The day I bought my little Factory

image(3)Funny how your life turns out right?

I find myself stood thinking this as I navigate miles and miles of bumpy alleys and dusty backstreets via Google maps on my iPad looking to buy my first factory in China.

I came here in February this year with the intention of buying and exporting products I had imported in the past from Taiwan and China. Things I am very familiar with like Bikes, GPS and CCTV.  Now I’m about to open a factory manufacturing something that up until a few months ago had never sold before in my life. Is this a leap of faith too far?

China is undoubtedly a great place to export goods from. That statement is undoubtedly pretty obvious, but since being here I have sold a crazy array of goods from mobile phones to diesel engines. Sure, if there is a market out there I have been selling it. To succeed here I guess you have to be adaptable, willing to learn and keep an open mind.

One market I have been moving more and more into is Clothing, both formal, fashion,sports and work wear. I really like these products as unlike something along the lines of complex consumer electronics they have a really low risk ratio in relation to fail rates and faults. This coupled with the fact that there production value allows you to buy a relatively large order for low outlay makes them an attractive investment for importers world wide. I have been selling clothing now for about 5/6 months and have learnt a lot along the way. From materials to the manufacturing techniques that save on production costs I am starting to learn the tricks of the trade.

A lot of the garments I order can be in small runs of around 500-1000 units. This is an order size that some factories are happy to produce but for a premium price, the larger factories that offer better pricing are simply too busy to scale down for an order of this size. This has meant that on these smaller orders I have faced many seemingly unavoidable issues that have frustrated both me and my customers.

The biggest issue I have is long or extended lead times. This is painfully familiar as everyone eagerly quotes a 10 day production lead time before constantly pushing your order around to fit in with bigger more “Important” orders. And if you complain then there is a risk that the product will be rushed and finished to a poorer standard than agreed. Sure you can then complain further and get them made again but kiss goodbye to another 4 weeks.

Another issue I have faced is apparent when dealing with high fashion and seasonal items. Its pretty obvious that if a garment is on trend and in high fashion it is going to command a higher retail price. What this also means though is the factory will charge what they can for the item instead of what it costs. For example the cost of an on trend army style parka jacket now here will be about 12 GBP from a factory even though in 6 months time when it’s not on trend it will be 8 GBP. So you’re paying about 35% extra on a pure supply and demand basis.

I have battled hard here to get around these issues and tried many various methods. From forging some very good relationships with factory owners, buying the material myself and then delivering it to the factories for them to produce the goods, spending hours going over the exact production costs of a garment to understand exactly where the money is going. I have tried everything. I have not tried to hand sew any garments in my apartment….

I reached a tipping point about 2 months ago on a specific type of garment I have been selling for about 4 months now. This garment costs me 4 GBP and has done so from the first 150 unit order I placed to the last 3000 unit order I placed. The price has not come down. I was told every time that I tried to negotiate the price that I was given the best price when I initially bought it because they “Know I am a valued customer” – a line which cuts through me like fingernails on a chalk board.

I’m not stupid and from pricing this item of clothing up from material to manufacturing costs I knew it should come down in price.

I decided that enough was enough and spent 4 days driving to various cities and redneck locations trying to get a better price. I stopped in on various grades of factories from 4 person set ups to 1000 person monsters. All of them were actually more expensive, perhaps I am a valued customer after all? Then on the last day when I was about to pack in I came across the best factory I have ever visited. A young guy about 36 with a super slick set up making just one thing – The garment I was looking for. He was producing 5,000 units of this garment per day in various styles.

I have never seen such a busy operation. Luckily for me he had never seen anyone from England and gave me some of his time to show me around his operation. As things unfolded it turned out he is the main guy for this garment and actually produces it for a lot of other “Factories” out there who had been giving me quotes. Something I could soon see apparent when he showed me a specific machine integral in the manufacture of this piece that none of the other factories had.

Great I thought, this is my guy. His quote came in cheaper than anyone else and I had 100% found the most direct source for this product. The down side was that he couldn’t make my little 3000 unit order for another 6-8 weeks, he was simply too busy and to be fair to him he was not joking.

This was the final straw, I had been eating food from the middle of nowhere for too long and all for nothing. I have to mention that as its winter here it is Dog Season with most local restaurants in suburban areas serving “Hoi-sin Hound” as its believed it keeps you warm!


