Sourcing By Design (SBD) is a boutique fashion sourcing and design agency, collaborating with both Australian and international brands, aiming to enhance their aesthetic, expand product categories and grow their business. With dedicated teams in Brisbane, China and Hong Kong, SBD works across all categories including womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, accessories and lifestyle products in the contemporary and luxury markets.
Can you tell us about a brand that you have worked with and how you helped them improve their supply chain, sourcing and manufacturing processes?
As a fashion sourcing and design agency, assisting our clients to enhance their supply chain, manufacturing processes and product quality is at the heart of what we do. In our earlier years when founding Director Katie Macdonald was based in Hong Kong, SBD was approached by one of our now long-standing clients to assist with their production. At the time of enquiry, the brand was producing in Bali and experiencing inconsistent quality and unreliable delivery timeframes that were difficult to manage.
To help the brand achieve better quality and more certainty in delivery, SBD was able to facilitate a new relationship for the brand in China from our existing network of reliable factories. While manufacturing continued in Bali, SBD coordinated new product development and commenced production with the new supplier. For the brand, an increase in minimum order quantities (MOQs) was a necessary investment, however the supplier’s in house technical capabilities and quality control, coupled with SBD’s effective communication and pre-shipment inspections quickly resulted in a higher quality product and delivery of orders within the agreed schedule.
As the brand’s agent, SBD formed a strong relationship with the new suppliers in China. After a few years, the brand’s confidence in the new supplier was certain, enabling them to completely shift their manufacturing from Bali to China. The brand has significantly benefited from these relationships and experienced considerable growth in recent years having developed a reputation for a high quality product and confidence with their customer base. Product development is now a more collaborative process between the brand, SBD and the supplier and open communication has allowed for sharing of information in relation to trends, material sourcing and availability and most importantly, resolving any complications that may arise.
What advice did you provide the brand on creating a transparent and sustainable supply chain?
With a focus on sustainability in recent years, the brand engaged SBD to assist them with improving the social and environmental impacts and transparency in their supply chain. While SBD’s initial enquiries in the market resulted in many barriers such as green washing, false claims and band-aid solutions, perseverance in researching and educating in this space has proven critical in SBD finding suppliers who are aligned with the brand’s values. By committing to only working with suppliers that share the same sustainable goals, SBD has been successful in implementing improvements for the brand in raw material sourcing, manufacturing, operations and packaging. The brand is now using raw materials from reliable sources including suppliers licensed by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Leather Working Group (LWG), has achieved full transparency to tier 3 in their supply chain and working with manufacturers agreeable to regular social and environmental audits in alignment with SEDEX. They are also excited to be launching their new sustainably sourced and designed packaging this season.
As experienced by this brand, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when setting out to create a transparent and sustainable supply chain. With all the information available in this space it can be difficult to pinpoint what will add value to your brand. For any size business, mapping out your supply chain and assessing each tier is the best place to start.
Look at the pros and cons of each element and identify any gaps in information. Areas that need attention or the ‘low hanging fruit’ will normally become visible in this process and any improvements implemented will make an impact to the business. It is important to remember that it is a continual journey, one that needs regular review and adjusting or refining your goals. With this in mind, set immediate tangible goals for improvement and also long term strategic goals to be reviewed as your brand grows.
As SBD work with more brands from differing product categories, we also continue to learn about new innovations and furthering our own network of manufacturing and raw material suppliers. The continued growth of our existing clients has been a pleasure to watch, particularly in this difficult economic environment and we are excited to welcome new brands to SBD to assist them on their journey.
What is Sourcing By Design offering AFC Members?
If you are a brand who needs collaborative design and development support, supplier sourcing or production assistance, we invite Australian Fashion Council members to a complimentary half hour consultation with Director Katie Macdonald to learn more about our services. Should you choose to proceed with our services, SBD will take 10% off the cost of our services for 6 months. We welcome you to get in touch.