Working with vietnamese clothing manufacturers

I moved to Vietnam in 2008 and started working for a cut and sew knitwear factory in Ho Chi Minh City. My job was to build the marketing websites and answer the emails generated by the websites. I quickly learned search engine optimization and got ranking for keywords related to garment manufacturing in Vietnam. On average I get three emails per day from fashion start ups around the world interested in Vietnam garment manufacturing. Over the last 10 years I have heard thousands of start up stories and helped 100s of people get dialed in to either local production or Vietnam production.

All the start ups I help face the same frustrating language barriers, cultural barriers and high minimum order quantities that exist in Vietnam. In some cases they lack a basic understanding of what factories need in order to quote a price.

I know what the factories need to quote price. I know the questions the startups should be asking. I have heard all the horror stories about working with small factories that did not deliver as promised. I know what you will face as you start to work in Vietnam and I can help you either deal with an existing problem or prepare you to avoid those problems.

I exhibit every year at the Sourcing at Magic show where I meet new fashion start ups and also make contact with new suppliers that I can introduce you to. Now I get too many emails to help people individually for free so I wrote guidebooks to share all my knowledge and insider tips cost effectively and efficiently. If you are willing to pay me for my time and expertise then we can arrange for a Skype call to address your specific need. You can also sign up for my newsletter or listen to my podcast to learn more about Vietnam clothing manufacturers.

Many garment buyers source factories in Vietnam expecting cheap prices; at least, cheaper than China. They are usually disappointed and ask themselves, why did we come to Vietnam? What is Vietnam’s unique selling point? The Vietnam Garment Industry has four USPs; one of them is that Vietnamese merchandisers speak English well. Have you experienced this when working with Vietnamese clothing manufacturers?

Ok, you might say that is no reason to move production from China to Vietnam. True. You might also say that there are many Chinese merchandisers that speak English well. Also true. My point is that, after living in Vietnam for eight years, and having travelled to China to meet many Chinese factories I can confidently say, more Vietnamese speak English well than Chinese. I am talking about merchandisers that work in garment factories. Why?

What I see in Vietnam is a sincere push for education from the Government and my Vietnamese in-laws; at least, when it comes to learning English. It’s as if they have it in their blood. English is the ticket to success. I see this when working with Vietnamese clothing manufacturers. Vietnam is so pro-English that wealthy families send their kids abroad in High School. What I see happening is that the kids adopt English as their first language and consequently English culture as their dominant culture. I feel like some kids have lost touch with their Vietnamese identity yet know they will never be true Brits, Australians or Americans. The result is that even the kids who don’t have the money to study abroad learn English very well in Vietnam. There are English schools on every corner. Vietnamese elementary schools have separate classes taught in English. When you work with a Vietnamese garment factory, there is a very good chance the your point of contact will write, speak and joke in English proficiently.

Too many times I have arrived at a Chinese factory and worked with the sales person only to find out that their English is weak and their merchandisers don’t speak any English at all. When we talk garment technology they nod affirmatively but it’s obvious they don’t really get what I am saying. In Vietnam, you will encounter this scenario as well when working with Vietnamese clothing manufacturers, but not as often as China. Conclusion is that Vietnamese merchandisers speak English well and this is #1 of 4 unique selling points of the Vietnam garment industry.