- Before I set out on my quest to find a supplier I need to set my own exceptions in regards to quality, sustainability, cost and communication. Once I know what I expect, it will be easier to sort through suppliers that don't meet my standards.
- Look at directories of certified suppliers via websites such as B Corporation, TFIA and Ethical Clothing Australia and make a list of companies to contact. Then check them via supplierblacklist.com
- Spend some time drafting a supplier agreement/contract, this agreement may come back to bite me so I need to get some guidance and proof reading assistance with this one.
- Create a system that will help keep track of the product chain and how sustainable it is. A traceable and transparent product chain will allow me to manage each phase of production efficiently. Plus, people like to know who made their clothes.
- Finally, I need to look into free trade agreements, R&D Tax incentive schemes and opportunities on smallbusiness.com
Naively, I expected to walk around the exhibition floor seeing stall after stall of cool patterns and designs that I could photograph and use as inspiration when sourcing garments. I was very wrong, finding a supplier is going to take much more than just walking around an exhibition. It is going to take commitment and patience. Once I have found a supplier, the hard work really starts. From the outset I need to create and build a relationship with this supplier, find a mutual respect and an open line of communication. Over the next few weeks, researching suppliers will be my main priority.
Last, but certainly not least. One subject that seemed to be raised on a number of occasions was sustainability, ethical workplaces and eco friendly. This seems to be a topic that is at the front of peoples thoughts when thinking about product sourcing. This is great news for the industry and it gives me great hope that I am going to be contributing to an industry that people are passionate about. The future looks very exciting.