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Made To Order?

You have been thinking about how to launch your fashion brand.

Do you sell direct from your website... sell through online platforms... or wholesale?

Another question you have been pondering is "should I offer a 'Made To Order' service?"

Dress By Caroline Beyll, By Creative Fashion Services
Dress By Caroline Beyll, By Creative Fashion Services

Let's Explore...

The most common way to produce a collection is to make a multiple quantities per style For example:

You have a 6pc collection with 3 sizes in each style and you will be ordering 10pcs per style please see table below:

As you can see from the example in the table above, in order for you to create a 6 pc collection you would have to order 180 garments, which you may feel reluctant to do because you are not sure if you want to hold that much stock?

So you think 'Made To Order' may be a better option for you. But is it?

Made to order is exactly what it sounds like. You receive an order from a customer, and then your fashion provider will make it for you to ship/deliver to them.

It enables you to limit the amount of stock you carry, because you only get garments made when an order has been placed.

Another benefit of 'Made To Order' is that it may help you to limit waste, because you are only making what is required.

But can you really afford to do 'Made To Order?'

Because you are making to order, you are essentially making a sample each and every time and so the cost will be higher than if you were to get a production run done.

So when we say can you afford it, this is directly linked to your retail price.


If the sample price for your garment is £150 and your retail price is £300 maybe 'Made To Order' is for you.

However, assuming your sample price is the same, but your retail price is £90 then you will be at a loss. (See table 2 below)

Example Table 2
Example Table 2

In our blog post "Working Backwards" we discuss the importance of where you sit in the market, knowing your retail price and how much you are able to charge your customer.

If you are getting your garments made in London or UK and you would like to offer 'Made To Order' we think this can only be achieved if you are selling in the premium/higher end of the market, because costs in the UK are higher than a lot of overseas countries.

You will still have to make patterns, toiles and samples even if you are offering a 'Made To Order' service. This is because when you do get an order the idea is that you have the patterns, fabrics and trims ready, because you have gone through the pre-production process already.

Made To Order Is Not Bespoke!

It's important to know that 'Made To Order' and 'Bespoke' are completely different. With Made To Order the sizing, fabrics and trims remain the same, you are merely replicating the already developed style.

Bespoke on the other hand is a service whereby the garment being made is 'tailored' to your customers body, with any specifications to suit that customer.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what 'Made To Order' is. The question is, will you be providing it?

Please let us know your thoughts and comment below.

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