... because these things matter.
What is the Carolina Textile District? What do you do?
The Carolina Textile District is a network of textile related companies that collaborate to meet the increasing demand for US textile production. We have a strong and experienced network of designers, pattern-makers, printers, dye houses, fabric suppliers and manufacturers, tag/label providers, and cut and sew facilities. We help clients produce textile products in the U.S. We manage projects and facilitate connections between clients who want to get a product made and the talented individuals and experienced companies that can produce sewn goods.
What type of clients does the District work with?
- Existing companies that are already in production - perhaps you are producing overseas and want to shift to domestic manufacturers. Maybe you need additional cut and sew capacity or your current manufacturer is closing down.
- Scaling and growing businesses with an existing product - you could be making your products on your own or are working with a local seamstress for small runs. Either way you are ready to take it to the next level and outsource your production by partnering with a contract cut and sew facility.
- Start-ups and entrepreneurs who have an idea for a new product - are you starting from scratch with a new product? Maybe you have no textile experience and you aren't sure where to start....we can help!
How does the District work with new clients?
Everyone has to start somewhere, right? New clients start with our application on the home page of our website. Once we have your application we can review your specific needs and advise you on whether or not we are a good fit for you and your business. If you are we'll contact you to schedule a call or visit.
What happens on a call/visit with a CTD Project Specialist?
Our goal is to be a one stop shop of resources by partnering with our clients to find companies in the textile supply chain that can help make your product here in the U.S. During these individualized and customized project conversations we will....
1. Assess: Review your application and clarify information you have provided. Gain a deeper understanding of your needs.
2. Connect: Further evaluate your project to determine the right companies in our network that have the capability and interest in producing your product. Discuss next steps and which CTD program best fits your needs. Answer any questions you have about how we work with clients.
3. Support: Provide key tools and information that will help you understand the textile production process if you have never done a production run before. Provide valuable feedback on specific aspects of your project and make recommendations for moving your project forward.
Instead of a call, can I schedule a visit to meet with the CTD?
Sure, once we receive your application and know you are a good fit there is an option to schedule a visit with the CTD rather than a call. You will meet with our Project Specialist in Conover, NC, and receive the same assessment, connections and support you would receive on a call.
What if I have an existing product or am already in production and am looking for new domestic production partners?
Great! If you want to re-shore, need to find a new contract cut and sew company, are looking to scale-up, or just testing the waters, we can help. Depending on your total volume needs we can work with you through our Qualified Sourcing and Find-A-Fit programs to find a skilled professional or qualified manufacturer who is capable and interested in working with you.
What if I’m not ready for production?
Sometimes when clients take our survey or Self Assessment they realize that they aren’t ready for production. We suggest that you consider attending one of our Sewn Goods 101 Workshops to learn about the production process and how to form long-term relationships with your manufacturers. If you need help with things like raising capital, researching the marketplace or refining your marketing and branding one of the resources we personally recommend is Factory45.
Why should I pay the District just to "find" a manufacturer? I can do that myself.
You are exactly right! .....sort of! Some textile businesses (especially cut and sew factories) don't do much advertising so it is hard to find them on your own. Each cut and sew specializes in specific products and has specific capabilities so while one might work on men's polo shirts, another might only make bags - or dog beds - or children's apparel. We've worked with clients who have spent months cold calling factories and have gotten nowhere. We know the firms in our network and can efficiently match you with a company that has the capability to take on your product. Additionally, we have worked with some of these firms for years and have a good relationship with them so sometimes they are more willing to take something on if it comes through us.
What if I don't schedule a call or visit?
We will keep your application on file and will also put it in our Prospect Gin where cut and sews can view it. You can search on your own for domestic suppliers and manufacturers by visiting sites and databases like SEAMS, Manufactured in North Carolina and NC Textile Connect. You can also download the CTD Self Assessment Checklist on the Process Page to better understand what you need to accomplish to launch a new product.
If I have a variety of different products that I want to produce, can I just complete one application for all of them?
Although that would definitely be the easiest and fastest way, it is unfortunately not the best way. Because each product may require different time frames, quantities, target prices, materials, etc., you will need to complete an application and provide detailed information for each product you are seeking assistance with. This is important in order to find the correct partner fit for your specific product, as different production companies produce different products.
Do you always find production partners for new clients?
Not every single time and we can't guarantee it; however, we have over 50 cut and sew partners and a pretty good success rate! It comes down to whether a production partner is capable, available and interested in manufacturing your product (which we are sure is amazing!). The District acts as a match maker but each partner determines which projects they want to take on. For that reason, we only take a deposit on our Programs and won’t ask you to pay the remainder of the program fee until we know we have found you a partner.
What happens if you don’t find me a production partner?
Whenever possible, we will do our best to refer you to other organizations that might be able to assist you.