I decided that if I was to really resolve this problem and minimise the chances of me eating a dog I had to buy my own factory.

This presented me with two small problems. Firstly I don’t really know anything about running a clothing factory and secondly I cannot say “How much is this factory please” in Chinese. Both of these problems I felt I could resolve with the help of some staff so that was it, my mind was made up.

In my defense I do feel this is a reasonably calculated move. It won’t really increase my profit too much but this is not why I want to do this. I need to find a solution to the issues mentioned above thus allowing me to offer my customers a quicker turnaround, more realistic pricing and ultimately a better service.

As I have built up some good relationships with other factory owners I decided this was the most realistic place for me to start this journey. I was not greeted with the warmest of welcomes with this idea and in reality I think they are certain I am insane. I get that though. If a guy who didn’t speak a word of English and didn’t know how to build bikes came to England and wanted to buy my bike company 8 years ago I would have thought he was insane too. So…… it soon became known that an insane English boy wanted to buy a factory in China and the offers soon came flooding in.

I was aware that my greatest issue here is going to be getting ripped off because I’m a foreigner. I am used to it now and I get it tried on me on a daily basis. Its all part of the routine of doing business in China and now by default I don’t trust anyone or anything. I know for a fact when I get back to England I will be opening my Starbucks to check there is really coffee inside.

I have a few times been mistaken as someone from North China as apparently the Muslims from this area have a tan, dark eyes and a shaved head. So, I decided to roll with the punches, shave my head and pretend I was from North China. Yes I am aware I am sounding more insane as this story progresses.


I spent a lot of time looking in some remote locations for the perfect set up. I was looking for somewhere that was struggling for new orders (so they would be looking to sell), not too big, reasonably clean with safe electrics and close to a community of quality workers. It became apparent that a lot of factories are struggling for orders and it was quite sad to see. Most memorable of which is this factory shown below which was manufacturing sportswear clothing for one large sportswear customer and no one else.

This is a brand that you will all know but it seems to have disappeared off the map now and thus so will this factory. They were paying the bills by knocking out the odd over order from other factories near by and it really was a skeleton operation with the staff sleeping on beds next to the machines they were working on and the owner living in his office.


It was for sale for a reasonable price but the place was in terrible state and would require rewiring and gutting – a project I didn’t want to take on for my first factory.

After trawling through countless suburban areas I came across what I felt was an amazing deal a few days later and decided to go for it. The price was pretty high but the machinery was all under 2 years old. Definitely far too big for my current needs but with it being pretty close to my office I figured I could use the extra space as overspill for my stock from the trading company.

I took a dislike to the current owner as he was pretty vile to the staff that were still there. It became apparent that he was blaming the failure of his business on his staff and equally unfathomable mother. Still the factory was great and it was obvious he had been making good money at one point as it had clearly had money spent on it.

At the last moment the owner decided he wanted me to give him a substantial cash kicker to close the deal, in my mind absolutely out of the question and I was pretty angry that he tried to sneak it in. I decided to walk away as I had now lost the little amount of trust I had with him.

So around 30 factories later, two long weeks in and a lot of miles added to my Chinese Jeep I was no further forward and beginning to think maybe I would not be able to get this done.

Enter Ken and Coco. I have been buying garments from these two for about 6 months and they are perhaps 2 of the nicest, straightest people I have met in China. Hard working and both at 28 years old they have gone from factory floor workers from a village in north China to owners of a factory here in Guangzhou along with 2 clothing shops selling products both retail and wholesale.

I was in Kens office the day after the deal I mentioned above and in passing my assistant brought it up. He was aware of me trying to buy a factory and had given me some advice along the way such as location and what machinery to look out for. Ken was blown by the price and said that I was still being taken advantage of due to being a foreigner. Granted my hair had started to grow back at this stage.

Ken mentioned a factory close to his that he knew was for sale and felt it would be a good place for me to take a look at. Later that day we headed over.
This factory was owned and lived in by a nice couple who once had a pretty good business making coats. Rises in wages and material costs have squeezed  the margins so much for them that they could no longer compete with the larger factories in the area. They had been here for 7 years and at its peak the factory employed around 30 staff over its 2 floors. They have not produced any garments for over 4 months and have decided to move back to their home town some 8 hours away to open another business.


