Have you ever toyed with the idea of making a product but then abandoned the idea immediately after trying to source a manufacturer? If the answer is yes, then you should read on. Maker’s Row is a brand new site by 3 young, smart New Yorkers trying to demystify the process of manufacturing products in the US. Their goal is to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. From large corporations to first time designers, Maker’s Row provides unparalleled access
to industry-specific factories and suppliers across the United States.
I can’t applaud the team behind Maker’s Row enough and am impatiently anticipating categories beyond apparel. We produce Tattlys (and everything that goes along with it in the US) and we had our fair share of searching to do ourselves. We can’t wait to share the resources we found!
I think manufacturing can be quite daunting and mysterious so it is great they are doing this!!
I wanted to share that Little Paper Planes has started a new venture in manufacturing apparel/accessories for small business, designers, artists, etc. We do everything in Oakland, CA.
Dec 11th, 2012 / 6:06 pm
THIS IS EXCITING!!! Thanks for sharing Tina!
Dec 12th, 2012 / 9:59 am
The main reason people have difficulty sourcing production is because they’re using the wrong search term.
Legally -not a matter of opinion- according to federal law, a manufacturer is the person who causes the product to exist. Iow, the very parties doing the search. A contractor provides sewing services. The latter is what most people are looking for. Cyst and tumor are both unnatural growths but like contractor and manufacturer, these terms aren’t interchangeable.
This distinction matters for several reasons. First is the issue of liability and consumer safety. Consider the CPSIA law and indeed, all CPSC regulations. If your brand is in violation of the regulations, the feds aren’t going to go after your contractor, they’re going after you because you are the manufacturer. The distinction is a matter of liability and responsibility.
Another reason is tax law; one pays tax on inventory. If one is properly categorized as a manufacturer, they don’t pay inventory tax on equipment, tools, software, fabric, labels etc that constitute “means of production”. One does pay a minimal lower rate of tax on production inputs (fabric etc) and completed inventory but the latter is based on a lower wholesale tax rate rather than retail. Conversely, if one categorizes themselves as a retailer instead of the manufacturer they are (even if they use a sewing contractor), they owe full value tax on machines, fabric, finished goods… you name it. I heard stories of people insisting they are retailers (because they sell their own products -like every and anyone else who makes stuff). Unfortunately, the state took him at his word and the department of revenue came in and levied years worth of back inventory tax on his machines and equipment that put him out of business.
In California, one can get into even worse hot water. There you need a garment manufacturing license ($800 p/y). Contractors only pay $200. If either party in this arrangement doesn’t have a license (contractors must get the license number of any customer they take on), one is LEGALLY a sweatshop. It is terrible because the state just comes in and locks the office or factory doors for licensing violations. Meaning, if you’re a manufacturer (presumably with a license) but hire someone without one, the state can lock the doors of the contractor and good luck getting your stuff. In fact, you’re fined for hiring someone without a license (which means they’ll audit you looking for related violations). And the reverse is true too. The contractor can be shut down for not verifying your license and all their customers will suffer.
In short, it’s great that Maker’s Row is attempting to provide connection points to service providers (contractors) but the service providers that a start up would be best served by, won’t be on MR. Ever. Using “manufacturer” instead of “contractor” has become a litmus test of [a potentially problematic] newbie vs a well prepared start up one may be interested in developing a productive commercial relationship with.
Dec 12th, 2012 / 10:00 am
this is very cool… didn’t realize this existed!
Dec 12th, 2012 / 2:00 pm
yes, a thousand times yes! What a good idea.
Dec 21st, 2012 / 10:45 pm