So you went from being a brand to now owning a factory, tell us about that transition.
My introduction into the fashion industry was through LEOPARDËT, the clothing brand that I started from scratch. We made a Kickstarter campaign where we showed how we made our clothes in Los Angeles and that brought awareness to other brands. They started reaching out about production and I decided to give it a go since I knew the ins and outs of making clothes. I started in a small 200 sq/ft room with two sewing operators, and now 2 years later we have a 3,500 sq/ft facility, a team of 14 people, and a clientele of over 100 brands. One of our biggest mission statements with LEOPARDËT was to bring fashion back to America, and we did it by starting the production company ARI JOGIEL.
Having been on both sides, what tips could you give our brands so that they can successfully find their factories and ensure smoother production?
You should know the factory’s capabilities and areas of expertise. Have they worked on projects similar to yours? What kind of minimums do they have? Are they able to do both development and manufacturing? All factories are capable of making clothing, but I believe it’s more important to find someone you can trust and will deliver. The development and manufacturing processes require close communication between the brand and the factory. The key to a successful production includes having a factory that will guide the brand through the process, be straightforward and always stay on top of things.
Are there any questions that brands need to be asking their factories before or during production?
Every company works differently so I believe it’s important to learn how the company operates and what their process is like. We schedule an initial meeting with all of our new brands before going over the process. We discuss their brand and make sure that our visions align to determine whether we are a good fit for each other. For example, we have a minimum of $500 for all the brands we work with and all of our services are a la carte. You should also ask about the factory’s timelines. For example, we usually turn around patterns and samples within a week, sometimes within a couple of days! For manufacturing, cut and sew usually takes 3-5 weeks depending on the style and whether the fabric is available. Also, we don’t really use tech packs unless its swimwear or a more complex garment. Our patterns are very detailed and are usually enough for most styles.
Is there anything a brand should definitely have before finding/ approaching their factory?
I tell all my brands that the more determined and concrete their vision is, the smoother the process will be and the better results their brand will have. Some things that you must know before getting started are your brand name, mission, and target market. You should also have inspirational photos and samples of what you want to accomplish. Here at ARI JOGIEL, we prefer to start from scratch rather than using a pre-made tech pack. Since our pattern and sample makers work in cohesion, it makes the process a lot smoother when we start from scratch and carry out the project to finish.
Can you tell us a little bit about the pricing system of production and the different budgets that brands should have for each step of the process?
Every brand is different since the process is fully customized, but we recommend a budget of at least $5,000 to get a brand off the ground. All of our services are on a pay as you go basis and the customer pays 50% before production and 50% after. The typical project goes through these steps (in order): design meeting, sourcing, pattern making, sample making, fittings, grading and marking, cut and sew, and finishing.
What are some things you know now as a factory that you wished you had known or done as a brand?
Manufacturing is not as easy as it looks and most brands’ perception of it is very far off from reality. Like anything in life, there is a learning curve for anything that you do for the first time. So you have to keep that in mind when starting a garment from scratch. Some full-package companies might have some type of problem that comes up with development and manufacturing, but what separates the best from the rest is how they solve those problems and move forward.