risks while still being open to opportunities that will come their way. The main goal of sustainable fashion sourcing is to build a stable relationship with suppliers and to ensure sustainability and fashion go hand in hand. Now that you have a clear understanding of what sustainable sourcing is, your next question would be, What is a Sustainable fashion sourcing company? And why should we hire them?
WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A SUSTAINABLE SOURCING COMPANY?
The answer is simple, Working with a sustainable sourcing company saves you money and time. Why? Because it focuses on every aspect of your business, you will have a great return on investment. A good sustainable sourcing company practices local business etiquette maximizes profit while reducing costs, and ensures brand loyalty.
Sustainable sourcing Companies ensure that they approach all projects, processes, and methods ethically and sustainably. They have your best interest in mind and make sure that no one can take advantage of you. They respect your choices, decisions, and opinions and give you genuine insights and guidance backed by years of professional industry experience. However, not all sustainable sourcing companies are real. Most of the time it is all just shallow promises with no proven track records. To understand how to stay away from fake sustainable sourcing companies, you need to realize what are the 5 critical factors that make up a good sustainable sourcing company.
The first thing you should look for is that your sourcing company should have a vast array of knowledge about the Fashion manufacturing industry. They should have solid knowledge and crystal clear who their focus, markets – and customer base are. Sustainable sourcing firms should also have a good idea of your product line, manufacturing, and quality standards. Having apt knowledge about your products as well as the process ensures that the sourcing company can help you make a well-informed decision. It also means they will be able to tell a good factory from a fake sustainable factory by simply analyzing the factors on which their observations are based. We at Deepwear are accompanied by more than 25 years of industry experience, and with a diverse international team, we have people from all disciplines of the fashion Industry. Every member of our team is deeply passionate about making this whole supply chain more sustainable and that is reflected in our work too. As a global progressive fashion agency, for instance, We have established a name as one of the reliable sources in the fashion industry. Fashion brands that are sustainable choose Deepwear because of our years of experience and familiarity with the latest trends in the world of fashion as well as our commitment towards the cause.
2. TRUST AND CREDIBILITY
One thing that you should not miss out on is having an in-depth background check on the sourcing company that you choose. You can conduct a simple research about their previous clients, relationships with suppliers as well as their employees. You can also check the following:
- Years of experience in the fashion industry
- Real reviews from several clients
- Certifications and Standards
- Organizational Structure
- Quality Assurance
Don’t be fooled by certifications and standards, at Deepwear our Ethical and sustainable audit goes much beyond Certificates and standards, we personally verify everything with our eyes, and that’s the only real existing certificate you can have and that’s the one we believe in. We believe in facts and what we see with our own eyes. There is a reason Deepwear has grown from one single office to 15 offices around the world. We check all the boxes that are mentioned above. To know more about Deepwear’s credibility and to discuss your production plans, contact us.
3. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
“Transparency” plays a major role in sustainable fashion sourcing. Transparency ensures that no one is kept in the dark or taken advantage of. When choosing a credible sourcing company, Check if you can access the factories through the sourcing company. Check if you have the access to visit or directly contact the suppliers if required, this will ensure that there is transparency and that the sourcing company is not a ‘middleman’. A real sustainable sourcing company supports a sustainable fashion revolution in restoring the environment and giving more value to people over growth and profit. An ethical fashion company like Deepwear supports this system. Deepwear strongly believes that certifications are not enough and we personally audit all of our factories to make sure that they execute proper environmental and ethical fashion practices. We are a strong believer in transparency between the Client, us, and the factory.
4. TRADE LOCATION
The Location of the sourcing company directly influences a supplier’s relationships with a brand and lead time. If it’s a global sourcing company, you can consider asking these questions first:
- How do they communicate across foreign suppliers?
- How are they going to deal with international suppliers and work closely with them?
- Do they have connections with international suppliers?
- Do they have international offices and staff placed globally to handle these suppliers and work closely with them?
- How often would they visit the site for quality and control inspections
It is as simple as this: How can they be a real sustainable sourcing company if they are not even present in the country of production? How can you have real control and understanding over manufacturing without having a full-time team? You cannot supervise/control with just ‘contacts’, ‘agents’, or ‘freelancers’. As a real sustainable sourcing company, Deepwear has an exclusive full-time International team stationed inside 15 countries worldwide, which includes major production countries like China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Bulgaria, UK, USA, Australia, and France. And this has assisted us to provide an International standard of quality to our clients but also helped us talk in the local languages to our factories. We are able to access local prices and benefits for International brands providing great service equally. To find out more about our offices and to book a live/virtual appointment, click here.
5. QUALITY CONTROL
Make sure that your sourcing company is hands-on in every step of the quality process. Areas that require quality assurance:
- Market research
- Vetting and selecting of suppliers
- Creating a purchase order
- Expediting and auditing the delivery order
- Receiving invoice and goods receipt
- Making a payment
Deepwear’s quality inspection starts the moment we enter the factory for our first audit and only finishes when the products are made and delivered to you. We do quality checks at every stage of the production process. Deepwear also has a physical presence on all sites of production and is active in ensuring every manufacturing process is in control.
Having a reliable and credible sustainable fashion sourcing company is possible, only if you know how to avoid the fake ones. The points above represent some important key factors that must not be ignored while choosing your sustainable sourcing company. It is advisable to have a thorough research about the company’s overall background so that there is an opportunity for a profitable business and to avoid being scammed or being taken advantage of. As a sustainable fashion sourcing company, Deepwear can assist you to source the best, sustainable and ethical fashion factories for your projects. To know more about our Fashion Sourcing services or other services, get in touch with us.