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I can manufacture jeans/denim clothes better and cheaper than most. How can I sell LOADS?

gallagher99

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Hey guys. Long story short.

I'm brazilian, my jeans clothing store is in Rio de Janeiro. I have 27 years old. The company was from my family and I'm assuming the company after 7 years of hard working (helping) with them.

My family had 40 years of INDUSTRY and Commerce of denim/jeans, where they manufactured for big companies here (b2b) and for there own store (local b2c) it was A HUGE success, I mean REALLY HUGE there was buses outside the door, we opened sometimes at 3am because there was a bus full of people from 12+ hour distance outside wanting to buy. But sadly after years they broke and they are bankrupted (long story) and the brand is damaged, but still alive and people from the city recognize, because it was a really really big hit here.

I decided to move on by continuing the brand since it was a huge success, but sadly I'm REALLY small right now. Lost like 75% of the physical/space size (of the store) and probably 90% of the revenue.

40 years of creating and manufacturing jeans is a long time. I'm learning a lot with my father again. But so far I don't have any BIG sales not counting the store sales (where I sell like 1 or 2 pieces of clothes for a person and the revenue yet is not really big so far).




So, in resume: I'm continuing the brand from my family. I have the jeans store/shop (revenue is not yet the amount of money I want). But I also have the industry (it is in the back of the store) where I have my father's 40 years old jeans manufacturing know-how. In the meantime i'm giving shots to e-commerce and internet sales (not even 5% of the sales I wish)

I want to sell products to a big company, by creating WHATEVER piece of denim/jeans clothing that they want. I can have a really good price. And I have the know-how and the machines.

So, how can I sell better ? How can I sell to another countries? How to get a big sale?
 

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I know jeans are expensive in Western Europe. Maybe someone there can chip in with an answer on why is it? It might be a tariff thing which is hard to work around. This could be a good opportunity for expansion.
All I know is when I was in college my friends from Norway and Germany would buy tons of jeans in the US and bring them back home for family and friends since they were half the cost they would be if they bought them back home. I've heard the same thing with my friend who has cousins in Italy-- they buy tons of clothes when they are hear to bring back home.
 

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I want to sell products to a big company, by creating WHATEVER piece of denim/jeans clothing that they want. I can have a really good price. And I have the know-how and the machines.
Based on this statement, I'm assuming you are interested in producing jeans for a company like Levi's or Gap? And you're not interested in producing and marketing your own brand of jeans?

Have you tried contacting any jeans companies?
 

Joshua Wagoner

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You could try Shopify, or Amazon FBA. Shopify you would handle the shipping costs (charge your own rate,) and send the packages yourself. For Amazon FBA you would send your products to their center, and they would handle the shipping part for you.
 

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There are different markets for various jean types (I'm sure you know much more about this).

The raw denim market has really grown over the years and for those that purchase $200 raw denim, it's more than just the jean. It's something that grows, ages, and changes with wear and tear. They tell a story - This is the story you can sell.

Sell the image. Sell the story. Build the brand from the perspective of the customers you are targeting. Perhaps consider re-branding and catering towards a specific market with high value + customer service?
 

NanoDrake

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if you want to manufacture for the big guys, GOOD LUCK! their sorting departments will crush you with prices and you will regret this.
My suggestion? learn how to create a brand and kill everyone with the know how.
you have the first step (the manufacturing) so you have from your side the price advantage, that most of brands don't have.
Identify the designs, colours, materials your target customer wants and do it.
find influencers that fits your criteria, give them a shitload of free stuff and start to get your name out
 
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gallagher99

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Feb 18, 2015
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I know jeans are expensive in Western Europe. Maybe someone there can chip in with an answer on why is it? It might be a tariff thing which is hard to work around. This could be a good opportunity for expansion.
All I know is when I was in college my friends from Norway and Germany would buy tons of jeans in the US and bring them back home for family and friends since they were half the cost they would be if they bought them back home. I've heard the same thing with my friend who has cousins in Italy-- they buy tons of clothes when they are hear to bring back home.
I can manufacture a cheap, but with good/decent quality denim for R$25,00 maybe, since it is in REAL (brazilian money), it would be like $7.15 dollars + the transport to another country + the taxes for importation (my taxes are included). I might be able to get to $6 maybe.

Anyway, in the same time I can produce a really nice good looking denim for R$40,00 tops. Which would be like $11.42 dollar.
 
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gallagher99

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Have you considered using etsy?
Since I'm in Brazil, i didn't search for etsy yet. I'm using the alternatives in Brazil. But so far I didn't make good sales, just small sales everyday. I'll be studying the alternatives today.
 
