Small Batch Production: What Is It? And Why?

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SMALL BATCH PRODUCTION—

It’s a term that’s heard a lot in the sustainable, eco friendly, and ethical fashion world. But what does it mean? And why do companies use it.

Here’s your guide to understanding small batch production, what the term means, why companies produce this way, and why it’s beneficial!

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Small batch production, also called small batch manufacturing, means that a designer or label is producing lower quantities of product. In the fashion world, this means that the designer is making small quantities of garments each time they do production [cutting and sewing the garments at the factory or in their own offices]. Typically small batch production refers producing 500 or less garments of a particular style at a time.

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Small batch production is great for small companies, new companies, and companies looking to avoid mass production.

It’s important to note that mass producing items and garments is much more cost effective per piece; however, small batch production allows you to have much more control over what you are producing and control costs on a smaller scale. This is desirable to small and new companies because the overall costs are lower and more manageable than mass producing large quantities.

Producing in small batches also allows for fine tuning, fixing, correcting, and improving. One of the biggest benefits we have found to producing in small batches is that we can tweak our patterns in between production rounds to continually make our products better and better as we receive customer feedback.

Producing in small batches is also much more sustainable than mass production. Producing small quantities means less production waste and less product wasted.

During production there are tons of fabric off cuts [scraps] created, defective sections of fabric that must be avoided, color variations, etc that cause waste to be produced. Producing in smaller batches means producing less production waste.

Completely selling out of your final product in all sizes and all colors isn’t always a reality. Sometimes certain items are a miss and you have a handful of leftovers that just won’t sell. Producing in small batches allows for this extra waste to be much less than would be the case if you mass produced a “miss” item.

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Producing in small batches allows us to control our costs, which is very important as a small and new company. We also hate the idea of mass production and love creating small batches that are special and intentional.

One of our favorite parts of small batch production is being able to bring you guys new colors and new styles a bit more frequently than we would be able to do if we produced on a larger scale. If the colors or styles aren’t a best seller, we only made a small batch, making it more sustainable for the environment and for us as a company!

And our absolute most favorite thing about small batch production is being able to fine tune our patterns and constantly evolve our styles to meet your feedback.

Although this means we often sell out of certain sizes, colors, and styles, it means we can do stuff with love, intention, and care… for you and for the planet!

Thanks for shopping small with us!

Julia Ahrens