Meet Vietnamese Factories Face to Face

Working with a factory is like being adopted into a family. If you don’t feel that way, then you haven’t found what I consider to be a “good” factory. Let me explain the characters in the story starting with the decision maker.

The idiom “get into bed with someone” means to work closely as business partners, and it’s especially applicable to the garment industry. So many things can go wrong and destroy an order; it’s important for you to carefully take everything in to consideration before you jump into bed with the first factory that feels right. If there is no spark in the relationship, then proceed cautiously. The key is to find a natural fit, and then structure the deal so that both sides have a lot to win and the same to lose; then you will be fine. Sounds easy, right? Like putting socks on a rooster. Ok, let’s assume you found your true love. So, who are the people in the factory you will be working with?

  • Decision Maker
  • Sales Staff
  • Lead Merchandiser
  • Merchandising Assistant
  • Pattern Maker in Vietnam
  • Accountant
  • Logistics

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How can I help you hire a pattern maker in Vietnam?

I can introduce you to a pattern maker in Vietnam specializing in woven fashion styles. Finding a pattern making in Vietnam for knitted items is a bit harder. All reputable factories have pattern makers on staff but they are very busy with ongoing orders. I can use my inside connections to ask for a favor and get the garment pattern made for a small fee.

Forming a bond with factory staff is important and it takes time. The factory culture and language is different than ours so patience and understanding is required to get through situations where we are asking for a favour.

I can help you get your patterns made in Vietnam. Keep reading to learn more about the staff you will work in a Vietnamese sewing factory in addition to pattern makers in Vietnam.
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Decision Maker

Most likely you will not meet this person during your first interaction with the factory. He or she is the person that can move mountains and it’s critical that you bond with that person ASAP. The decision maker will be the one to speed your order up when it is behind schedule. The decision maker is the one who will fight, on your behalf, with the sub-contractor who screwed up all your sleeve embroideries. The decision maker is the one you will negotiate payment terms with. If the decision maker does not have you on their radar, then you’re stuck on first. The sooner you figure out who that person is, and build that relationship, the better off you will be. Usually you have to work with the sales staff and or lead merchandiser a few times before you meet the VIP.

Sales Staff

You want to graduate from the sales person as soon as possible. They usually don’t know the technical aspects of the business like fabrics, trims, packing etc. No need to waste time “talking tech.” Moreover, they are not able to do pricing exercises, which is your first order of business. Assuming you have your tech packs, order quantities and desired delivery times, you are ready to work directly with the merchandisers.

Lead Merchandiser

The lead merchandiser is the workhorse that will help you hammer out the details. She is the one that will educate you when you are not sure what to do. She is the one who will offer you options to meet your target price without sacrificing quality. She is your partner in crime, but not the final decision maker. You will email and Skype with the merchandiser every day, into the wee hours of the night (seriously – due to the the 12 hour time difference.) She is the one that will communicate with the production team to solve problems during production. Each lead merchandiser has many assistants that may or may not communicate with you. Always remember who is boss; it’s best to either CC or communicate directly with the lead merchandiser. The lead merchandiser has a direct line of contact to the decision maker who – don’t forget – is the VIP.

Pattern Maker in Vietnam

If you visit the factory and work directly with the team then you will be able to meet and work with the pattern maker in Vietnam. Every factory has them. Finding a freelance pattern maker in Vietnam is difficult. The reason is that there is not enough demand for freelancing. My best suggestion is to approach one of the hundreds of tailors in Saigon. Tailors don't do mass production and therefore have more time to stop what they are doing and work with you. Tailors employ at least one pattern maker in Vietnam. If you offer to pay them $10/hour I think they would be happy. If you offer to work outside business hours then they won't get in trouble with the tailor shop owner. Finding a freelance pattern maker in Vietnam is challenging. Working with a pattern maker in Vietnam is easy if you work with the sewing factory's team or the tailor's team.


When it is time for a payment, there is a good chance you will communicate directly with the accountant to get bank details and follow money transfers. They are the ones who will push you for payments to keep your orders from being delayed. Remember to CC the lead merchandiser and decision maker.


Usually you won’t have to communicate much with the logistics team because their work is standardized and they work directly with your freight forwarding company. They might need to get some information like warehouse addresses etc., but most likely the lead merchandiser will get that from you and pass it on to logistics.

In conclusion, you work with a team and each team member has an important function. It is important to build a friendly and fun relationship with the decision maker and lead merchandiser. The closer you are to them, the sooner you will find out about problems and solve them quickly. When you visit Vietnam, bring them simple and genuine gifts. Plan to have dinner with them. I can’t stress enough how critical it is to be part of and close to the “family.” The garment business can be very profitable but if your order is either late or done poorly “you can lose your shirt” as the old saying goes.