Short Runs


Addressing barriers and introducing new opportunities for short run production

Short run production can allow for local sourcing closer to market needs, but also presents a number of challenges that have been addressed through the collaboration of TCBL partners and associates.

Through the short runs project, TCBL has been working on creating an online matchmaking environment that permits three target groups to meet each other and do business. These groups have been identified as follows:

Textile manufacturers willing to produce small lots of textiles (“short run capacity”) or with leftover fabric to sell. This may fill production down-time or resolve problems of overproduction, or help companies diversify their clientele.

Garment manufacturers who range from the at-home sewer to the small Cut, Make & Trim (CMT) units. This could include the larger scale garment manufacturers who need to down-scale because of pressures to reduce numbers and through skills shortages.

Designers (often emergent) who want to design and sell small lots for sample collections or small boutiques.

The end result will be a digital platform that will bring together companies interested in doing short runs, who are currently listed on three TCBL business service provider platforms (Sqetch, Sourcebook, Circular Fashion).

Who’s involved

TCBL members from the UK, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Greece and Romania have been involved in various steps of this project.

Late 2018 saw the beginning of a project to map the short runs (from one-off bespoke pieces up to 1,000 pieces) manufacturing expertise across Europe. The project involved TCBL partners the TCoE (UK), DITF (Germany) and Sqetch (Netherlands). Conversations with TCBL Associate Enterprise Sourcebook then offered an opportunity to identify how small design businesses and manufacturers might be brought closer together.

In early 2019, two meetings were held in Berlin to make significant progress on the development of a platform to carry out the vision of the short runs project: first, a thinkathon determined viable ideas; second, a hackathon helped create a working prototype of a platform that is currently in the development stages.

Goals and Objectives

Assist three target groups to be able to get in touch with one another and encourage short runs production in Europe.


The following documentation is available for this project.

Contact Person

Bill Macbeth