An online platform to manage, source, and scale apparel manufacturing
What we do: Sourceeasy is an online platform to manage, source, and scale international apparel manufacturing. We eliminate the inefficiencies of complicated apparel production using pre-determined manufacturing processes and vendors. Our online platform manages every step of the supply chain from design conception through production to delivery. All while cutting costs by 20%-60%.Why it's a big deal: Designers want to focus on building brands, not on filling out complicated manufacturer order forms only to wait on late shipments of apparel. Sourceeasy's platform eliminates these hassles. Pre-filled order templates, saving designers hours of time wasted on tedious order forms. Order-tracking means never having to sweat over a lost delivery again. Sourceeasy is setting an international standard for apparel orders-- and customers are taking note, giving them a 500% increase in sales over 4 months. Make no mistake, Sourceeasy is the future for sourcing apparel.
It’s no news that 500 Startups has been bullish on India and has been investing aggressively over the last couple of years with Pankaj Jain leading the show here. The latest batch of 29 has three Indian companies — Interview Master, Targeting Mantra and Sourceasy. Talking about the new batch, Pankaj Jain says, “The quality of companies coming from India has significantly improved. Many startups getting into our accelerator are showing strong early traction and are focused heavily on sales.”
Founded by Pranay Srinivasan, Sourceasy is a tech-enabled web platform to source custom apparel, and the startup has had an interesting journey till now.
We had earlier written about how Pranay was building Sourceasy against odds and now the idea has found validation from customers as well as investors. At heart, Pranay believes Sourceasy to be a hybrid — a technology company with a sourcing DNA. A Deloitte report on retail, states that private label apparel is a $1 trillion market globally and this is where Sourceasy places itself.
Sourceasy can be basically used for creating custom merchandising programs with custom fabrics sourced on the client’s behalf to produce orders on demand in under four weeks with air freight deliveries for immediate requirements.
We are building an online platform to manage, source, and scale international apparel manufacturing. We eliminate the inefficiencies of complicated apparel production using pre-determined manufacturing processes and vendors. Our online platform manages every step of the supply chain from design conception through production to delivery. All while cutting costs by 20%-60%.
What are the current apparel manufacturing problems?
Manufacturing apparel requires a complex international supply chain of buyers, liaisons, vendors and shippers. Smaller brands face the largest hurdles: low volumes result in zero negotiating power, building trusted relationships with manufacturers takes time and the finances to fly around the world, and sending and sorting samples is a nightmare. Negotiation, dependable suppliers, and quality control are all too much for any small business just trying to test the market and build brand appeal.
This is all before the production stage, which presents problems no matter the size of the customer. Companies may deal with one supplier, who relies on 5-6 other vendors for different aspects of the operation - one for embroidery, another for cotton, for cutting, etc. With so many players, communication is poor - delays and mistakes are made. The inability for an apparel company to communicate with and control all facets of their supply line is risky.
But unnecessary middleman costs are the most tangible problem to any brand. Every vendor in a long international supply chain takes a cut, shrinking apparel margins all along the way.
How will you integrate and monitor the complex supply chain?
We are building our own supply chains for all categories of apparel manufacturing. The supply line has four distinct stages: fabric, assembly, trim and accessories, and shipping and packaging. Each of these stages has different vendors, and all must come together to ensure quality goods get delivered on time.
We are also building a platform to integrate and track all portions of the chain. Each vendor will be on-boarded into our system and monitored in real time by our mobile logistics manager. Producers will pull up to-do lists in real-time on the factory floor. As the garment moves through production we’ll pinpoint delays and who is delaying it. Every vendor or shipper will be accountable for their respective part of the project. Our clients never have to worry about poor quality or late delivery.
Why do you use only small vendors?
We will always work with small and medium factories because we want to control 60%-80% of their capacity and bottom line. Vendor reliability is critical for us.
How does SourceEasy solve the communication and logistical hurdles of outsourcing?