Why do you require a deposit for each program?
The deposit covers the time it takes for our Project Specialist to start work on your project. For example, for the Find-A-Fit program it covers the time it takes to reach out to several contract cut and sew facilities to pitch your project and find a company that is capable and interested in working with you.
Do the CTD's fees for programs cover the cost of a sample?
No. The program fees are payment to The District for our time and services to connect you with your requested support and help manage your project. The sample fee is a separate payment that goes to the cut-and-sew production company (the manufacturer) for their time and services to produce your sample.
How much does it cost to have a sample made?
That will depend on your product and how much assistance you will require. We typically advise startup clients to be prepared to spend around $1500 per item to get a sample made. That is strictly an estimate based on a client that would be producing a basic garment, who needs assistance from start (fabric sourcing) to finish (cut and sew production). We have had many clients have their samples made for less than $1500 and other clients that have had to pay more than $1500. Again, it will all depend on your product and how much assistance you will require.
How long does it take to get a sample made? How long does it take to complete a production run?
Ooooo, good question! This varies a lot. It depends on the program you choose, your production partner, the season (November and December = crazy busy), your material status, your response times to questions, your timeliness with payments, etc., etc. The one thing we can guarantee is that we’ll do our very best to make the process as efficient as possible!
What about confidentiality? Does The District sign Non-Disclosure Agreements? What if I have a patent on my idea?
The Carolina Textile District does not sign NDAs or Confidentiality Agreements. Since we have a huge network of manufacturing partners and process numerous client applications every week it just isn’t feasible. However, we take our client’s privacy and requests for confidentiality very seriously. Typically, surveys are only shared with production partners to see if they are available and interested in manufacturing your product. We have never had an issue with a partner sharing or copying private client information or ideas. We understand that some clients will not proceed without an NDA. If you fall in that category, we apologize for the inconvenience and wish you the best with your business venture.
Does The District work with overseas manufacturers or fabric suppliers?
The District is 100% committed to domestic sourcing for materials and labor; however, we recognize that certain materials may not always be available from domestic sources. In some cases we may refer you to a U.S. fabric wholesale manufacturer that sells both domestic and international fabrics, but we only work with U.S. based companies.
Do the production companies source and provide materials or is that my responsibility?
You are responsible for providing all materials needed to produce your product, except thread. Our production partners supply a basic thread that they use for a variety of items. If your product requires a different type of thread than what the production partner uses, then you will need to provide the thread to them as well.
If I need assistance with sourcing my materials, can The District help me with that?
Yes, in most cases we can help source your materials through the Qualified Sourcing Program. Just keep in mind that we work with domestic manufacturers who may have minimum requirements for orders depending on the type of fabric that you want/need. You are responsible for paying all shipping costs for materials.
What if I need assistance sourcing new or additional materials during the sample or production process?
Just like retail stores, fabric manufacturers often add or discontinue fabrics. If this occurs during your sample or production process we can help! You will need to pay our hourly sourcing fee for assistance with this.
If I need assistance with other areas like patterns, printing or labels, can The District assist me with those things as well?
Yes! This is our “sweet spot”! The District is a network of diverse companies that specialize in different areas but are connected to each other – which makes the creation of a new product much more efficient! In the network we have designers, pattern makers, graders, printers, label makers, production companies, packaging manufacturers, fulfillment companies, business development gurus, etc.
What happens if I don’t want to work with the production company that The District matches me with? Will the District match me with another company?
It depends on the reason. If the Client and the Partner agree that the product isn’t a good fit for that manufacturer, then yes, we will look for others. If a company has become a partner of the District then we've vetted them and feel confident in their capabilities and professionalism.
Does The District “shop around” for the best prices?
Not really…..but we are selective about the companies we work with! Partners and collaborating companies go through a vetting process. We select them based on their business reputation and their values. This includes our personal experiences with them, the quality of their work, their responsiveness to clients, their commitment to sustainable practices, their dedication to their employees and more.
After my first sample and production run, what happens if I develop another idea/concept? (For example, we work with you first on a line of shirts and then you decide to develop a line of pants)
No problem! We’d love to see your company expand! We will connect you with the manufacturers you need to launch your new product(s). However, for a new product you will need to submit a new application with the new product information, pay the entry fee for the program you select and pay your sample fees.
Are all of The District’s partners housed under one roof (sourcing, pattern making, production, fulfillment, etc.)?
Nope, we like to say that we’re "virtually integrated" rather than "vertically integrated"! Each CTD Partner is an independent company and operates under their own terms and conditions. However, many of them do work closely together and have longstanding relationships.
If I'm a startup do I have to have a business plan before working with The District?
There are always exceptions to the rule; however, we believe that having a business plan is extremely helpful in launching a successful textile business. For assistance, we recommend you contact your local Small Business Center.