If you are looking for an idea for your own profitable business that does not require large investments, pay attention to the production of ... socks. At first glance, this is such a trifle on which it is impossible to make good money. However, even without this trifle, modern man cannot do.
Socks, tights and other hosiery have always been in high demand among Russian consumers. In Soviet times, our country even occupied one of the first places in the world in terms of per capita consumption of hosiery. Over the past few years, demand for these products has continued to grow. True, the domestic market is dominated by products from Chinese manufacturers.
According to various estimates, the share of imported goods in the hosiery segment is on average about 70%. However, gradually this market begins to interest Russian companies. This interest is due to the high profitability of sock production, which can reach 100%. It is worth noting that in the hosiery segment this figure is slightly lower.
The main problem that Russian enterprises producing hosiery are trying to solve is related to equipment. Many factories use long-obsolete and worn-out machines that have been preserved since Soviet times. Using such equipment, only low-quality products can be produced. More far-sighted companies try to constantly update their cars. In addition, the number of small industries that have a small fleet of modern equipment and can produce a limited range of hosiery products (for example, only socks) is increasing.
All products that are presented on the domestic market today can be divided into three separate groups, depending on price category and quality. The most expensive products, characterized by high quality, occupy the smallest share in this segment. It is produced mainly in a few large factories and small private enterprises with modern equipment and from imported raw materials. However, most of the expensive socks, tights and stockings are imported into Russia from other countries - Poland, Germany, Turkey, France, England, Italy, Egypt and China. The share of imports in this segment is the most significant - 90%.
To the second group, experts include products of foreign or Russian production of medium quality, made from imported or domestic raw materials. The share of imported products in this segment is less and amounts to no more than 37%. The bulk of mid-price socks and tights are imported from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Turkey. The cheapest socks are made on outdated equipment from low quality raw materials. Moreover, they are produced by both large factories and private (often illegal or semi-legal) private enterprises in southern Russia. Cheap socks are also imported from Turkey, Vietnam, China, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The share of imports in this category is about 30%.
As a rule, new companies that are just entering the hosiery market try to immediately produce the widest possible range of such products. This is understandable, because the larger the range, the higher the profit and the sooner you will be able to recoup your investments. However, you will need more funds for the purchase of equipment and rental of premises, than when choosing one direction for work at least in the first stage.
Russian banks are extremely reluctant to give loans to open the production of hosiery, explaining this to the fact that the Russian market for these products has long been oversaturated. However, experts and entrepreneurs themselves believe that this is only partly true and relates, first of all, to the cheapest low-quality sock products. But in the segment of inexpensive, but high-quality products, on the contrary, there is a shortage. The proof of the success of this direction is the fact that earlier manufacturers actively opened their own brand stores, and now trading companies that engaged in wholesale sales of hosiery are actively interested in their production.
Despite the seemingly monotonous assortment, socks come in several forms. They differ depending on the manufacturing method (knitted and crocheted), depending on the material (natural plant fibers, animal fibers, synthetic fibers, combined fabrics), depending on the type of machine used (round-handed machines, flat-bed machines, flat fang machines). Flax and cotton belong to natural fabrics of plant origin, wool and silk belong to animal fibers, nylon, spandex, polyester, elastic, etc. are synthetic fibers. Combined materials, respectively, combine fibers of natural and artificial origin.
According to the assortment, the optimal combination of price and quality, as well as demand, men's knitted cotton socks of dark colors in sizes from 25 to 31 are in the first place (the size is determined by the length of the foot in centimeters). The dark (usually black) color is universal and fits almost any men's shoes and clothes. Cotton absorbs moisture and allows the skin to breathe. This material is unpretentious in leaving, such socks are easily washed and dried in the washing machine. In this case, mercerized cotton is preferable to ordinary cotton, since this material is thinner and has a slight sheen, like silk. Mercerized cotton socks are suitable for the summer season. Often, cotton is added to viscose, which even better absorbs excess moisture and gives the skin a feeling of coolness in the hot season. In addition, viscose is easily dyed and retains its color well, which is why it is used in the manufacture of colored men's socks, which are especially often washed.
The technology for producing socks is quite simple and consists of several main stages: manufacturing the base or blank of the sock, sewing the toe, forming the sock, applying marking and auxiliary elements, packaging of finished products. No special equipment is indispensable here. The base of the sock is made on a toe knitting machine. This equipment differs in the type of raw materials used, the diameter of the cylinders and the class of mating. Automatic machines are single or double cylinder. Depending on the number of needles in the clip, you can adjust the density of knitting of the knitted fabric, and the thickness of the needles is determined by the density of the workpiece. The thinner the needles used, the denser the product will be.
The size of the sock depends directly on the diameter of the working cylinder. For the production of men's socks, machine tools with cylinders with a diameter of 3.5 inches, 3.75 inches, 4 inches are used. First, yarn is installed on the creel, the threads of which are fed into the yarn feeders. In this way, socks without a toe are made. The machine begins to knit first elastic cuffs, then a calf, a heel with a foot and a toe without sewing. Upon completion of the work, the yarn threads are cut using automated equipment, and the future sock blank is fed through a vacuum selector to a special storage basket.
At the second stage of the production process, semi-automatic kettling machines are used, at the entrance of which operators lay the workpiece. Everything else is done automatically, without the help of a person. However, sometimes a manual cattel machine is also used to sew the toe on the workpiece. After sewing, the sock again enters the storage basket.
