Goa is my second home, and Jaipur is a close third. But, in the past few years, I think I have spent even more time working in the Pink City than relaxing in the jungles of Anjuna. So, here is everything I have learned about Jaipur manufacturing over the past 6 years.
What You’ll Learn:
JAIPUR VS DELHI MANUFACTURING
First, let’s get your geographical bearings. Delhi and Jaipur are about 6 hours apart by car or a 1-hour flight from each other. And right in the middle is the Taj Mahal. FYI, visiting all 3 is known as India’s golden triangle.
To start, Delhi is a port city, and Jaipur Rajasthan is not. Meaning that customs is located in Delhi and not Jaipur. For anything to come in or leave India, it must pass through customs.
This means if you are manufacturing in Jaipur and need to ship your product to Europe, it must first pass through Delhi. And it goes the other way too. If you need to ship something from overseas to Jaipur, again, it must move through Delhi.
Because of this, a lot of suppliers and factories are based in Delhi. And Delhi tends to have a much broader selection of fabrics and trims than Jaipur does. And, some of the top manufacturing companies in the county. If you are working in Jaipur, you will sometimes even hear suppliers say, “Oh, we need to order that from Delhi.” An example of this is Pantone colors. If you need to match a fabric to a specific Pantone chip, it needs to be special-ordered from Delhi. The good news is it doesn’t take too long, only a day or two.
So, if Delhi is where a lot of the action is, and where everything originates or ends up going, you might be wondering what is the point of working with a manufacturing unit in Jaipur? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s start with the actual cities themselves. I hate Delhi. Every time I go, I get some sort of chest infection. At this point, I think it is one of, if not the, most polluted places on the planet. They regularly see pollution levels even higher than infamous Beijing.
Aside from the toxic air, I am not crazy about the vibe. Delhi is more of a hustle culture – be careful who you trust. To me, Delhi feels like a big, dystopian, cold (not temperature-wise) city. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing manufacturers and people in Delhi (I have friends who live there full-time and love it), but IDK, it’s just not for me.
Jaipur, while still polluted but not nearly as much, has a lot more soul. I am going to drop a few photos from around town to give you an idea.
Click play for all my favorite Pink City Vibes
And I know it’s not just me who feels this way. Whenever I take people to India for the first time, they are usually excited to hit the road and see what the next city on the itinerary has to offer. With Jaipur, they never want to leave.
Aside from Jaipur passing the vibe check, Jaipur suppliers are extremely dedicated to using natural textiles, earth-friendly chemicals, and techniques that preserve culture (but more on that in just a minute).
The entire city is so dedicated to using sustainable materials that it is almost impossible to get polyester fabrics dyed in Jaipur. Technically, the only 2 dyers I know that will dye poly are outside of the city.
FYI, in case you didn’t know, poly dyes tend to be much more toxic for workers and the environment than natural fiber dyes.
JAIPUR 3 SPECIALTIES – FASHION, HOME GOODS, AND JEWELRY
While Jaipur is one of the best fashion manufacturing hubs in India, that doesn’t mean that every type of fashion product should be made here. As I just mentioned, there are things you can’t get done in Jaipur, like getting synthetic fibers and fabrics dyed. So, before you start searching for Jaipur suppliers (hot tip check out the riico industrial area), let’s go over what type of fashion products should and should not be made in Jaipur.
And, if you want to work with me and my factories in Jaipur – click on over to check out my supply chain services.
JAIPUR IS NOT GOOD FOR . . .
POLY AND KNITS – There are two main types of fabrics. Knits and wovens. Knits are fabrics found in things like classic t-shirts or your workout leggings. Wovens would be things like bed sheets, poplin button-down shirts, or even denim.
Whether something is a knit or a woven is known as its construction. So, you can have 2 fabrics that have the exact same construction but are different fibers. For example, the same t-shirt material could be made in 100% cotton or 100% polyester fibers.
As I already told you, poly is basically a no-go in Jaipur. But another no-go are knit fabrics in general.
So, if you are wanting to make leggings or swimsuits, Jaipur is not the place you want to be. Full disclosure, there are a few knit factories in Jaipur, but the area is not known for specializing in this type of fabric.
If you want to work with knit fabrics, you are much better off heading down south to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
EMBROIDERY – While there are a few machine and hand-embroiderers in Jaipur, you are going to find the best quality in places like Bhuj and Kutch. For that reason, many designers have their fabrics cut in Jaipur, the garment pieces sent to other villages to be embroidered, and then sent back to Jaipur to be sewn. Yeah, it’s a lot of moving pieces, but IMO, it’s worth it for the quality.
HANDWOVEN FABRICS – If you know me, you know I love khadi, and will take any opportunity I can to chat about it. But in Jaipur, there isn’t much of that going on. While khadi-weaving happens all over India, and yes, you can technically find a limited assortment in Jaipur, the truth is the best stuff (IMO) comes from West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. So again, what a lot of designers do is travel to other areas of India, source khadi fabrics, and then have them made into garments in Jaipur.
JAIPUR ISGOOD FOR . . .
WOVEN FABRICS – Most of Jaipur specializes in woven textiles.