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gallagher99

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if you want to manufacture for the big guys, GOOD LUCK! their sorting departments will crush you with prices and you will regret this.
My suggestion? learn how to create a brand and kill everyone with the know how.
you have the first step (the manufacturing) so you have from your side the price advantage, that most of brands don't have.
Identify the designs, colours, materials your target customer wants and do it.
find influencers that fits your criteria, give them a shitload of free stuff and start to get your name out
My family used to sell to the big guys in Brazil. But since its long gone and I'm still restructuring, I don't really want the big guys RIGHT NOW, i'm learning, getting better, increasing size and maybe in a few months (years?) I can get to the big guys that buys really really really large amounts.

Right now I would prefer selling to mid size companies, and getting more than one, like 3 or 4 differente companies. So I can produce for my own and also their companies. And have plan A, B and C in case a company stop buying from me.




Based on this statement, I'm assuming you are interested in producing jeans for a company like Levi's or Gap? And you're not interested in producing and marketing your own brand of jeans?

Have you tried contacting any jeans companies?
I would like both.

Right now I have the following:
Restructuring the industry --> producing for my own company so far. I don't sell yet to anyone else.
Restructuring the local store.--> I don't sell yet what I would consider the expected.
Still really really really tiny in the e-commerce sales (my own website and ebay alternatives in Brazil)

I want to create a GOOD name for my brand, good price and good quality. And in the same time produce for other companies.
So it is a store AND a industry.

It is just that Levi's and Gap are too big right now, I would prefer smallers right now.



You could try Shopify, or Amazon FBA. Shopify you would handle the shipping costs (charge your own rate,) and send the packages yourself. For Amazon FBA you would send your products to their center, and they would handle the shipping part for you.
I already have the e-commerce, but I don't have good sales yet.
And sadly Amazon in Brazil we can't sell fashion/clothes yet.
We have alternatives to eBay, which I sell more than my e-commerce.
 
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gallagher99

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There are different markets for various jean types (I'm sure you know much more about this).

The raw denim market has really grown over the years and for those that purchase $200 raw denim, it's more than just the jean. It's something that grows, ages, and changes with wear and tear. They tell a story - This is the story you can sell.

Sell the image. Sell the story. Build the brand from the perspective of the customers you are targeting. Perhaps consider re-branding and catering towards a specific market with high value + customer service?
This is gonna be really hard for me to explain. But it is exactly what I would like to do. Sorry for the TLDR.


But.
In the past my family used to manufacture for the big guys. And every industry/production has something like 2~4% of waste. So if C&A buys for example 10.000 of denim, we have to produce something like 10.400 in case there are waste, errors, etc.
The other 400, in case there are not error/waste/mistakes in the production would go to my family store.


So in resume; We could sell really really good quality denim with LOWER price and the SAME quality with the big guys (because IT IS the C&A clothing, but we would change the tags, etc just for copyright). And no one else in the country could follow us, because it is a huge structure to have and it is really hard to sell to big guys. But they broke and we can't reproduce that anymore.


So again. The store is in Brazil, which is in a financial/economy crisis right now, we used to sell to the average guys (not rich, but medium class to poor), and those people are really in bad shape right now. And in the same time the store is in a small city (in the past it wouldn't matter, people would trave hours just to buy), but since we lost that... we sell now just to some people in the city. And to get worse, the store is like 2 blocks/street away from the central commerce. I mean, it is central, but it is not the street that sell really well. People have to walk 3 min to get to my store. (i'm still in the same place because the store in itself [the place] is worth a LOT of money and I don't have to pay for it (not paying rent), since it is family property, and it has the perfect size right now for my industry) and the company STILL HAVE A NAME IN THE CITY BECAUSE IT IS A 40 YEARS OLD COMPANY and people still buy there (not what I expected, but I can get better)

Selling cheap clothes IS FINE when we have big numbers. But we lost the big number, and we are still selling cheap. It IS a problem right now for me. That's why I want to increase the numbers (e-commerce, ebay, producing to others and selling in the local store) , and introduce some (maybe 10% of my production) and sell higher price.

I still have sales, but I CAN'T raise price because of what I wrote above.
 

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jlwilliams

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Have you thought of celebrity endorsement? A well known face may be more affordable than one might think.

People often assume that celebrities are earning big money and won't work for reasonable fees. That's often not true. The vast majority of actors and musicians don't make enough from their performing careers to live. Most do side work. Even the dreaded "day job." Point being, you can probably find a recognized local celebrity who will be happy to appear on your billboards and ads for reasonable money. Is there a Brazilian tv show with a character who personifies your desired brand image? A Brazilian singer who would catch the eye of your target demographic? Well they may jump at the opportunity to have their smiling face on camera, being seen promoting local industry and associated with Brazilian pride and Brazilian fashion.

