Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article
There are hundreds of Swimwear suppliers in Mainland China. But how do you know which one is the right choice for your products?
In this article, you will learn what ecommerce businesses must know about importing swim and beachwear from China – including the following:
- How to find the right manufacturer?
- Why you should NOT buy wholesale swimwear
- How to customize the design
- How to select the right material
- Buying private label swimwear
- MOQ requirements
a. Manufacturers and Wholesalers
In this section, I will cover the different types of products in China, and what you should look for when sourcing suppliers on Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com.
What kind of Swimwear products can I source in China?
Most Swimwear manufacturers in China, specialize in a certain type, or material, of Swimwear. Some suppliers may be focused on making boardshorts, while others primarily make bikinis or wetsuits.
While there are not distinct categories of suppliers in the industry, a few product categories follow below:
- Rash Guards
- Compression wear
- Swimming trunks
Some Swimwear suppliers are making related products in the broader sportswear category. For example, many Yoga wear suppliers also make similar compression wear.
Keep in mind that you should look for a supplier that is specialized in your specific type of textiles, rather than looking for one that is offering a broad selection.
Should I work with a Swimwear factory or Wholesaler?
Most Swimwear Wholesalers on Aliexpress, DHgate and other wholesale websites, tend to sell products made for the domestic Chinese market.
This is not necessarily an issue, unless you are based in Europe, the US or Australia.
Why is that?
Because most developed markets have strict regulations that apply to Swimwear, such as the following:
- Chemical and heavy metal restrictions in fabrics
- Textile labeling requirements
First, Swimwear made for the Chinese market don’t carry English language textiles labels. Second, they are not made in compliance with EU or US substance regulations, such as REACH or CA Prop 65.
Given that the customs authorities can refuse your shipment to enter the country if it’s non-compliant (i.e., not carrying the right labels), it’s crucial to get it right as an importer.
As a result, buying from a Wholesaler is often a no go. This is also the case for other textile products.
But, China has plenty of qualified Swimwear manufacturers that can make products in compliance with overseas chemical and labeling requirements.
Further, buying from a factory also enables you to get the product made according to your custom designs. That is not an option when buying ‘ready made’ wholesale products.
Where can I find qualified suppliers?
Most Swimwear manufacturers are listed on Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com, so this is where I suggest you start looking.
When you select a supplier in this industry, look for the following:
- Are they specialized in your type of swimwear? (i.e., Boardshorts)
- Do they have any test reports? (i.e., REACH)
- Do they have a quality management system? (i.e., ISO 9001)
- Do they have social compliance certification? (i.e., BSCI)
- Do they have any brand name customer references? (i.e., Billabong)
There are also swimming and beachwear manufacturers in Vietnam, India and other Asian countries. Yet, most non-China based factories still use Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com.
b. Product Design
In this section, I will cover the different design options available when importing swim and beachwear from suppliers in China.
Can I buy Private Label (ODM) Swimwear?
Yes, most suppliers can offer private label products. However, keep in mind that you must request the following material from the supplier:
- Material specification
- Design drawings
- Size table
- Bill of Materials
Keep in mind that the same product can be made with various material qualities. Thus, you must confirm which material options they offer for a certain SKU, before ordering.
Can I customize the design?
Yes, as long as you provide a design drawing, size table, material specification and bill of materials (component list), the supplier can make any swimwear design entirely according to your specification.
As mentioned though, you should only work with Swimwear suppliers that are specialized in your product.
In other words, don’t try to make a wetsuit manufacturer put together a pair of boardshorts.
How do I select the right material?
Most suppliers have a set of standard materials, for their various products. As such, you can request material samples delivered by airmail.
If you don’t find any suitable material in their standard catalogue, you can source a material supplier on your own, that will later on ship the fabrics to the swimwear manufacturer.
The material supplier doesn’t have to be located in China, or even Asia for that matter.
Many technical fabrics that are used when manufacturing swimwear are developed and manufactured in Europe – while the Chinese suppliers only do the end production.
Can I get product samples?
Yes, you can always get product samples from your supplier. If not, they surely got something to hide.
As a matter of fact, buying product samples is a mandatory part of the process.
That said, you must prepare the techpack (as explained above) before ordering a product samples – regardless of whether or not you buy a custom designed product or private label product.
What is the MOQ per product?
The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement when importing swim and beachwear products from China is generally around 500 pcs per product.
As for most textile products, however, there is more than one MOQ requirement to keep track of:
- MOQ per order: 500 pcs
- MOQ per material: 500 pcs
- MOQ per color: 250 pcs
- MOQ per design: 250 pcs
- MOQ per size: 50 pcs
Thus, you can tweak your order to ‘fit in’ more than one color or design in that ‘per order MOQ’.
c. Trade shows in Mainland China and Hong Kong
Not interested in sourcing swimwear factories on Alibaba.com or other B2B directories? Check out some of these massive trade shows in Mainland China and Hong Kong:
Global Sources Fashion Fair
Held twice per year in Hong Kong’s Asia World Expo, just a few minutes from the airport, this trade show hosts some of the best Swim and beachwear manufacturers from Mainland China and elsewhere in Asia.
Hong Kong Fashion Week
The HK Fashion Week is held in Wanchai, on Hong Kong island. This is one of the largest trade shows for apparel and textiles, and you will find a large number of swimwear suppliers here – ranging from small trading companies to some of the largest factories in the industry.
The Hong Kong Fashion Week is also a place for international brands to show their latest products.
This is the largest, and perhaps the most well known, of all trade shows in China. The Canton Fair is held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou. You will find hundreds of apparel and textiles suppliers, including many swimwear suppliers.
Unlike the other trade shows in Hong Kong and Mainland China, that are not exclusively focused on swimwear – Interfiliere Shanghai is perhaps the largest trade show in this specific industry.
Here you will find manufacturers and material suppliers for swimwear, beachwear, undergarments and more.
Do you want to import Swimwear from Asia?
It can be hard to go from a design drawing to finished product. To help you manage the entire process – from creating a specification, to sampling and quality control – we created a Starter Package for Apparel & Textiles:
a. Swimwear Manufacturer Lists
b. Product Specification Templates
c. Label Samples (USA & EU)
d. Tutorials, Video Walkthroughs and Task Lists that guide you step-by-step through the entire process
In addition, you can also book quality inspections, lab testing and shipping directly from the platform. Click here to learn more.