I really liked this place from the off for a few reasons. Firstly it is right next to Ken and Coco’s factory which is an area I already know and am aware that a lot of very skilled workers live within this community. Secondly the owner installed a new air conditioning system here about a year ago as a way of ensuring he would get the best possible workers as naturally good working conditions mean you will attract the better skilled workers. And lastly the machines he has are all less than 2 years old.


I felt like this was a good starting point for my venture into owning and operating a factory here and decided to do a deal on the spot. A decision I was not expecting to make when I got out of bed that morning but one I was very happy with when I went to bed that night. One contract, some green tea and a painful exchange of money later I was in possession of around 986 keys and my own factory.


The next morning it was time to assess what needed to happen next and how I was going to do it. The factory already had the majority of machines I needed. Namely 14 flat bed machines, 6 edge seam machines, a crazy pressure steam iron machine which I swear looks like its capable of time travel, a large 6m cutting bed with sheet and pattern cutting machines and several other assembly machines. All in all I have a good range of machines meaning I can produce most garments at a rate of around 500 units per day. Pretty intense.

As I am planning to produce some rather specialist garments I needed to buy a few other specialist machines especially some machines that the locals here call the “special machine”. This special machine is pretty important for me as quite a few garments that i sell use the very specific 3 and 4 cross stitch seam that his machine can make.

I decided to buy the best possible machines for this as the quality of this stitch is important to me and I know that if the staff complain about how hard it is to get this stitch to look perfect then they can not blame the machine, as my grandad used to say – a good workman never blames his tools. Well in china they seem to like to blame their tools so a least I can minimise the things to complain about. To save some money I ended up importing these machines from Taiwan and I was like a kid at Christmas when we started getting them set up ready for production.


During this time i was also looking for staff for the factory with the help of two of my office staff from my trading company. This was a pretty long and difficult process as I was being very picky about the level of staff I wanted to hire. We posted many adverts and chased up many leads to find the type of staff I was looking for. It was interesting to see the response from locals as we put up adverts, they were visibly baffled by it all.

Another thing that was interesting was adverts from local prisons where the inmates are also available to sew garments while serving time. Apparently this is quite popular with factories as wage costs rise here.

When hiring staff you are also responsible for living accommodation and food. I had a bit of a problem with this. One factory I visited was just preparing supper for the workers when I arrived. Out of interest I asked what they ate. Being mostly from one rural northern province I was told that they eat field mice as this is what they would eat back home. Problem here being that the field mice you get in down town Guangzhou are rats.


I was pretty mortified at the thought of being responsible for my staff eating something like this and decided that if they want to eat this type of thing then fine but I don’t want anything to do with it. I decided it best to pay them directly to find their own dining arrangements.

In an effort to leverage the best staff possible from other factories I also decided to offer a 25% wage increase on what other factories were offering along with giving a bonus structure and living expenses contribution.

This seemed to have the desired effect and soon we got some great staff pop in and show us what they could do. In an interview method I’m sure most of them thought was ludicrous i asked each of them to show me 5 examples of work they did as I sat and watched. Some actually refused to do so, perhaps they found it insulting of me to ask them to do this but I didn’t mean anything by it, I just needed to know they could do what I needed and this seemed the most logical way to me.


After about 10 days and a few hundred meters of fabric I had the basis of my factory workforce sorted. No, none of them speak any English.

It was obvious I would need a very good member of staff as a go between for the factory boss Mr Xi and me. I had now been working at the factory from 8am till 11pm pretty much 7 days a week as this is the standard opening hours of a factory here. This meant I was more than aware of the long hours and stress that would be associated with this job role which meant only one thing. This staff member would be expensive.

After a long and fruitless effort to find this member of staff I looked back at the workforce already at my disposal and approached one of my office girls who I already know is an extremely hard worker and I have a good degree of trust in her. At 28 this job role is a good opportunity for Jessie to further enhance her experience and perhaps move towards a stable career in mid management keeping an eye on these 14 new workers.