It's powerful promotion for you and for them, and they need the money. If you ask a few, you will find one you can afford.
 

jlwilliams

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A quick follow up. Where are there large Brazilian expat communities? Is there a city or region with a thriving Brazilian community? I remember Providence RI and the surrounding area having a HUGE Portuguese speaking community when I lived there. Portuguese, Cape Verdian and Brazilian neighborhoods were scattered all over the area. If you find places like that, you may find a store owner who already knows your product. Someone like that, with a customer base that may also remember your name from their youth... those people are accounts you have, but haven't opened yet.

I'd start by lurking on Portuguese language web forums and communities. Also English language groups catering to Brazilians living abroad. Capitalise on your old, locally recognized reputation by reaching people world wide who share some common ground.
 

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Are you just producing denim or are you making clothes?

When you say good/decent quality, that doesnt really invoke a great product.

If you make "clothing", maybe start a fresh new brand of Jean jackets... They are coming back in style, if not already back.
 

TKDTyler

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In the past my family used to manufacture for the big guys. And every industry/production has something like 2~4% of waste. So if C&A buys for example 10.000 of denim, we have to produce something like 10.400 in case there are waste, errors, etc.
The other 400, in case there are not error/waste/mistakes in the production would go to my family store.
We could sell really really good quality denim with LOWER price and the SAME quality with the big guys

THIS!

This is a story. This is something people can relate to. This is something people can support.

Create the story around the history of your family in the business. Set your frame as moving away from big business for intimacy withing your customer base. Stories sell. Create that story with your family's long history.

Not sure if it's known in Brazil, but there is a company that has been pretty successful in the US - The Unbranded Brand.

Check it out if you have the time
The Unbranded Brand

I think you could have a similar concept of providing high quality without the brand name pricing. Their niche is the selvedge market which has blown up over the past years.
 
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gallagher99

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Are you just producing denim or are you making clothes?

When you say good/decent quality, that doesnt really invoke a great product.

If you make "clothing", maybe start a fresh new brand of Jean jackets... They are coming back in style, if not already back.
Sorry, sometimes it is hard for me to explain in english.
I'm producing the jeans pants (?), the clothing.

I said good/decent quality because sometimes, actually MOST of the time, people think that a good pair of jeans have to be expansive, but that is not true. I can produce the exact same pair of jeans for even 1/3 of the price. But because of the family history I can't sell for a high price, so people think that my jeans is "not so good" because of the price but that is not true.

The problem with jacket is that it takes twice, or even 3 times the time to produce a pant, and in Brazil we are having like 77 fahrenheit on winter lol.
 

arisfinnerty

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Hello Gallagher,

I own an italian brand and work in the luxury fashion field.

I'm looking for a product to sell and your story is really interesting.
The story of my family business is really close to your.

I would love to talk with you regarding a possibile business together.
You can send me a pm and we could get in touch.
Have a nice day.
 
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masterneme

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My suggestion is that you do some analysis on your business:

First an 80/20 analysis to find out if there is a clear target demographic you could put your focus on. In other words, know the exact numbers of who is buying what.

And after that a SWOT analysis to have a big picture of your place in the marketplace.

If you need more details, Google is your friend.

This is something that you can do to have a better sense of direction and it doesn't take long, hope it helps, good luck!
 

jon.M

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There's a lot of ecommerce stores and dropshippers right now, especially in the fashion niche. What about approaching some small to medium internet stores and asking them if they want their own, custom made line of jeans? With their own embroided logos/whatever (I don't know much about clothing) to help them create a stronger brand that gives a more "craftmanslike", high-quality feel?

Because they wouldn't be moving crappy clothes from a China factory. They'd get their jeans crafted by a Brazilian family where making jeans run in the blood.

You could manufacture jeans for several clothing brands – without having to do any B2C marketing, web design, social media etc. at all.

Could be a way to sell shovels instead of digging for gold.

  • Search for small-medium clothing stores on Instagram, Google, ecom groups etc.
  • Build a list of email adresses to these stores.
  • Learn how to cold email - you'll find a lot on this forum - and reach out to as many stores as possible.
  • See if there's any interest
Maybe you don't need to sell to a few huge companies, but to several smaller ones. Could also be less risky as your business wouldn't depend on only one single stream of income.
 
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Maite

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Hi,

For B2B:

1) Attend industry-specific trade shows
Apparently, they're not cheap to attend in terms of renting a booth etc. but it could get you out there and give you the opportunity to not only raise awareness to your manufacturing business but also to make a personal connection with tons of potential customers.
I can only talk from an European experience, but Première Vision, for example, is one of the biggest fashion trade shows held twice a year in Paris. It literally attracts suppliers/manufacturers and buyers from all over the world. The next one is in September 2018 -> check out here. I'm not saying that you have to come all the way to Europe but trying to find relevant trade shows to attend is definitely a way to put yourself on the map.

