Manufactory Apparel Retail selling Jerseys

3 steps to size up your customers

Logo, check. Facebook page, check. T-shirts... Stickers?

Your brand needs product, and you have 2 options:

  1. Use someone elses products and stamp your logo all over it.
  2. Create a custom look unique to your brand and customer, managing every detail from stitch color to custom labels.


If you have been searching recently on alibaba, or approached your local screen printer about your new T-shirt design, you will have heard this acronym pop-up.

MOQ, is short for 'minimum order quantity'

When you're starting out as brand and considering anything (and everything) from t-shirts to keychains - MOQ sounds about as scary as getting an accountant.

Breaking down this number, comes down to how much you know about your customer.

In this example we will use 100 pieces - a standard MOQ within Manufactory Apparel, also because this is a common hurdle where businesses realise they are making a volume order.

What we imagine 100 pieces to look like!

Manufactory Apparel Retail selling 6000pcs
The biggest mistake you can make:
looking at the 'MOQ' as a number,
and not as your customers

Why there is a minimum order quantity set by a supplier - is an entire new discussion - let's start with 'how' to look at this number, to be able to apply it to your business model and brand.

Step 1 - Gender equality

Firstly, you'll need to consider which genders your targeting. Male or Female or both.

If you split this down the middle right away, 100 (that big scary number) becomes only 50 pieces per gender.

Step 2 - David or Goliath

Secondly, you'll need to visualise this part - think of the smallest size person your selling to, a friend or relative, and next, think of the largest person.

Breathe: (Remember the biggest mistake)
You are not ordering 100 t-shirts just for you!

It is more effective (and relevant) if you can picture your customers face and body shape next to the size. These two sizes, the smallest and largest, are going to be less common in any commercial market.

Commerical sizing was invented to hit the mark 9 times out of 10 - based on the average human size - therefore the most popular sizes will be… you guessed it … in the middle.

Manufactory Apparel size chart T-shirt

Step 3 - Malcolm in the Middle

Lastly, you should be looking at your data or research for this last step. The more time you take to analyse your customer and sales numbers, will help your business learn which sizes to refine - which will make your orders more efficient and you will not be left with unsaleable sizes.

This may be your first order, the easiest practice will be to allocate a percentage each size:

  • 11% Smallest size (Size S)
  • 26% Average size (Size M)
  • 26% Average size (Size L)
  • 26% Average size (Size XL)
  • 11% Largest size (Size XXL)

Two ways to achieve a size break

What your size break will look like

Summary: testing - 'your plan'

It's very common for us to get cold feet. Panic will set in, and the financial outlay that's required for the MOQ, will look like an invoice - and not an investment. This is a reflection of your planning. If you need to do a small 'test' order - you need to ask yourself what are you testing?

  • Are you unsure of the design you chose?
  • Are you unsure of the market you have chosen?
  • Are you unsure of your selling price?

If you know your customer, know your business model and know your sales plan - you will know if your ready to retail fashion, or if you need to keep your business a hobby for a little longer.

What 100 pieces actually looks like.

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