Companies still conceptualize, sample, order and monitor thousands of SKUs via email and Excel. Our solution is a complete communication and logistics system online. Sourceasy will enable designers to store and track product iterations. Merchandising teams will monitor their garments, keep order histories, plan future production with predictive analysis, and re-order with the push of a button. Every vendor and client will communicate with one another and help orchestrate their supply lines via our integrated online platform.
What do you provide for companies new to manufacturing overseas?
The technology will be robust enough to handle everything online, but we understand some of our customers will be new to the overseas market and need some extra help. So we provide consulting for free to any of our clients. We’re giving them incredible tools, but also holding their hand until things get off the ground at which point the technology will make self-serve effortless.
What is and how do you solve the problem of sampling?
Every product on every retail shelf has been sampled, tested, and reiterated dozens of times before mass production. Merchandising teams currently track and store the history of every item with physical samples. SourceEasy brings this entire process online, which allows teams across time zones to comment, change, and store iterations before sending final products to the producers.
How do you help businesses scale?
Apparel companies often face scaling issues as their brand becomes popular overnight. 500 units from a single factory last month might be 10,000 from 6 vendors this month, and no small apparel startup can handle this scaling hurdle on their own. Starting the production process from scratch every few months is no way to scale.
We solve this with an elastic supply network, so our clients can scale immediately. We can ramp up or down production and have finished product - in a range of quantities - delivered stateside within several weeks.
Additionally we cut the need for large merchandising teams. A couple of merchandisers can handle thousands of SKUs using our online dashboard. Eventually they’ll have the ability to map product evolution, with every iteration time-stamped and geo-tagged for future reference. One employee will be able to steer an entire production process for thousands of apparel items.
Who are your customers?
Small, mid-size, and large apparel outlets all find value in our platform for similar reasons. Every company wants cheaper sampling, an integrated logistics and communication platform, and a supplier that guarantees production on time.
How do you help larger apparel companies?
Apparel brands spend millions of dollars on inventory as a buffer against long (4-6 month) production cycles. While also employing expensive merchandising teams to manage it all. SourceEasy employs and manages the entire supply chain so we can cut production times and deliver new product lines in just a few weeks. This allows brands to free up millions in inventory capital.
Large companies can also save money by lowering their merchandising headcount. Using our dashboard, logistics that used to require large teams are now handled by 1 or 2 merchandisers.
Finally we help large brands with extensive production analytics. Predictive load balancing allows us to produce on-demand within two weeks. Intelligent queue balancing analyzes order history to preemptively prepare product for production or last minute order changes.
If you are such a great service for large companies, why focus on the little guys?
We know 80% of our business will come from 20% of our customers, but we also want to capture the 20% of apparel retailers that will be the future of clothing.
We want to build technology that is scalable and standardized. We'll provide efficiencies for the large ones, while also helping small companies scale. The platform will handle the logistics of production and allow the startups to focus on brand appeal and growth. We'll provide the full solution. And when these small companies become worldwide brands, they'll still be producing with us.
How are you making international manufacturing possible for smaller companies?
Orchestrating an overseas production operation is time consuming, expensive, and risky. Smaller companies need to spend all their time growing brand appeal.
Our dashboard empowers small brand owners to create and visualize their clothing using our templating software. They can upload designs, choose colors, measurements and styles, and in less than a few minutes order their products.
Apparel startups are new to the market, so we deliver product in less than a month for quick consumer testing. We offer small scale production for as little as $500, and a customer support team in both the US and India to guide them through the process should anything come up.
We allow designers to focus on design, while we handle production. As they grow SourceEasy will help them scale and when these small brands become large retailers, we’ll still be saving them time and money.
What is the market size?
It is difficult with a global market of such different prices. But we can safely assume we’re a solution for a $100 Billion market.
SourceEasy is tackling many problems, what is the timeline for the full platform?
Thankfully our technology will be universal for all our different customers. The first step is our basic ordering platform. Then we’ll build a 10 layer API to help us scale our internal technology and automate everything for the client and ourselves. No customer should have to start from scratch when reordering an item – they’ll soon have all their SKUs stored on our platform as templates for editing or reordering. The final step will be our mobile logistics manager for our supply chains. By the middle of next year we’ll be a full stack solution for both customers and producers – all facets of apparel production will move through and be monitored by our system.