I felt a great deal of weight lifted from my shoulders when she agreed to take the job as I know with her relaying information to and from the factory the operation should be as smooth as possible. Of course this resulted in a considerable salary increase for her but I was more than happy to do so, I feel it is entirely worth paying for something that is worth paying for and nothing is worth paying for more than a member of staff who will minimise problems and make the running of this factory as efficient as I would like.

My idea now is to slowly move production of garments and accessories I am already manufacturing at third party factories to my own factory over the coming months. By moving them over one production run at a time I can iron out any problems – as let’s face it there will some, while carefully monitoring production times and costings of each product.

In addition to my existing wholesale orders I also plan to then produce the top selling garments on eBay in house here at very high quality and what I hope to be very competitive prices. In theory this should work pretty well as now I’m not just at the source I am the source.

So three weeks after taking on the factory all machines are in place, staff are hired and material is in stock. Now to produce my first order.

80 thoughts on “The day I bought my little Factory

  1. i can see I’m late across this post also. just stumbled across your story as it sound extremely familiar. I’m from Aus and my family business has had a factory running in Sri Lanka for the last 18 months. “funny how you life turns out” truer words could not have been said! new twists and turns never seem to end but we have learnt to accept them and know we’re heading in the right direction as surprises become fewer and fewer.
    same reasons as yourself for setting up our own operation – leadtime, letdown by suppliers, inconsistency etc.
    can I ask why you chose China? any regrets?

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for the comment, Interesting to hear about your factory in Sri Lanka – lovely country, my mother is from there. I have visited a couple of woodwork shops there but never a clothing factory.

      I chose China because of the logistical advantage and ease of material choices here though with rising costs I’m now looking elsewhere, easier said than done though. Chinas advantage is simply that its easier here than elsewhere as everything is already in place for you to do business. Will this be enough to keep people here in the long run? I don’t think so.

      What garments do you make in Srilanka? i would be interested to discuss this further if you want to drop me an email?



  2. Hi,

    I know it’s probably a tad late and you’re probably busy going onto even bigger things but I’ve just come across this your post aged 18, from the UK and wow, all I can say is that I’m honestly really inspired to take a leaf out of your book and do something seemingly crazy to achieve my goals.

    Could you tell me how much it cost you to buy your factory (or do you rent the premises?)? Also, did you fund this investment via your bike company in the UK or not?

    And did you go to the country on your own or did you have someone there to help you suffer less from things like culture/language barriers?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Commercial property here in the province i have my factories is always leasehold from the local government. They are pretty clever like that. Both my factories are rented and i don’t own the 4 walls. I did however pay for the roof and floor on my second factory.

      I made enough money in my first year here to open the first factory but it was not that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

      I moved here alone and hired staff when i arrived. To be honest it was very difficult in the beginning and its still quite difficult now.


  3. I have found your story to be so interesting. I live in Freeport, Bahamas. I am a wholesaler here. I was in Guangzhoz last year and attended the Canon fair. I would like to meet yu when I return again this year if possible,

  4. hi very inspiring story. is it possible to have your contact (email, phone number, factory address). im looking to start my own production line and need expert advice how to go about it. hope you can be of help.

  5. Loved reading the story buddy. It’s inspiring to see how dedicated and honest you were at following your goals and this is definitely an indicator for much success in the future. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Tom I appreciate the comment. I hope all of this comes to something worthwhile but inside i know if i keep my head down and focus it will.

      Take it easy.


  6. Hi I’m looking to start a clothing business and buy a factory too. Is there any way I could contact you for more advice? Cheers, Kim

  7. I just stumbled on your blog researching the canton trade fair, and I’m hooked. I’ve just read back through so many of your posts. Thank you for sharing and for being so honest. I’m an Aussie small fry just wondering if I should dip my toe in. You’ve equally terrified me and excited me.

    All the best to you.

  8. Hi Daniel,
    I stumbled on your post – really interesting. I’m having an incredibly frustrating time buying from China, to the point I think I might learn to sew! Do you provide a buying/sourcing service?
    Good luck with your venture – very brave.

    • Without a doubt if my Chinese was better It would make my life a little easier but teamed with some great staff even my very basic mandarin seems to get me by just fine, maybe when I have some more free time I can tune it up.


  9. Great story, and wish you well.Based upon what i have seen with how you operate then I think maybe we can talk further with doing some business.

