With startup culture still on the rise, some shoe factories are welcoming smaller orders to help new brands launch more successfully with a smaller budget. Nevertheless, even MOQ (minimum order quantity) requirements for small batch production can seem downright daunting for a company that is just starting out.
If you can’t see yourself ordering ten thousand pairs off the bat, we’ve got some ways to help you work with your factory on lowering your production MOQs.
1) Existing Materials and Components
If you want to mill your own custom patterned fabric, tan your own leather or open custom hardware molds, be ready for those material vendors to have minimums of their own – which can then drive up your MOQ in your shoe factory by extension. If you don’t need custom work done, sourcing existing materials is the way to go.
2) Simplify Your Construction
Complex or innovative constructions require more training for factory workers as well as changes to setup and processes. To cover the costs of achieving this, a manufacturer will need a larger minimum order. Using common constructions can help you sidestep this potential difficulty.
3) Minimize SKUs
Extra colorways or a larger size run will add SKUs and increase minimums, as they often translate to larger materials inventory, more production toolings, and more intensive quality control inspections. Research your market needs and keep your collection minimal to start. There’s always room to expand.
4) Stick To One Last
If the shoe fits, stick with it! Using the same last across various styles can really help minimize costs that increase MOQ requirements.
5) Design For One Outsole
Outsole toolings can be one of the costliest aspects of launching a line. Using the same outsole across multiple upper styles is yet another area where keeping it minimal can help you lobby for a lower MOQ.
6) Keep The Packaging Simple
Packaging can range from basic and minimal to incredibly complex and customized. If lowering minimums is the end goal, the less customization the better. Embrace simplicity and go with a sourced box and unbranded tissue.
If you're producing a range of styles, shoes of similar categories and constructions can be made by the same factory. Since it already takes the efforts of plenty of factories to make one shoe, adding more to the roster won’t be to your advantage here.
8) Pay A Surcharge
If none of the above are getting you quite where you want to be, talk to your manufacturer. Some of them will accept a price per pair surcharge to help offset their costs. The shoes will come in at a higher price, but with a lower MOQ, and in turn a lower overall investment to launch your collection.