Current Director of Materials for MEC. Former Sourcing Manager for Kit and Ace. Founder of athleticwear brand Light Activewear. Former Nike Global Sourcing & Manufacturing Lead based in Shanghai. Expertise in fashion, textiles, and startups.
My experience with apparel product development came from my years working for Nike, and later founded my own apparel company, Light Activewear. From developing fabric to the finished garment I can help each step of the way.
Let me help you formulate your sourcing strategy - whether is sourcing domestically or overseas or choosing the right suppliers to work with. I have sourcing experience for both multinational businesses and start-ups.
I also specialize in fabric and raw material development for apparel. From fibre to fabric I can help source the right raw materials and finished products.
Read my blog for up to date apparel sourcing insights: http://michellelei.com/blog/
Many of the large established maunfactures attend trade shows, such as the Canton Import and Export Fair. The key is to look for manufactures that already supplies to established brands. Once the manufacture meets the QA standards of the large brands, their quality remains consistent regardless of the company they produce for. Most of the time the minimum order quantity they request are up for negotiation. Same for the sampling cost. Most manufactures are willing to wave the sampling cost if a production order is placed at a later time.
Sourcing at the end of the day requires a lot of ground work. It takes time and effort to locate the right suppliers, visit and audit their facilities, and prices negotiate. However, this really saves money in the long term because you will have solid supply chains you can count on and trust. One way to approach this is to consolidate. Consolidate the number of suppliers, and make each sourcing trip count by finding multiple suppliers at once.
Best of luck in finding the right suppliers for your products!
Textile trade shows are a great way to find textile/fabric suppliers. Trade shows such as Texworld and the IFAI Expo are two of the many trade shows you can attend in the US. If you have the budget to travel overseas, Intertextile Shanghai is one of the larges trade show that focus on suppliers from Asia.
Michelle is amazing! My call with her was professional and extremely helpful. She answered my questions thoroughly and added anecdotes from her personal experience for background. She’s friendly and encourages you to achieve your business goals by breaking things down for you in steps. Highly recommend speaking with her and look forward to working with her again.
Super positive and shared her own experience. Michelle was very knowledgable in sourcing and dealing with suppliers.
Michelle is AMAZING. This was our 2nd call with her and we get so much value out of every minute. We will definitely be booking a third call as we elevate our knowledge/competency in manufacturing so substantially with each call. Thank you Michelle!! You're seriously the best.
Michelle was an incredible listener and shared some good recommendations. The type of information that would have been most beneficial, regarding good potential designers in the US to work with, was probably too specific. I appreciate the recommendations Michelle shared.
great knowledge and very helpful insights!
Highly experienced, highly professional and for sure 100% return from the feedback we received.
Mrs. Michelle provided great and valuable support to our company's product development department. She is definitely an expert in this field and we thank her for her time and the opportunity she offered us
Michelle was great! As someone new to manufacturing, she gave me a lot of insights to how it's actually done and what the big players in my space do. I now have a much more clear roadmap of how to manufacture my products so I can get my startup off the ground.
Michelle was very helpful. She gave sound advice stemming from her vast experience. Anyone looking to import items from China, please contact Michelle!
Michelle was extremely helpful and answered all of my questions regarding sourcing for a startup apparel business. She answered questions that I didn't even know to ask, and I feel much more prepared to navigate the relationships with my manufacturers. I highly recommend her.
Michelle was crystal clear with me when we spoke... and had insightful questions that helped me significantly. Thank You Michelle!
I really didn't get much out of the call with Michelle, I've had calls with other experts on Clarity who had prepared in advance and were able to offer specific advice, but this wasn't the case with Michelle. She didn't seem to have prepared for the call at all, and didn't offer any specific actionable advice, so unfortunately we didn't feel like we gained anything from this call.