  10. Hi Daniel,
    Great post & wish you all the best with your new venture. By the way I’ve sent you an email a couple of days ago and I was wondering you have received it.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    All the best


  11. Very interesting read! I admire your perseverance, prudence, street smarts, and optimism! It is good that you already know what you want and the process of how to achieve that goal is equally clear. I must say that your management style is great. I agree that China has a lot of opportunities. I hope you succeed.

    • Hey mason, thanks for saying so. Yeah I think I am perhaps the most optimistic person alive, I’m painfully optimistic at times but I feel that sometimes its all you need to succeed. After all, these days success is often followed by intense perserverence and for that all you need is optimism.

      Here’s wishing you a slice of optimism for the new year.

      All the best.


  12. You certainly have one big set of balls so to speak lol in taking something like this on.I love your blog i have followed it for some time and already run quite a successful clothing business here in the UK. I have some ideas i would like to talk to you personally about what is your skype name

    • Thanks for saying so Rick, it’s amazing what you can achieve when you really want a Lambo right? Ha ha.

      Please feel free to add me on Skype and see if we can do something together, my user name is danielcassidy1984.


  13. Another inspiring post, can’t believe how far you have come in such a short space of time. Brave to say the least. I remember the reservations i had signing on the dotted line for our warehouse over here in my own country with people who speak my own language. Ive actually pulled my finger out and im currently filling in your product requirement sheet. Have a few automotive products in mind.

    • Hi josh, good to hear from you again.

      Yeah signing into a new agreement is daunting anywhere, maybe even more so in the uk at the moment the way things are?

      I have been quite sick for the last month but back catching up with things now, please drop me an email and we can pick up on your project.


  14. This post recall my memory about this July when you were keen on opening a assembling work shop yourself to produce the electronic stuffs, I’d say opening a garments factory is better for you.

    Do you know “Vancl”? It is not a world famous brand, but it becomes a well-known brand in China after only five years developing. I mean your hard working had been seen for all of us, you will get the mountain top (your dream) one day. Cant wait to see your garment website (b2c online shop?)
    By the way, the flu is a signal from your body: dont overdrive too much, have some rest.

    • Yes i would still like to talk to you about a small gps workshop some time in the near future, one step at a time though.

      I am starting to sell some garments to the Chinese domestic market now, first signs look good.


    • Thanks Fred,

      Things are moving along here nicely, just got to keep my head down and keep moving along – sounds easy when i say it like that right? ha ha

      Look forward to doing some business with you in the future too, feel free to get in touch to bounce some ideas around.


  15. Daniel, what a great post! Such insight and business savvy at your young age. We are just getting started in ecommerce. My husband contacted you the other month, but we were too early to pull the trigger at that point. However, now that we are further along, we hope to do business with you soon. Can’t wait for your future blog updates… Good luck!

    • Thanks Anne,

      Really glad you liked the post. This process was quite emotional for me as on completion I could just not really believe the position I was in. I remember on the day we started production I had a very strong sense of achievement that i cant quite describe. It felt good and I think little feelings like that, even though they only last a few seconds, are worth all the crap that it takes to get there.

      Here is wishing you luck cutting through all the crap we all face along the way to get to your own business goals with your husband.



  16. Good work Dan! Was this the ‘secret project’ you hinted about when we saw you in October? I thought Simon and myself had achieved a lot setting our business up this year but you have made what we’ve done seem quite insignificant!!
    Good on you. Inspiring as always 🙂

    • Thanks James,

      Yes this is one of the things I was working on when I last saw you guys here, been a busy few months but I’m sure will be equally busy going forwards.

      For those of you reading this you probably wont know James and Simon from newly formed Novus Imports. Having worked for a large UK importer of homewares in the past Simon set up Novus only a few months ago along with James. In this short time they have re-visited china a few times where I have met up with them and seen first hand their passion for business and the niche they work in. With an expanding solid line of wall art as the base point for the business im sure we will see great things from these two guys, I certainly wish them all the best.

      You can view the Novus range at the spring fair in Birmingham during Feb of next year.

      Good luck lads.

