Blog: Leonie BarrieMatchmaking in Macedonia

Leonie Barrie | 2 March 2010

"I don't know why I haven't considered Macedonia before," one UK sourcing executive said to me last night, "it just hasn't been on my radar." And he's not alone. Many buyers also admitted one of the most difficult parts of their jobs is identifying new countries from which to source production, and then negotiating the minefield of possible suppliers that will eventually take them to the right factories to make their garments.

So the 'Macedonia-EU apparel business to business event' which took place for the first time today was a perfect opportunity to bring together fashion retailers and brands with a potential new supply base offering low production costs, the flexibility to produce small orders, high quality and a fast turnaround. What's not to like?

The idea is a simple one: take more than 20 Macedonian apparel companies and put them in a room together with buyers from the UK, Austria and Germany. If it felt a bit like matchmaking, that's probably because it was. But with participants encouraged to rotate from one table to another every half-hour or so, it was also a bit like speed dating - with companies chatting about their requirements and looking at samples before making a decision to go on a second date tomorrow in the form of a factory visit.

Joking aside, it really is a brilliant way to meet a new manufacturing partner, and an idea that would surely be welcomed if it was adopted in more countries. And, sticking with the dating analogy, it will be interesting to see how many marriages - or should that be new export deals - eventually come out of it.


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