Sourcing-101 What to Do When You Find Fabric You Like

Happy first day of sourcing at Magic!  Seminars are underway! Booths full of hopeful designers looking to find that perfect fabric for the idea they have been mulling around in their heads for weeks.

So many ideas.

So many sketches.



Where do I start?

Overwhelm taking over…!

Don’t worry I have your back!  Remember last week when we discussed splitting up our responsibilities?  I am still here.  I am still with you.  Let’s see what we can do together.

It’s time to take everything we have learned over the past few weeks and implement them.

If you are at the show great!  If you are going to LA next week wonderful (maybe we can meet up).  Or if you are still figuring it out, thats why we are here, to get you started.

I want to talk about what to do when you find something you like when sourcing.

  • When you find fabrics you like, pull the headers from the rack and set aside. Then you can narrow down once you’ve pulled everything you like.

Trick:  Once you receive a *HEADER, write all the info on the header that you’ll need to know prior to placing an order (ie: price, minimum yardage, etc)

*A piece of sample material sent to the designer.  Sometimes these can be small 1″ squares, other times on specialty fabrics or prints they may be the entire width of fabric to see the repeat or design.

Generally the fabric style # will be provided for reference, price per yard, foot, or meter, colors available, fabric content.
  • Sit with the sales rep and place your order.o
  • You can order swatches or headers depending on what they provide.
  • You will pay for shipping so will need to give them your shipping courier number.
  • Make sure to follow up with the companies a week after the show to ensure your swatches and/or order is being sent.

Always try to act like you know what you’re talking about.

  • You can also place orders for sample yardage at the time of the show…  Fabric companies love this!
  • If you find what you are looking for, find out their policy on sample yardage minimums. If there is a minimum or a limit keep that in mind when ordering.

 For example, a company may only sell up to 5 yards of a fabric for samples. If this is the case DO NOT USE this fabric until your samples are perfect and ready for cutting. Others may require a 20 yard minimum or 1 roll minimum. You will need to see if it is within your budget to commit to this type of yardage. Always remember you may be able to use the fabric in production at a later date.

  • They will need your company info, ship-to address, shipping account and credit card info, or they may require a wire transfer.
  • ­ Sampling/Lab Dips: What if you want a custom color or trim?

Remember when ordering fabrics from overseas (especially Europe) you will incur high shipping costs and customs charges. Generally it is very hard to determine this cost up front. It is best to over estimate and add 20% to your per yard price to account for these charges. You can ask if the order is FOB Shipping…definition of FOB below:

“FOB is an acronym for “Freight (or Free) On Board”, meaning that the seller pays for transportation of the goods. Specific terms of the agreement can vary widely, in particular which party (buyer or seller) pays for which shipment and loading costs, and/or where responsibility for the goods is transferred. The last distinction is important for determining liability or risk of loss for goods lost or damaged in transit from the seller to the buyer. International shipments typically use “FOB” as defined by the Incoterm standards, where it always stands for “Free On Board”. Domestic shipments within the US or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterm standards.”

If you are heading to Los Angeles for the LA Textile Show and want to set up a  One-On-One Strategy Session, click here. We can help connect you with the right vendors and make your trip as successful as possible. You will be taken to a link to purchase the session and we will follow up with you to set up a time.

It is that easy!

Good Luck! 

Stay creative.