  17. Great read son. You have worked so hard and I hope it works out for you. Bless Grandad, he would have been be so proud of you. You are right about being fair to your work force as they are the backbone of any company. Uncle Sunny use to say “to get quality you have to pay for it”. Well, he is an Accountant and he does know a thing or two about figures.
    Take care and get some rest.
    Love and miss you,

    • Thanks mum,

      The older i get the more a realise how easier my life would have been if id listened to the advice of those older than me. Now i try to take a step back before each decision and think how other people i know would and respect tackle it before decided how best to approach it. Its like having a virtual proofing team.

      Looking forward to seeing you all at Christmas. Cant wait to put of 6 stone from home cooked treats.


  18. Oh I did not know that workers’ salaries contributes small amount to total cost of garment, I know most factory owners want to pay less (even if its 50pounds saved) so i thought salaries are very sensitive to total cost..

    By the way you say that you are hiring new workers, does that mean you bought this factory without workers? In that case did you consider just leasing some space and buying equipment (instead of buying a “company”)? I am alway cautios when buying companies because they may have hidden debts or hidden bad contracts somewhere in the papers and you may not always notice them, and when you notice – its too late 🙂

    • Its difficult to put a figure on how much the salaries effect the price of a garment as it depends on the type of worker and type of garment but the major cost is the material on most of the garments i make. Something simple like a T-Shirt for instance a worker might be able to make 100 units a day on average so a salary increase of 50 GBP is not going to effect the net cost 3000 units too much but will greatly improve the workers lifestyle and work ethic. I guess it depends on how you want to look at it. For me i prefer this way.

      I did keep on some of the workers but realistically they were not producing amazing garments so i wanted to get in some really good new staff. I also looked at taking on an empty unit and buying in the machinery separately but it would have been complicated on both the paperwork front and timely buying in everything from scratch. I wanted to get this open and running within 2012. I think for my next factory i may well move all my machinery into a new larger unit as i have some ideas that will be a little out of the box.


      • When you said that 100 tshirts by 1 worker I had this crazy idea – micro garment factory. I have unused space here in Europe and I could set up 2-3 workers in here. Did you see such kind of small “garment factories” in China. Lets say 2 workers 100 tshirts a day each – thats no so small time for the beginner. Could I produce shirts and pants with the same type of machines used to produce t-shirts? 100 t-shirts, what would be aprox numbers in shirts and pants? Would it be possible for 1 worker to produce 40 shirts or 20 pants a day? Just a wild guess here 🙂

        • Hi,

          I can explain this to you in a bit more detail if you are interested? I will write a full blog post on garment assembly next time for you.

          For the type of t-Shirt i make here it takes 5 different workers to actually make it in the production chain, well 8 in total if you want to get specific. So actually 1 worker cannot make 100 on their own but averaged out across the whole workforce this is possible. Something i guess you wont realise, as i didnt up until a few months ago, is the variety of stitch methods used in the clothing we wear. This means that you need a pretty good variety of machines to make the array of goods you will want to make.

          A micro factory would be a cool idea in europe, i guess my factory here is a micro factory too. Only problems i can see is the costs. Your labor will be pretty expensive and the working yours short. You have to remember that normal working hours here are around 8am till 11pm 7 days a week 29 days a month. That does not include overtime that the staff here are more than keen to do.

          In China you do get little micro workshops with maybe 2/3 staff. They usually make clothing to order for retail and are quite expensive. A jacket i can produce in my factory for maybe 10 GBP will be 30 GBP from them but they seem to do good business still. Right now for instance they are doing a booming trade on puffer style jackets in custom colourways to local workers.

          Like i said, i will do a detailed post for you and if you need any more info or help just ask.


  19. Congratulations again Dan, the ‘insane English boy’ pulled it off. I cant imagine the headache involved with something like this. Not only starting it up but maintaining it.

    I have to say i think you are a better man than me too, id pick the easy life and just keep progressing things as a sourcing agent. But then maybe this is the next logical step toward the ‘lambo at the end of the tunnel’.

    I hope the effort to reward ratio works out for you. And i hope you can find enough time in your day to catch up with all your customers.. hint. I would really love to talk with you today regarding ordering some products.

    I look forward to reading about the first production run!

