Once every month or so I pre-order material from my fabric supplier. They put up between 100 and 200 designs for 2 weeks only.
I go through them, photograph the ones I like and because I can only feasibly afford to get 6 or 7 of them at a time, I put up the photos in batches and get the customers to vote on which ones they like best. That is also their opportunity to put in an order for material that they really like the design of.
Voting for which designs you prefer, really helps me to know what my customers like and, let's face it, the customer must be kept happy. Happy customer, happy life. It also helps me to narrow it down to a short list of materials that have been voted for and orders put in. The others don't get bought.
Putting in orders for knickers or Singlet Tops in any of the material offered for vote, guarantees you getting a pair in that material, as I will buy enough to make them for you.
Once the voting and orders are done, I use those numbers to choose which material will be bought (and which ones won't).
I then choose what base the design will go on and then put in the order. I use Cotton Lycra, Bamboo Lycra, Polyester, French Terry and Spandex. They are all stretch material.
The order that is put in, must be sent off to be printed, so expected arrival of each order is approx 2 to 21/2 months. Once I receive the material, I contact the people who put in the orders and then invoice them. You don't have to pay for the order until that point. That gives you a couple of months to save up for or get organised for your order.