Your Tech Pack is Your Contract
Throughout the apparel and fashion industry, you hear about “tech packs” a lot. Tech packs are technical packets that we put together to serve as our official contract with the manufacturer. All of the details we need or want in our garment should be included in the packet, so that the specifications are clear and quantifiable. Any industry professional could pick up your tech pack file and create the same garment if it’s done properly.
Without an official tech pack with your factory or manufacturer, you run a large risk for your brand. A lack of accountability and exactness tends to happen without a tech pack, and your factory has no set of standards or requirements to adhere to. They could send you something that doesn’t fit right, doesn’t have the correct trims or sewing construction and you have no way of pushing back on the issues.
A tech pack is like a legal contract in any other professional relationship. It protects you by making the product requirements clear and understandable. So if your factory sends you production garments that measure outside of the tolerance you’ve given them or use an incorrect fabric or trim, you have obvious documentation on what is incorrect. This would allow you to request a discount or a refund for incorrect garments, or insist that they correct them at their own cost. Not having this important information on paper could end up costing you, which could be a crushing blow for small brands or start-ups.
Recently, I was working with a brand who had been very successful in sales and marketing, but their development process needed some sprucing up. They started their brand by working with a factory in Mexico, but ended up needing to move production to Vietnam after two years. Without official tech packs for each style they needed to move, there was no clear standard. It took them longer to get set up than it should have, and their costing ended up going up because they had to push for speed instead of price. When Unmarked Street came in to build official tech packs for them, everything became much clearer for them and for their factory. We have been able to negotiate new costs based on our official bill of materials, and the quality of the garment measurements has improved.
Having a professional technical designer create a tech pack for you can cost quite a bit of money. It may seem unreasonable when you’re keeping costs low, but think of it as hiring a legal team to review your contracts for them and send out a form in your best interest. The protection and professionalism you receive by having this document could save you time, money and grief for years to come.