    • Hey Liam,

      Its pretty fair to say that this step has been a very large amount of work and a huge stress but my idea is that in the long run it will reduce work and stress. My biggest problems here always arise from a factory not telling me the truth and delaying products. It drives me mad. This step will hopefully in time reduce or completely cut out those problems meaning that the stress created by this in the short term will be worth it in the long term.

      Will catch you on skype and get that order sorted out.



      • Well Kudos to you again. Reminds me of a definition of an entrepreneur i read once: Living short term like most people wont, so you can live long term like most people cant.

  20. hi daniel you seem to be still living my dream fair play to you. since we last spoke i am in talks with factory in Bangladesh about work wear as i have had the same thoughts as you and opened a work wear shop here in the midlands. if you can meet my target price i would rather order from YMC

  21. All I can say is you are a much braver man than me. I am Chinese and also in the garment business and I do not have the stones to do half of what you did. Kudos man. If you need to know anything specific about running a garment production, hit me up. Cheers

    • Thanks Stephen, Appreciate your kind words.

      Please do feel free to get in touch, i would certainly appreciate any advice you can offer me and who knows we might be able to do something together.



  22. How much does average sewing factory worker earn (gross or net) in that part of China ( I know salaries difer from villages to big cities)?

    • That depends on the job role but lets talk about a regular seamstress using the flat bed machine. They get paid an average of 320 GBP a month here which is a pretty good salary. For instance starbucks pay around 200 a month. On top of that they also get living accommodation provided and food provided. For this they work 7 days a week and receive 1 day off a month – the day after payday.

      Obviously the better the worker the higher the salary. I decided to pay my seamstresses 400 GBP a month and 70 GBP to cover living expenses and accommodation. This technically means i should get a better class of worker and they can provide themselves with a decent living standard. You would be wrong to think this actually makes the garments more expensive as the bulk of the cost is in the materials. I see a lot of factory owners here have several Porsche’s/Lamborghini’s outside while the staff are getting paid low salaries so its pretty obvious where the surplus of the money is going.


  23. Hey Daniel,

    Another great post, you have certainly been very busy.
    I am looking forward to making my first order from your new factory.

    I have sent you a couple of e-mails recently, hope to receive a response from you soon…


    Dave V

  24. Nice to see you’re moving forward! Are you allowed to tell us in what region the factory cost (just to get an idea of how these things cost out there?)

    Also, how did you get your first order so early?! What kind of garments are you producing?

    • Thanks Jamal,

      I dont know if you remember but when i was living in the UK i spent a lot of time buying bankrupt company assets from places that were struggling in the recession. This taught me a few tricks on how best to value and negotiate the sale of a business or machinery etc. That seems to have paid off here and i certainly saved some money with the help of Ken. I suppose cost wise it is a pretty hefty commitment but one im sure will pay over the coming year. Even a simple thing like this monday morning im producing 4000 hoodies and i know they wont be delayed or messed around with. In my opinion this peace of mind is worth every penny.

      As i mentioned in the blog i already produce a lot of garments at third party factories so i will be moving them over to my own. The first run of products i did was timed with the opening and we finished a 3500 unit run last week. Was an amazing feeling. I will put a blog post up about it later on.



  25. Wow that is some journey you’ve been on over the past 10 months. I wonder what you would have thought if someone told you a year ago that in a year’s time you’d be living in China and own a clothing factory!

    • Thanks James, Yes your right. If someone had told me this time last year when i was still in England debating if i should book a flight here or not that i would be in this position i would not have believed it.

      Im very lucky to be in this position and i know i will never get this chance again so im working very hard everyday to get the most our of it. I hope it will pay off for me.


    • Thanks for the support.

      I don’t think i have even been this excited in my life, I’m very fortunate – its really cool to be in this position and i’m definitely going to make the most of it.


    • Thanks Andy, glad you enjoyed it.

      Next few weeks for me are now moving orders over here and working hard to get all the problems sorted so each run can move smoothly,

      Ill put up a post about the first production run shortly.


  26. Wow, awesome and impressive blog !

    Myself and two friends are looking to start an imports business out here, this blog is inspiring, I doubt we will be able to meet your moq just yet though but hopefully one day..

  27. Hey,

    Great read 🙂

    A long and tiring job welldone so far. Hope things pick up very fast in the factory as I am sure alot of eager customers are waiting patiently 😉

Any comments or questions? I'd love to hear them.