2) Connect with small designers
Unless you have connections, for designers that are just starting out it can be extremely hard and difficult to find good manufacturers in the fashion industry. Why? Good manufacturers are like the holy grail and the brands biggest secrets. Hence, as a way to make it easier for these people to find you, I suggest you set up some Google ads. Think o how these people would search for a jeans manufacturer and compose your add according to these keywords. I could imagine that popular searches go along the lines of:
"best jeans manufacturers"
"where to produce jeans"
"best places to produce jeans"
etc.

3) Connect with small- to medium-sized fashion companies
Do a massive deep-dive and why not research 100 SMB fashion companies (find them on Instagram, through Google or large online retailers).
- Put them on a list.
- Setup a cold email (if in doubt, Google is your friend)
- Go to Linkedin and find each company's buyer(s).
- Email the buyers of your entire list.

4) Find online platforms that connect buyers/designers with manufacturers
There exist online platforms like Maker's Row or Utelier whose purpose is to connect designers with manufacturers. Find them and get your business listed there.

In line with the last 3 points, I can't stress this highly enough:
Make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find and discover you, to know that your manufacturing business exists!
I experience this all the time, there are customers desperate to find a manufacturer, yet the majority of manufacturers have a pretty bad online presence / discoverability on the web. Don't be one of them.

To help with this:

- Setup a modern, professional website (if you haven't done so already) that evoques trust, shows the type of products you make and talks about your manufacturing history. If you're allowed to use well-known customers as references even better!

- Get your business on Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook
Yes, people search for manufacturers absolutely everywhere - using all means there are. Post pictures of the products that you make and hashtag them accordingly so people can find you (e.g. #jeansmanufacturer, etc.).

For B2C:

I like the previously mentioned idea of offering customization - it's such a massive business. I'd offer this service through your own brand. This, next to your cost advantage, are your strong points as a manufacturer. That's because offering customized jeans (embroidered with name, initials or whatever) is from a logistics standpoint often too complex for brands too carry out. Yet you sit at the source and it's a great way to milk this cow.:)

Lastly, if I may say so as a well experienced shopping queen :p, being on trend and fit is everything when it comes to jeans! I recommend that you regularly check what's on trend. For example, keep an eye on what influencers are wearing on Insta, what sells in the shops, go to Asos.com, H&M, Zara and the like and check out their collections, sort by bestsellers etc.

I hope this could help a bit and am wishing you all the best!
 

ApparentHorizon

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I know someone who can get you a prepped line to a decision maker in a Levis, or similar, in the US, if your story checks out. Would you be able to take it from there? The introduction is not gonna be cheap though.
 

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gallagher99

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I know someone who can get you a prepped line to a decision maker in a Levis, or similar, in the US, if your story checks out. Would you be able to take it from there? The introduction is not gonna be cheap though.
My story checks out, don't worry.
Can you explain "the introduction is not gonna be cheap"? Would a very nice brazilian pair of jeans pay that? :innocent: :halo:
 

Dmorr

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I have an association with a small retailer in the U.S. They specialize in high end shirts and blouses marketing the the western or "cowboy" market. A good well made jean brand would be a good fit for them. It would be a good foundation to build from in this country. If interested PM me.
 

ApparentHorizon

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My story checks out, don't worry.
Can you explain "the introduction is not gonna be cheap"? Would a very nice brazilian pair of jeans pay that? :innocent: :halo:
One of my clients is part of a club that has access to these higher ups. She sells to them on a regular basis, then tacks on upsells/crossells from 3rd parties. It's a couple of thousand USD, depending on the agreement.

1. She's putting her reputation on the line vouching for you
2. She actively sells your service/product, answering questions, taking meetings
3. I help her create the marketing material for your offer
 

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I’d love a pair of jeans that is a good fit for people who hit the gym. I like a tighter fit (but not skinny jeans lol) which is really hard to find.

I know gym culture is huge in South America also so maybe that’s a good market to tap into - jeans for people who are big into fitness.
 

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I’d love a pair of jeans that is a good fit for people who hit the gym. I like a tighter fit (but not skinny jeans lol) which is really hard to find.

I know gym culture is huge in South America also so maybe that’s a good market to tap into - jeans for people who are big into fitness.
My first reaction to this was: "That is something I actually want to buy"

When I used to squat more often, I had a HUGE problem with jeans. My thighs and glutes were always too big for most models from H&M, Levi's, Diesel etc. Constantly struggled to find jeans that:
  1. Actually fit nicely, without being uncomfortable and too tight, or too wide in the waist (as I wasn't fat but just had chunkier legs). I didn't want fat people jeans, but some that actually fit me.
  2. Didn't break in a month. The denim would always get worn down and eventually a hole would form, due to my f̶a̶t̶ muscular legs rubbing against eachother.
 

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