Large design projects are great for business, but costs can quickly climb when you need large quantities of fabric to complete the job. Seeking wholesale fabric becomes an important strategy to maintain profitability and achieve your creative vision without breaking the bank.
But this begs the question: Where can you find rolls of fabric wholesale? The answer is that you likely have many choices, since there are hundreds of wholesale fabric suppliers and wholesale fabric distributors throughout the world.
However, not every wholesale fabric supplier will be right for the job, and right for your business. Here are three tips that will help you secure the rolls of fabric you need to complete the job in the timeframe you have and the quality your client needs:
- Start with wholesale fabric suppliers (vs. distributors or fabric stores).
- Stay domestic when ordering wholesale fabric online.
- Look for a supplier that offers customizations.
Start With Wholesale Fabric Suppliers
When searching for wholesale fabric, you have three choices:
- A supplier
- A distributor
- A retailer
Suppliers will typically offer you the best prices because distributors mark up prices before selling the fabric to an end user. Shopping for wholesale fabric by the yard or fabric rolls at retail locations or fabric stores is often your most expensive option, which is why many professional designers avoid this unless they require quick, low-quantity materials.
The only issue you may run into when working with suppliers is that some have minimum quantity requirements. However, if you’re looking for wholesale prices, there’s a good chance you’re looking for wholesale fabric by the bolt or other large quantities. It’s still a good idea to check with the supplier at the beginning of your buying journey about whether the supplier requires a minimum purchase quantity.
Stay Domestic When Ordering Wholesale Fabric Online
When ordering wholesale fabric online, your options are endless. Wholesale fabric suppliers around the world may be able to offer the fabric you want, but the process of actually getting that fabric in your hands may take longer than you anticipate.
Choosing a domestic supplier will often provide more benefits to you than working with one overseas. Issues you may face when working with an international supplier include:
- Difficulty communicating through different time zones
- Longer shipping times due to greater distances
- Potential delays at customs once your product hits the U.S. border
- Fewer buyer protections in place if an order is not fulfilled correctly
- Difficulty communicating with customer service representatives overseas
While purchasing wholesale fabric online from an international company may be completely safe, it may simply present headaches that could prolong the timeline of your project.
Look For A Supplier That Offers Customizations
Even when purchasing rolls of fabric in wholesale quantities, you should have the
option to customize your order. The best suppliers will offer you these personalizations, whether they are for aesthetic reasons or to meet safety codes.
What kinds of customizations should you look for when considering a fabric company?
Here are some of the customizations you may need for your project:
- Protective coatings
- Fire coatings
Whether you’re creating a warm space using colors like terracotta or toffee, or designing a bold look with colors like sunflower or persimmon, the hue you choose can be a game-changer.
Having your own custom dye lot created can help ensure the fabric you choose is the color you want since much more stringent controls are added so that the mill can meet specifications. The results is repeatable and reliable with a maximum variation of 3% to 5%.
However, you should never rely on the manufacturer’s website for color. Instead, request a fabric swatch. This fabric sample will give you a better idea of what to expect with your customized color since color shifts can happen with “stock” colors.
Custom printing is a great way to incorporate colors and patterns into one design, whether you’re reupholstering an accent chair, designing new couches or sofas, creating unique wallpaper, crafting outdoor furniture, incorporating window draperies or curtains into your design, or taking other types of home decor items to the next level.
The best suppliers will offer 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 and can produce vivid colors and intricate designs on your fabric. Crisp lines and detailed images are created using screen printing, allowing inks to penetrate the fabric and hold color better and longer.
Digital printing on fabric is also known as DTG, or direct-to-garment printing. Digital printing is any inkjet based method of printing colorants onto fabric. This process allows for lower minimums, eliminates screen charges and removes the need for screen storage.
Depending on how you plan to use the wholesale fabric you purchase, you may need to incorporate backing into the design. For example, the slightest change in fabric weight can impact pieces that utilize furniture upholstery fabric. Manufacturers also often add backing to help prevent seams from slipping and to add durability.
Some popular types of backing include latex backing, which helps prevent soil from sifting through the fabric, and knit backing, which can make lighter weight fabrics more durable. If you’re designing curtains, a must in many homes today are backings that keep light from entering the room. If you have a commercial client, such as a hotel, you may need complete blackout backing, which also features noise-dampening properties.
While protective coatings can provide protection against everyday dirt and grime, they can serve an important role in maintaining the health of a home or office space.
Nano coating is a very thin transparent plastic polymer film coating that helps to repel dry particles, water, oil and dirt. Scotchgard and Alta treatments also protect the fabric against dirt and spills. Manufacturers can also apply antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal treatments to prevent the buildup of bacteria, fungi and dust mites. These treatments are typically needed for design projects at schools, hospitals and outdoor environments.
Some customizable features are a matter of meeting safety requirements, which often come in the form of state and federal laws. For example, commercial furniture projects in California must comply with TB117-2013, a fire rating regulation that requires that upholstery fabric pass smolder cigarette tests.
Fabrics used in public places must also meet fire safety standards as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association and California law. If your design project involves work in the public sector, it’s important that any wholesale fabric you use for this purpose meets these fire codes.
Fire retardant applications are required under California law for public spaces as well. Fire retardant applications can be sprayed on or brushed on and help limit the spread of a fire. Rather than igniting, the fabric is protected under intense heat. Check with your supplier to ensure that the fabric has a protective coating or finish.
The Wholesale Fabric You Want When You Need It
When purchasing rolls of fabric wholesale, your research may take a little time and effort to ensure you get the fabric you want, when you need it.
In the end, working with a wholesale fabric supplier that is located domestically and offers customizations will help you create a one-of-a-kind product your clients will love.