We have been in the oem/private label business as well as our own in-house brands for the past 6 years. Our most senior staff have been sewing for over 30 years. We are not looking to take on any private label business at this time unless you are familiar with the process of apparel manufacture. The unfortunate fact is that product design, prototyping, sample making takes time and is expensive. Most design/entrepreneurs just starting out are not prepared for the investment that this process requires to be done correctly and head off warranty/return items.
The next challenging step once product is in hand is having your story heard and selling. This is no easy task. Trust me, we have done it with 4 or 5 of our own in-house brands with one of them securing national major network airtime about every day of the week and that is still no silver bullet. If you are considering making a living from what you are doing, you should run the numbers. If you are going to make 600 of one style and it retails for $25, will that pay all your business costs and overhead as well as make a living wage for you? I know crowdfunding looks appealling these days. However, realize that crowdfunding is usually used to fund a single unique project and not fund general business expenses on an operating business with many moving parts.
An alternative to jumping in to the manufactuing arena right out of the gate is to parnter with a vertically integrated manufacturer like us which is creating some stock items that allow for you to brand them with your name/brand/logo. Our specialty is waterproof breathable seam sealed outerwear. But, we can make a broad range of textiles. (We do not do leather) Let's face it, most consumers can not differentiate between 5 black jackets that have 5 different logos. Meaning a Columbia, North Face, Patagonia, Under Armour, and Nike jacket can all look the same when you remove their logos. Why not skip the design, manufacturing, warehousing, fulfillment steps getting started and concentrate on refining your distribution model. I can tell you that you do not need to sew it, if you can't sell it.
I don't mean to deflate anyone's dreams and would never ever suggest that you "cannot" do something. We were told that we could "not" compete with the cheap overseas labor with the styles that we produce but we have proven our industry wrong. However, our in-house brands are still not household names in spite of having years of publicity, customers, and the daily impressions on one of the three primary US national TV networks.
Take a look at americancoatcompany.com and if you want to have further discussion regarding our "Brand on Demand" services drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org We will be adding more and more styles to our offering as time goes on.
Have a great day !