LOW MOQs – There are factories in Jaipur with low MOQs (minimum order quantities), which can be ideal for fashion start-ups. A MOQ, or minimum order quantity, is the minimum number of units you must order for a factory to agree to work with you. While major global fashion industry players are making their products in Jaipur – we are talking about orders of hundreds of thousands, even millions, there are still lots of small suppliers who are happy to work with emerging brands and offer MOQs as low as 20 pieces. So, Jaipur is a city that is perfect for helping brands grow. By getting familiar and networking in Jaipur, you are setting yourself up for easy supply chain transitions, which will help make scaling your brand a seamless process.
These are manufacturing specialties that Jaipur is known for. They have deep ties to Jaipur’s unique history and culture.
BLOCK PRINTING – Jaipur, specifically the village of Bagru right outside of the city, is famous for block printing.
If you don’t know what block printing is, you can check out this article, or watch me in action over in Insta. In short, block printing involves wooden blocks with patterns, which are carved, dipped in dye, and then stamped onto the fabric. The process is slow, labor-intensive, and not perfect. But that’s the beauty of it. You are left with a totally unique fabric that supports local economic systems.
If you want to work in Jaipur, exploring the world of block printing is a must.
Jaipur is also great at producing home goods. Both hard and soft. Bedding, pillows, and rugs would be examples of soft goods. And ceramics, furniture, and even kitchen appliances would be examples of hard goods you can find here.
Industry insiders know that Jaipur is the place where big brands like Anthropologie source their home decor lines – and now, you do too.
Now, normally I don’t recommend white labeling.
If you don’t know what white labeling is, you can learn more about it here. But basically, it is when you buy a product that is already made and stick your brand label on it. The benefit of white labeling is that you don’t have to spend time and money on the development process.
Indian fashion factories, in general, tend to have very limited and sometimes not market-appropriate white label products. For example, a lot of the apparel white label products I have seen in Jaipur tend to be more for the Japanese market. And these styles tend not to do well in Europe or the US. If you want to white-label clothes, you need to be really careful about your style selections and merchandising. But with home goods, white labeling is basically a slam dunk.
You can literally furnish a whole house with what you find with Jaipur white label suppliers. From kitchen towels, to door knobs, to decorative shower tiles, to wind chimes, to wholesale rugs, you can find everything here – all with a very unique Indian flair.
I see it all the time. Foreigners go around buying interesting available market items, slap their own brand label on them, and then load up shipping containers full of the stuff. They then sell it back in the country they live in under their own brand label name. There is nothing wrong with this. And I have met people who have literally made millions with this business model.
Now, if white labeling isn’t for you, that’s okay. You can make anything custom as well. With home goods, the MOQs tend to be a bit higher. Instead of MOQs of around 20 pieces like in fashion, you will probably be looking at more of a 50-100 piece MOQ – again, still totally reasonable for a startup brand, IMO.
Like block printing, jewels are in Jaipur’s DNA. If you are curious about Jaipur’s origins as a jewelry destination since 1727, check out this article.
Jaipur is famous for their gems. One of the most famous spots (frequented by celebrities like the Kardashians and good friends of mine), The Gem Palace, is a generations-old jeweler. The same family has provided jewels to the Maharashtra (read royal family) for generations.
Back in the day, gold in India was tax-free for foreigners, so people would load up. Today, this is no longer the case. But there are still tons of benefits to starting a jewelry line in India. Two of them being price and quality. You truly can get an amazing custom product made for a low price.
3 JAIPUR MANUFACTURING MISTAKES TO AVOID
MISTAKE #1: NOT KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DOMESTIC MARKET AND THE EXPORT MARKET
In India, there are essentially two very different supply chains working side by side. They are the domestic market, or products that stay in India. And the export market, products that ship out overseas. With specific products, the export market will have higher-quality components. But sometimes, the two supply train tracks cross.
Two examples of this are elastic and interfacing. FYI, interfacing is the stiff stuff inside the collar of button-down shirts, or anywhere else you want to add a bit of structure to a garment.
So, with elastic and interfacing, you really see a huge difference between the domestic and export quality suppliers. I kid you not, I have purchased domestic interfacing and it was made out of construction paper. The garment was literally able to stand up on its own.
Factories will sometimes buy the local stuff while charging you the price for the better quality stuff. So, always be really specific with your supply chain partners that you want “export quality.”
MISTAKE #2: NOT ANTICIPATING DELAYS
Specifically, holidays and weather.
Let’s start with holidays.
Yes, the rumors are true – there are more holidays in India than you can often keep track of. But there are two main times of year you want to watch out for. Diwali and Holi. During those holidays, workers tend to travel through India to visit their families, and work can be delayed for up to 2 weeks.
Now, let’s talk about the weather.
During the monsoon season, things sometimes completely shut down in Jaipur because of flooding.
The other interesting thing about the wet season is that it actually changes the colors of fabrics. Experts can tell what time of year a fabric was dyed or printed by the way the color looks. During the dry season, colors will be brighter and more vivid, whereas during the monsoon, colors are duller and more muddled.
Because of this, it can take longer for suppliers to hit the exact color you need during the monsoon – so your entire order becomes delayed and ships late.
MISTAKE #3: NOT HAVING FLEXIBILITY
The one rule of India is that everything that can go wrong and will. So, you just need to roll with the punches. If that isn’t in your personality – truth bomb – manufacturing in Jaipur is not for you.
PLANNING A TRIP TO JAIPUR? CHECK OUT THESE EXTRA RESOURCES
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you want to manufacture in Jaipur? If yes, what do you want to make? Let me know in the comments.