Apparel Buying House - An Overview

An apparel buying house works as a mediator between apparel buyers (retailers) and garment manufacturers (export houses, garment suppliers). Apparel buying houses are also known as buying agency and buying office.

International apparel brands

Buying office may be the buyer’s regional office or an independent company that works with multiple buyers. For example, H&M has its own regional buying office to the sourcing countries. On the other hand, Asmara International is a buying house that works with many buyers, brands and High street retailers.

There is two way to know more about a buying house. One, services provided by buying houses or functions of apparel buying house in the apparel supply chain. Second, what all departments are there in a buying house?

Major functions of a buying house

A buying house may provide a number of services to their buyers. In this post I have listed down major services provided by most of the apparel buying houses.
  • Product development and sampling for buyers
  • Finding good suppliers for their buyers
  • Order processing from local vendors
  • Contacting buyers and taking approval on developments, samples, swatches, strike offs etc.
  • Forwarding buyers comments on samples and buyers requirement to vendors
  • Giving local approvals to vendors
  • Follow up order processing with vendors (export houses)
  • Take care of product quality from sample development to final inspection
  • Sometimes buying houses do outsourcing of fabrics and trims for buyers and vendors
  • Conducting social compliance audit at vendor factories
  • Shipping and logistics

Different departments in a buying house

A buying office may be run by a couple of people from a single room office to a big office equipped with various departments and dozens of employees. A middle-size buying house is set with the following departments.
  • Design and product development
  • Technical team (Pattern making and fit approval)
  • Merchandising team
  • Quality assurance team
  • Sampling room with few sewing machines and tailors
  • Shipping and Documentation
  • Textile testing lab
  • Sourcing of fabric and trims
  • Factory compliance audit team
  • Shipping and documentation
  • Other administrative departments

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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