Currently, the online shopping industry is experiencing a spike in sales. It’s a great opportunity for starting an online store selling designer clothing. Approximately 4 billion meters of textile are produced in China every month. Chances are that if you’re starting a clothing business, you’ll most likely procure your products from China. However, importing designer clothes is easier said than done… There is a lot you need to know before getting started. In this post, we list the most important things you should consider when importing clothing.
The first step is to find a suitable supplier for your product. Consider visiting clothing trade fairs in China. It’s the perfect location for finding most reputable manufacturers, even those who are not active online. It also offers a unique opportunity to discover products that are not yet available on alibaba.com. Since suppliers tend to debut their latest products at trade shows, you will have the opportunity to inspect new items first hand. If you’re considering importing products from China, it’s well worth taking a business trip there.. Here are some popular fais to visit (check dates online):
- Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles in Shanghai
- ACLE in Shanghai
- Centrestage in Hong Kong
- Global Sources Fashion in Hong Kong
Build relationships with suppliers
Once you get in touch with a supplier, order some samples. The sample products will allow you to test whether the quality of the items meet your expectations. It will also help you assess shipping. Are you happy with the samples? Now it’s time to proceed to a large order. It’s advisable to remain in contact with the manufacturer and oversee the production. There are a number of companies in China that will test 10% of the total production for quality assurance. The service usually costs around €300 per day.
The prices that manufacturers quote are not fixed. The Chinese usually expect you to negotiate the price. As a rule of thumb, you can go 20% below the stated price and you will probably end up somewhere in the middle. Never pay more than 25% in advance. Try to negotiate a 25% payment in advance, 25% for shipping and the remainder upon arrival in the Netherlands.
Importing clothing is a profession in itself
Duties and product requirements differ when importing clothing compared to other import goods. Specific rules and regulations apply to clothing and textiles that you must know as an importer. The tax authorities determine the import duties due based on the commodity code that applies to your product. Here is a list of the commodity codes. The commodity code that applies to your garment(s) depends on the type of clothing and material used. The import duty is usually 12%. The VAT is 21%, but you may qualify to deduct it as an import tax.
Note that this post only applies to designer clothing. Beware of counterfeit and knockoff brand clothes. They are commonly produced in China, but it is strictly prohibited to import counterfeit goods for trade purposes. Customs will confiscate any counterfeit products, so make sure you’re only doing business with the official manufacturers of the brands you’re going to sell. Alternatively, you can start your own clothing line! Create beautiful, fashionable designs and good quality products and you can get your brand off the ground.
Product requirements for clothing and textiles in Europe are extensive and detailed. Don’t forget that importing clothing makes you liable for (injury) or damage caused by your garments. Protect yourself against potential claims with product liability insurance. The EU has set forth fire safety requirements for clothing. Authorities will determine whether your clothing complies with these requirements based on a test. Visit the Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) website to learn more about these requirements.
Aside from fire safety requirements, the mechanical safety of clothing must meet certain criteria. This includes the zipper and cords on shirts or pants. Clothing for children younger than 14 years old has additional requirements. Are your garments chemically processed? Additional requirements apply. Please check the NEN website for more information. Metal accessories on clothing, such as studs and haberdashery, have requirements for the release of nickel. Find out more about it here.
Labeling is part of the product requirements for importing clothing. The main rules for the label are as follows:
– must be durable, legible and visible.
– must be written in the local language.
– names the textile fibers contained in the product. Use the names from this list.
– only mentions the term 100%, pure or pure if the product has 1 type of textile fiber.
– names animal materials such as leather and fur with the following sentence: ‘Contains non-textile parts of animal origin’.
The EU has no mandatory origin marking, size or maintenance labeling for clothing. However, realize that most consumers would prefer to have that information on the label. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) checks the information on labels and can also take measures if the label in your clothing is incorrect.
Let our experience work for you
Importing clothes from China to Europe is not easy. Especially as an entrepreneur without an extensive network of contacts, it can be difficult to get started. Ademar has 39 years of experience and an extensive network to help small business owners or online store managers. We can help you with the logistics chain for your trade. Call or send us an email.