Socks are molded by pressing and then steaming the warp on separate equipment. On semi-automatic press machines with the possibility of moisture and heat treatment, molding, pressing, drying of socks are carried out. Moreover, for the management and maintenance of this equipment is enough one person.
The finished product can be marked in various ways, for example, in the form of sticker labels on a pair of toes sewn together or by personal pairing. The equipment used for marking in the first and second case is different. At the last stage, the product is packaged in pairs or several pairs in a bag. Sometimes a logo is applied to the packaging. Inexpensive socks may not be packaged at all. As raw materials for the production of socks, 100% black cotton yarn and braided latex thread are used.
For the manufacture of socks, you can use domestic equipment (it is produced by one company located in Tula). The cost of such a machine is from 100 to 450 thousand rubles. In addition, you can buy a domestic machine, used, which will cost several hundred dollars. The minimum set of new equipment, including at least five hosiery machines, a toe sewing machine and a molding machine, costs more than half a million rubles.
However, according to experienced entrepreneurs, domestic equipment is not the best choice if you want to produce high quality products and with the prospect of further expanding the range. Indeed, even if you start with the production of socks only, after reaching the level of self-sufficiency, you will still think about the further development of your enterprise. Another drawback of Russian-made machines is their low reliability.
Keep in mind that hosiery machines work, as a rule, around the clock, and not every equipment can withstand such a load. The same must be taken into account when choosing used cars. It is advisable to consult with a specialist before purchasing, otherwise, due to long production downtime due to equipment that constantly fails, you will incur more losses than you save when you purchase it. Italian-made equipment, which is characterized by much higher quality and reliability, will cost a round sum - from 150 thousand euros. However, it has a higher productivity and will produce up to 50 thousand pairs of socks per month.
Italian equipment can also be purchased in used condition. This option will cost two times cheaper than the new one. The risks in this case will be lower than when buying domestic cars, since the service life of Italian automatic machines is about thirty years. Good equipment is made in the Czech Republic. In quality, it is quite comparable to Italian (but also not much inferior in price to it). Korean and Chinese machines are much cheaper, but less reliable than their European counterparts.
To organize large-scale production will require at least twenty hosiery machines and related equipment. Add to this the cost of raw materials for the production of socks, the wages of maintenance personnel, the cost of rent and utilities. The volume of such production is about 2.5 million pairs per year. The selling price depends on the raw materials used and can range from 15 rubles (as a rule, the cheapest Uzbek yarn is used in this case) to several tens of rubles. The more expensive the products, the higher the profitability. This is due to the fact that expensive socks are sold through shops (in this case, profitability can reach 100%), and cheap - through markets (and then the profitability does not exceed 30%). On the other hand, in the latter case, the turnover of funds will be an order of magnitude higher, which is important for a young production company, which has not yet reached the level of self-sufficiency.
With a competent approach, experts say, the estimated full payback of a project with a capacity of up to 650 thousand pairs of socks per month reaches 1.5-2 years. With large volumes of production, the terms are practically unchanged, but more working capital will be required.
According to analysts, the production of socks is a more attractive direction compared to other knitwear or sewing production, which has great advantages. One of the main advantages is the duration of the technological cycle, which in the case of sock production will be much shorter. It takes only five minutes to make one sock!
In addition, the sock production does not require a large number of personnel. One person can serve ten or more knitting machines, the productivity of which reaches one million products per year. The equipment is quite compact, for its placement there is enough area from 50 to 100 square meters. meters.
For the manufacture of socks, ready-made colored yarn is used, which does not require preliminary dyeing and, accordingly, relieves the manufacturer of a headache about compliance with environmental standards. Another big advantage is that the design of men's socks remains almost unchanged. If you do not have the means or the desire to develop designs for children's and female models, you can stop at the classics that are always in demand. However, funny bright socks will be in no less demand, and the cost of the services of an artist-designer can be included in the cost of the product. Even with higher prices, creative socks do not lose their popularity.
The main advantage of opening sock production in our country is its proximity to consumers. You can quickly respond to changes in demand, track the main trends in the market, take into account the wishes of your customers.
The main risks of such a business are associated with higher prices for raw materials and materials, with insufficient demand (due to the abundance of Chinese cheap products on the market), and the unstable quality of raw materials. The risks of the first and last type can be combated by expanding the number of suppliers and carefully choosing each of them. In order for your products to be competitive, you will have to invest in its advertising. Develop a discount system for your wholesale customers and loyalty programs that operate in the B2B segment no less efficiently (although many Russian manufacturing companies forget about this). Bet on the high level of quality of your products, on the attractiveness of the appearance of your products, on the quality and attractiveness of packaging. The latter is often overlooked by domestic manufacturers of hosiery. However, do not forget that the main buyers of such products are women. They acquire socks for themselves, for their children and husbands. It is known that customers, first of all, pay attention to the original design and decoration of not only the socks themselves, but even their packaging and labels.
Many domestic manufacturers believe that investing in the development of labels and packaging, which will go to the trash immediately after unpacking, is an unacceptable waste. But as numerous studies by marketers show, first of all, it is the packaging that buyers pay their attention to. Thanks to its successful design, they distinguish the products of a particular manufacturer from competitors and remember it. When using bright labels and a memorable logo, the likelihood that the buyer will choose your products and next time increases to 75%.
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