Why is the SourceEasy team qualified to make it all happen?
I have been running apparel factories since 1999, while also founding 4 different startups. I’ve learned a lot about what makes a great team and what sinks a seemingly successful company. My technical co-founder was a tech lead at Netapp, a lead data-engineer at Samsung, and has started two companies of his own. We also have the former manager of GAP Kids global manufacturing. Our Head of Sourcing has over 20 years experience, including time at Poundland managing 8,000 SKUs – his vendor relationships are even better than mine. The rest of team has all been in the business over 10 years. I’ve built many great teams, and never had more confidence in one as I do now.
How do you charge?
We work on a per-piece markup (no fixed costs, no subscriptions). Our typical margins are 30-50%, We save our customers between 20-60% on their current buying prices.
What are your growth numbers?
We tripled our monthly sales while at 500 startups. $63,000 in May grew to $190,000 in July. But our focus right now is on traffic growth rather than sales growth – we can’t have the business outstrip the technology. Operational demands fulfilling customer orders are extremely high, so we need to infuse technology into the entire supply chain. Then growth will be as easy as on-boarding new customers.
What are your margins?
Gross revenue to date is $550K, which equates to $250K net revenue. Our margins are between 30%-50% and will only get better as the technology handles more operational demand.
Do you have any competitors?
We have competitors in the tech space and the manufacturing space. There are several liaison agents who charge 7%-10% commission while only serving large apparel companies. But these agents don’t take ownership of the entire process like we do. We are the only ones delving deep into the supply chain and tearing it apart. This allows us to take a bigger percentage, serve small and large companies, and be far more transparent.
What is your biggest challenge?
Keeping our operations up-to-date with technology so we can scale.
Is there a risk of competitors adapting your technology?
Not only do we have a head start, we’re the only ones serving both buyers and vendors. Even if a liaison agent had our technology they wouldn’t control the supply chain and would still be subject to the delay and quality risks of contracted manufacturing.
SourceEasy is conducting a Regulation D offering via Wefunder Advisors LLC. CRD Number: #167803.
Recession raised dollar prices and cotton yarn producers in India preferred to export instead of selling locally. “When the dollar touched ₹65, cotton prices went up by ₹20,” says Pranay Srinivasan, a garment exporter and proprietor of Source Easy.
"We're solving a slightly larger problem than what many of those companies are looking at," said SourceEasy founder Pranay Srinivasan, who wants his company to become a major tool for designers looking to source affordable quality textiles from around the globe. "For us, it's an issue of scaling, and that's what is done so well in Silicon Valley."
Sourceasy is a wholesale procurement/sourcing/manufacturing service that not only allows you to buy small quantities of apparel/home furnishings with custom labels, but also manufactures, packs it, and delivers it to your doorstep. All via technology tools that manage sourcing along and offline support to complete the orders.
“As we scale manufacturing, we wish to make sourcing and manufacturing an infrastructure service like say, AWS – where anyone can log on, create an order, submit it and get it delivered to their door seamlessly in three to four weeks,” adds Pranay.
Sourceasy is a full stack apparel sourcing service which allows merchants to source their private label merchandise from various manufacturing centres across the world. It also manufactures custom apparel for brands, designers, corporates and startups.
Above all, I know that my irrational confidence will pay off some day. Maybe later than sooner. I may have lost everyone who is dear to me, . I may have lost every single asset in pursuit.
But the fact is, I’m a below-average entrepreneur. There’s still headroom for growth.
"I think it is becoming easier to find good Indian startups. The quality of companies continues to rise. Companies from India that are getting into our accelerator are showing strong early traction and are focused heavily on sales. Many even have early revenue. Since the quality has risen, we've also become more selective," says Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner, 500Startups.
April 30, 2014
Sourceasy emerged from a Geeks On A Plane event in Mumbai in Febuary of 2013. Wittlebee was looking for a vendor, and became our first client. With many niche private-label brands emerging, we saw a need to support white labels with low minimums, custom fabrics, quick turns, and doorstop-delivery, all at affordable prices.
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