Continuing from my previous entry, all of this mad obsession led me to Alibaba where I browsed through page after page of evening wear manufacturers before getting tired of reading it all. I decided to just post a buyer’s query and wait for factories to email me.
I received a lot of emails from a lot of different factories in different countries. Some of which have their own staff of designers and produce fabulous evening wear. If I were ever interested in that industry, I would be very excited at the things that I have found.
I engaged in a lot of back and forth asking different product questions, mainly asking to see pictures of their own work as many are known to show pictures that their customers have sent them to copy. If you know anything about that, sometimes the copy can vary drastically from the original. Once I found interesting factories, I would ask for their IDs on MSN Messenger or Yahoo Instant Messenger so I can chat with them. It’s usually about 5PM my time when they start their workday, so I’m able to reach them and ask a lot of questions.
One of the factory reps sent me (upon my request) a sample of the most amazing hand embroidery I have ever seen. Not that it’s saying much, I’m not exactly a connoisseur of hand embroidery. I was so amazed that I sent it to Kathleen, because if she liked it, well that was a seal of approval that it really is good embroidery and I’m not being wowed due to my inexperience. It took a while to hear back from that factory so in the meantime, I “spoke with” other factory reps.
One rep, let’s just call him Jack, was quite amusing. I’m only telling this story because I know you can appreciate it. He had various samples of evening dresses, most of which were priced between $80-150 FOB China. I asked how much more would it cost to make it of silk, to which he replied 3-4 times the price.
Excuse me? That makes no sense. I’m sitting at my computer thinking it’s possibly a communication error, yes that must be it. So I send him a picture of a dress that I pulled off the Neiman Marcus website just to test. I said can you give me a quote for this dress. A few minutes later I am told $105. I then asked for the quote with the dress made of silk. I was told $400. The dress was only $380 at neimanmarcus.com. I found that amusing.
It should be noted that a lot of what you find on the internet are enterprising individuals who are in the area, speak and write English well, who know of the factory, who will personally get your goods made in exchange for the markup they are charging. They don’t work for the factory, they work with the factory. Which is fine with me, because I’m really just looking to enhance my personal wardrobe and if I find something to produce (for resale), then I will, but I started off with an obsession with kimono dresses.
So what you have to be careful of is the person looking to make money, but who doesn’t understand squat about apparel and doesn’t care to learn.