What Nobody Told You About These Denim Blank Suppliers - Important tips for vetting and sourcing denim blanks
When I launched my first jeans line, I quickly learned that sourcing the right denim blanks was make-or-break. I wish someone had warned me upfront how nuanced and risky choosing a denim supplier blindly could be!
Selecting partners known for quality, consistency and ethics is crucial for any apparel brand, especially in the competitive jeans space. But all too often, startup labels choose denim mills based on samples and surface-level research alone.
In this in-depth guide, I’ll share insider tips on what most brands overlook when sourcing denim blanks, and how to avoid supplier pitfalls. Lean on experts like the team at Jack & Jeans rather than learning the hard way!
Tip #1: Dig Deeper Than Samples to Evaluate Quality and Consistency
When reviewing denim blank samples from potential suppliers, some key indicators of quality easily stand out:
Fabric weight and feel
Stretch and recovery
Signature wash results
But samples alone don't reveal the whole story. You need assurance those same standards carry through ongoing production.
Order Small Batch Physical Samples
Start by ordering a few yards of 4-5 different blank styles to assess hands-on. When combined into a jean, do they achieve the desired look and feel?
For example, Los Angeles brand AG Jeans is known for their buttery-soft fabric. Theysampling small batches from mills to perfectly dial in that signature touch.
Then graduate to ordering 50-100 pairs of blanks sewn into finished jeans. Critically evaluating this small pilot run will show whether quality remains consistent before committing to mass production.
Forecast Beyond Launch Styles
Share your roadmap and forecasts so suppliers understand your long term needs. The ability to deliver continuity as you expand stylistically demonstrates reliability.
For example, 7 For All Mankind relied on longtime Italian mill Candiani to scale up fabric innovations like Sateen denim as their line diversified. That transparency and trust ensured they could grow efficiently together.
Tip #2: Research Ethics and Compliance Thoroughly
Sourcing apparel globally demands heightened due diligence on social and environmental risks that may not meet your brand standards. Denim has unfortunately seen abuses among some Asian mills.
Child labor and unsafe working conditions
Excessive hours and insufficient wages
Pollution and unsafe chemical handling
Inspect Beyond Policy Documents
Most factories today know compliance is priority #1 for international brands. So they talk a good game on paper.
But you must go deeper through worker interviews, chemical testing, surprise audits and forensic analysis to confirm no corner cutting. Proper wastewater treatment for dyeing is intricately inspected.
For example, longtime Turkish mill Orta spent 3 years upgrading to sustainable production before Tommy Hilfiger partnered with them on recycled denim in 2018. That patient investment by Orta built trust.
The best suppliers welcome this transparency. Jack & Jeans even proactively funds improvement programs so more factories can ethically meet demand.
Tip #3: Understand Pricing Factors Between Blanks
New brands often assume heavier weight or more complex denim means higher prices. But multiple variables impact blank costs simultaneously:
Heavier ounces (10oz+) do cost more than lighter. But increased durability means lower defects.
High stretch fabrics are often cheaper than 100% rigid cotton. Lycra adds comfort without markup.
Intensive washes and fabrics like crosshatch increase labor costs. But simplest always cheapest.
Large orders per style secure you better bulk discounts.
Starting higher with pricing benchmarks helps you identify true deals versus suspect bargains. Don't assume cheapest is best value either short or long term.
Tip #4: Discuss Lead Times and Stock Availability
Rapid restocking and new blank development requires suppliers with sufficient capacity and inventory. Ask potential partners:
How far out are orders recommended for adequate supply?
Do they stock common blanks for quick delivery?
How quickly can they develop new fabric innovations?
For example, Jack & Jeans holds a deep inventory of bestselling blanks in New York ready for 2-day delivery across styles, washes and sizes. That makes nimble small-batch orders simple.
They also forecast seasonal demand across clients so capacity aligns proactively. No scrambling, stockouts or long lead times. That flexibility fuels growth.
Tip #5: Choose Established Experts Like Jack & Jeans
For over 20 years, Jack & Jeans has set the gold standard for denim blanks. As pioneers bringing premium denim to NYC, we vet only the finest mills globally for unwavering quality.
Our longstanding partnerships secure you the best pricing. And our New York stock means we can ship you samples affordably overnight for rapid testing.
Whether you need durable rigid denim, ultra-soft stretch, or anything in between, we have you covered while keeping ethics a top priority. Get in touch today to experience the Jack & Jeans difference!
Choose your denim blank partners wisely. With jeans as the backbone of your brand, you want suppliers invested in your long-term success.
Do diligent in-person R&D. Verify production ethics. Seek forecasting flexibility. Working with established experts removes headaches so you can build a legendary denim brand.
Should I order denim blanks locally or import them?
Importing from major denim producing countries can offer far lower costs at scale. But local suppliers allow faster turns when prototyping samples.
How many denim mills should I source from?
Limiting yourself to 1-2 mills builds leverage, but a diversified supplier mix reduces risk. Shoot for 3-5 trusted mills matched to different blank categories.
What machines and services should a good denim mill offer?
Look for integrated mills with in-house dyeing, weaving, cutting and washing. This vertical control ensures quality and rapid iteration capabilities.
How do I get small quantities of denim blanks for sampling?
Established suppliers like Jack & Jeans hold stock of all major styles to fulfill small test orders quickly. Unlike mills that require thousands of yards minimums.