Fashion and Textile Product Development
According to UKFT, the UK fashion and textile market is worth around £20bn. Fabric-based products create rewarding businesses but often cost less to develop compared to other consumer and electronics products.
Read on to find out how to develop your fabric product idea.
How to develop a fabric product
Step 1. Make a Fabric Prototype
What is a fabric prototype?
Fabric prototypes are an early release version of a product that can help you verify your design with potential customers before committing to expensive production orders. Innovate can help you consider materials, construction, components and existing products. For complex items like hiking bags, it might be cost-effective to make a concept prototype out of calico first to verify the overall size and construction before adding details like zips and pockets.
Verify your design for manufacture
It is a good idea to produce fabric prototypes on industrial-grade machines to help verify the construction and stitching will be durable enough. If your product includes custom components such as clasps or handles, work with a fabric design company that has in-house product designers (like Innovate!) to develop these components for the prototype. The image above shows Sophie making a prototype in our Sailsbury Design Studio.
Step 2. Develop your fabric product for production
Fabric Tech Pack
This is a collection of technical files such as cutting guides that factories can use to quote for and manufacture your product. For non-fabric products, a tech pack is often referred to as an RFQ Pack (Request for quotation pack).
A cost model helps you understand the full cost of your fabric product including unit cost, shipping, your margin, retailer margin and taxes. Innovate Design can request quotations for you and create your cost model in an editable spreadsheet format so you can keep it up to date as costs change.
Good packaging design considers how the product will be sold. If you plan to sell in shops, Innovate Design can create packaging that grabs attention, communicates what the product is and considers how it will be displayed. If you will sell online, we can help you reduce packaging size to lower shipping costs and minimise environmental impact. Image above shows packaging we designed for Smart Screen.
Consumers increasingly want to purchase fashion and textile products that are sustainably manufactured to help look after the planet. Innovate Design can help you understand your options for sustainable fabric products including:
- Recycled cotton and polyester fabrics
- Organic bamboo, linen and hemp-based fabrics
- Vegan-friendly mushroom leather and pineapple leather
- Low carbon footprint local manufacturing
Ethical garment manufacturing
Ethical clothing manufacturing companies look after the safety and wellbeing of their workforce. They pay them fairly too. Ethical textile production costs more but with the right marketing consumers are happy to pay it. Innovate can help you find an ethical fabric manufacturer that benefits their local community and helps you make more sales
Step 3. Place production orders with factories
Innovate Design’s global network of carefully selected factories and suppliers manufacture products that exceed cost, quality and time expectations. We can place orders for you too, just let us know where you would like products delivered and we’ll have them shipped straight to you.
Certain products require CE Marking to be sold in the EU and the new UKCA mark to be sold in the UK. Innovate Design can help you find out whether you need product testing and how to do it.
Step 4. Set up your sales channels
Sales channels are the ways your customers can buy your products and there are many available. Early on, we recommend exploring sales channels with high customer contact since you can learn more about your target customers wants and needs. Early sales channels to consider include:
- Trade shows such as the Ideal Home Show
- Product Parties similar to Ann Summer’s or Tupperware parties
Building your own Webshop is a great way to start selling your fabric products. With your own webshop, you can make a bigger margin on products you sell and create a marketing campaign to drive people to your site. Image above from our client Farino’s website.
Technically this one should come earlier in the list because with a crowdfunding campaign on platforms such as Kickstarter you can raise money before even paying for production orders! Innovate Design can help you make a crowdfunding campaign with just a prototype and some cost estimates. You can use the video and images created for your website and marketing as well.
Step 5. Marketing
Time to get your idea in front of your customers. We recommend using targeted advertising on Google, Facebook and Instagram to reach potential customers and drive sales. The better you understand who your target customer is the more targeted you can make your marketing which can reduce your cost of advertising.
Affordable Fabric Product Development
For over 20 years, Innovate Design has developed a wide variety of fabric and textile-based products. We have an in house team of fabric designers and a dedicated fabric workshop at our Salisbury Design Studio as well as a global network of specialist factories. Our experienced in house team of fabric designers are fast and cost-effective.
- Industrial straight stitch sewing machine
- Industrial overlocker sewing machine
- Industrial cover stitch sewing machine
- CNC laser cutter
- SLA and FDM 3d printers
“My experience with Innovate
has been exceptional”
Dustin Toland, Gigwam
“It was a pleasure working with Innovate”
Janine Galliano, Brelli Bag
“Innovate is very professional,
extremely quick and their costs
are more than reasonable”
Declan McDonnell, Xpanda Bra