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Material Sourcing

The process of material sourcing

Bridging Vision to Reality

In the journey of product development, especially with fabric based products, the selection of the right materials can be the defining factor between success and mediocrity. D2M’s comprehensive “Materials Sourcing” service guides innovators like you, through this intricate phase ensuring that critical fabrics are carefully selected and that you have the best options for your project.

Our Process

Research and Identification:

Purpose: Understand the product’s requirements and the latest material innovations.

  • Needs Assessment: Begin with a deep understanding of the product’s design, functionality, and sustainability requirements. This includes consideration of its intended use, desired durability, and any specific characteristics like being waterproof, breathable, or eco-friendly.
  • Innovative Exploration: Considering the latest advancements in the textile industry. Researching new processes, components, or technologies that align with the innovative fabrics or sustainable options required. This might involve liaising with industry experts or consulting academic research on textiles.
  • Preliminary Selection: Based on the research and the specific needs of the product, select a range of potential fabrics. This could mean choosing 2-3 options for each product feature or identifying multiple fabric alternatives for a single feature.

Physical Evaluation and Shortlisting:

Purpose: Validate the preliminary selection through tangible interaction and comparison.

  • Sample Acquisition: Obtain physical samples of the shortlisted fabrics. This ensures the fabric not only meets theoretical requirements but also feels, looks, and behaves as desired. Cost and availability consideration including dying options and minimum order quantities.
  • Client Collaboration: Schedule a face-to-face meeting at the D2M Cheltenham studio or opt for an online session if preferred. During this session, present the fabric options, encouraging you to see, touch, and compare the fabrics firsthand. The goal is to ensure you are an integral part of the decision-making process.
  • Feedback Incorporation: Use the feedback from you to narrow down the options. Ensure all choices align with the product’s vision and desired functionalities.

Forward Planning:

Purpose: Create a reference for prototype development and future manufacturing.

  • Prototyping Consideration: Consider availability of samples for prototype development including any necessary concessions such as uncoated or limited colour options. The final manufacturing will have a wider array of fabric options depending on the manufacturer’s resources and capabilities.
  • Forward Guidance: While the fabrics for the prototype come from this sourcing stage, the manufacturer will source fabrics for production as per this specification. This might involve necessary compromises due to cost or levels of upfront investment.

Tailored Material Selection for Enhanced Product Performance

Selecting the right fabric is not just about aesthetics; it can be pivotal for the product’s functionality and performance. D2M’s Materials Sourcing service ensures that every fabric choice aligns precisely with the product’s requirements, whether it’s durability, waterproofing, breathability, sustainability, abrasion resistance or any other specific characteristic. By providing a range of fabric options tailored to the product’s needs, this service optimises the end product’s performance, ensuring it meets or even exceeds user expectations.

The process of material sourcing

Streamlined Decision-making and Time Efficiency

The textile world is vast and continuously evolving. For a new development project, navigating this expansive terrain can be daunting and time-consuming. D2M simplifies this process by handling the research, shortlisting, and sample acquisition, allowing you to focus solely on making informed decisions.

Material Sourcing by looking at fabric swatches in different colours

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Production support in a manufacturers

Sustainable and Future-focused Considerations

In an era where sustainability is not just a trend but a necessity, D2M places a strong emphasis on eco-friendly fabric options. Whether it’s incorporating recycled materials or sustainable fabrics, this service ensures that the product not only meets current market demands but is also future-focused. D2M lays the groundwork for a seamless transition from prototype to production, ensuring that the fabric choices made during the sourcing phase are consistently reflected in the final product.

In essence, D2M’s Materials Sourcing service brings a blend of expertise, efficiency, and forward-thinking to the table, ensuring that new development projects have a strong and suitable material foundation right from the start.

Sourcing materials in a soft fabric for a product


What is material sourcing?

Material sourcing is the strategic process of researching, identifying, and procuring the best-suited materials or fabrics for a specific product’s development. It involves understanding the product’s requirements, exploring available materials in the market, and ensuring they align with the intended design, functionality, and quality standards.

