Your reputation hinges on your ability to deliver superior products that not only meet but exceed your clients’ expectations. When it comes to crafting furniture, the choice of materials is pivotal. Furniture fabric plays an integral role in the aesthetic appeal and durability of your pieces.
This dual mission of achieving both cost efficiency and top-quality results can be a challenging tightrope walk. Compromise is rarely an option, which is why many designers turn to wholesale fabric suppliers to get the best price for the highest quality of textile.
Yet ingrained in our minds is often the question of whether a deal is too good to be true. The good news is that many furniture fabric wholesale suppliers offer a reassuring answer to this dilemma. Purchasing furniture fabric wholesale can in fact offer a top quality product that will help you meet your customers’ expectations and your own.
Here are some benefits of shopping for furniture fabric wholesale, as well as alternatives that may be the better choice for your project and tips to ensure your design reaches its full potential.
Benefits Of Shopping For Furniture Fabric Wholesale
For busy designers, buying fabric wholesale offers many advantages that help streamline the creative process and enhance the efficiency of their projects.
One of the most significant advantages is the quantity of fabric available to you. Wholesale suppliers typically have large quantities of fabric available, which can be important if your project entails producing multiple pieces of furniture for retail or commercial accounts.
Another advantage is cost. Budget plays a central role in any project, and buying wholesale helps offset expenses, allowing designers to allocate resources more effectively and potentially increase profitability.
Buying wholesale upholstery fabric doesn’t mean your creativity must suffer. If your project requires customization, many wholesale suppliers offer multiple options to personalize a fabric. Here are some of the options that may be available to you depending on the wholesale supplier you work with to complete your project:
- Customized Colors: The array of available colors provides ample room for tailoring your project to match your client’s aesthetic preferences. However, don’t rely on the manufacturer’s website for color since dye lot variations are common in the textile industry. Instead, request a free swatch so you can see the color in person.
- Custom Printing: There are two types of printing services available: Rotary/flat bed printing and digital printing. Rotary/flat bed printing is a direct-to-fabric printing technique where the image is engraved on precision-cut stencils, also known as screens. Multiple screens can be used to create a multi-color design. Digital printing, also known as direct-to-garment printing, is any ink-jet-based method of printing colorants onto fabric. This process allows for smaller minimums and eliminates screen charges.
- Upholstery Backing: When choosing upholstery for pieces of couches, chairs or other furniture pieces, you will need to consider fabric weight. The slightest change in fabric weight can make a difference in what your final product looks like. Manufacturers will often add backing to fabric to help prevent seams from slipping and to increase durability. For furniture pieces, latex backing is commonly used since the coating helps prevent soil from sifting through the fabric.
- Protective Coatings: Protective coatings help keep furniture pieces fresher and cleaner longer. A popular protective finish is nano-coating, which is a very thin transparent plastic polymer film coating that helps repel dry particles, waster, oil and dirt. Other protective coatings you may want to use include Scotchgard and Alta treatments. Some manufacturers also provide antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal treatments that prevent the buildup of bacteria, fungi and dust mites.
If your project is commercial, you will likely need to choose an upholstery fabric that includes a fire rating. In California, all furniture must comply with TB117-2013. This regulation requires that upholstery fabric pass smolder cigarette tests.
Upholstery fabrics used in public places must also meet fire safety laws as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association and California law. Fire retardant applications can be sprayed on or brushed on to help limit the spread of a fire.
Alternatives To Shopping Wholesale
While shopping for wholesale fabric offers many advantages, there are a few instances where choosing an alternative might make more sense for your project’s needs.
One of the disadvantages to shopping wholesale is that the supplier or manufacturer you work with may have minimum order quantity requirements. If the amount of fabric you need doesn’t align with the minimum order quantity required by the supplier, you may need to turn to a distributor.
A fabric distributor is an intermediary that acquires upholstery fabrics from manufacturers or wholesale suppliers and then sells them to retailers or other businesses. While you can still purchase furniture upholstery fabric in bulk from a distributor, you may pay more than you would purchasing directly from the manufacturer. That’s because a distributor will mark up the wholesale price before selling it to you.
If you need a very small quantity of fabric, and need it quickly, a fabric retailer may be your best choice. A retailer is a business that sells upholstery fabrics directly to consumers or end-users. A retailer can be a national chain store, online store, fabric outlet or a mom-and-pop shop. Keep in mind that retailers often have the highest prices and lowest quantities, though can be a quick option if you need fabric quickly. There are few opportunities for customization as well.
Tips To Getting The Best Quality Furniture Fabric
When you're in the market for top furniture fabric at wholesale quantities and cost, it's essential to make informed choices. Here are key tips for ensuring you get the best quality fabric:
- Double check minimum order requirements. If you're exploring bulk fabric purchases, ensure the supplier doesn’t impose minimum order requirements. While wholesale fabric distributors often have no minimums, working with them might come with price markups. Always confirm specific requirements for your chosen fabric or customization's.
- Choose domestic suppliers. Opting for domestic suppliers can save you from potential issues when compared to international ones. Domestic suppliers provide advantages like shorter shipping times, easier communication and the ability to visit the supplier in person if necessary, offering more recourse in case of order issues.
- Order fabric samples. Prior to making a significant purchase, order fabric samples. This allows you to evaluate fabric quality, texture and color accuracy. It helps avoid costly mistakes and gives insight into the supplier’s customer service.
- Ensure customization options. Customization's are vital for various projects. Check if the supplier offers options like custom colors, printing services (rotary/flat bed or digital), backing choices, protective coatings and fire retardant applications. Ensure the supplier can meet any legal requirements for your specific project, especially in public spaces.
- Check lead times. It’s important to get your order on time, especially when your project has its own timeline. Choosing a domestic supplier can help with this, since you can avoid customs issues that may delay transport time.
Ultimately, selecting a fabric wholesale direct supplier should align with your project's needs. By following these tips, you can make a confident and budget-conscious decision.