Finding reliable material suppliers involves a combination of research, industry networking, and vetting. Key strategies include:

  • Attending industry trade shows and events to meet potential suppliers.
  • Using industry directories and databases.
  • Leveraging existing relationships and seeking recommendations.
  • Evaluating suppliers based on their track record, testimonials, quality assurance processes, and certifications.
  • Conducting factory visits or audits to ensure transparency and reliability.

Several factors can influence material costs, including:

  • Raw material availability and demand.
  • Quality and grade of the material.
  • Complexity of the production process.
  • Volume of purchase (bulk orders often come at discounted rates).
  • Economic factors like inflation, tariffs, and trade agreements.
  • Coating requirements
  • Logistical costs like transportation and storage.
  • Certifications, especially for specialized or sustainable materials.

Material sourcing plays a pivotal role in product quality. The materials chosen directly affect the product’s durability, feel, appearance, and functionality. Poor or unsuitable material choices can lead to product failures, increased wear and tear, or reduced user satisfaction. Conversely, meticulous sourcing ensures the product performs optimally, meets or exceeds user expectations, and maintains its quality over time.

Material sourcing plays a pivotal role in product quality. The materials chosen directly affect the product’s durability, feel, appearance, and functionality. Poor or unsuitable material choices can lead to product failures, increased wear and tear, or reduced user satisfaction. Conversely, meticulous sourcing ensures the product performs optimally, meets or exceeds user expectations, and maintains its quality over time.

Overview of Material Sourcing

Materials in Context

Whether it’s a luxurious feel, a rugged durability, or a sustainable footprint, the material can communicate this more eloquently than words. Our service goes beyond just finding a fabric; it’s about understanding the detailed requirements of the product and bringing it to tangible life.

Diverse Choices, Informed Decisions

The textile industry is vast and dynamic. Every day, new innovative materials, coatings and blends enter the market. Some promise enhanced durability, others boast eco-friendliness, while some are celebrated for their sheer aesthetic appeal. Faced with such a plethora of textile options, making an informed choice can be daunting. D2M streamlines this process. We don’t just present samples; we curate them. Based on the product’s requirements, we provide a tailored array of choices, each explained in context. This empowers you to make decisions not just based on appearance, but on a comprehensive understanding.

The Tangible Experience

While digital visuals and descriptions offer insights, nothing compares to the tactile experience. Feeling the texture, examining the weave, and observing the colour in different lighting conditions provides a depth of understanding that’s indispensable. =

The Journey Forward

It’s worth noting that our material sourcing is not an end but a stepping stone. The choices made here influence subsequent phases of product development, from prototyping to final manufacturing. However, our commitment to precision at this stage ensures a smoother journey ahead. The materials chosen become a part of the product’s blueprint, guiding manufacturers and ensuring alignment with the envisioned quality and design.

A Partnership of Trust

One of the subtler, yet profound aspects of our service is the relationship of trust we build with you. In the textile world, where nuances matter and small details can have big implications, trusting your partner becomes vital. D2M’s transparency, combined with our commitment to aligning with your vision, fosters this trust. We not only provide options but also equip you with the knowledge to understand the implications of each choice.

Looking Ahead

While our material sourcing phase offers a comprehensive suite of choices apt for prototyping, we acknowledge the dynamic nature of the manufacturing world. As projects transition to the manufacturing phase, new materials or processes might emerge, offering enhanced benefits. Our documentation ensures that this transition remains seamless. We provide a clear and detailed manufacturing specification outlining the fabric requirements, ensuring that the essence of the material choice, if not the exact material, remains consistent in production.


In essence, D2M’s “Materials Sourcing” service is a symphony of expertise, experience, and commitment. We navigate the vast seas of the textile world to suggest materials that resonate with a product’s purpose and potential. For any project where material selection is a make or break decision, this service isn’t just an option; it’s a pivotal chapter in their product’s success story.

From idea

to successful


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