Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

About Us

Clothesource

We set up in 1992 to find Eastern European garment factories for Western customers. A wide range of major Western retailers and brands have used Clothesource to improve their garment production and sourcing over the past 25 years. Suppliers like Brandix and Avery-Dennison use the information we generate for ourselves every day to help them compete for business globally.

Our staff and office in Romania ensure our customers get high quality products from factories close to our European customers on time. From our Oxford office, just inside the Cotswolds, we give them informed advice no other garment or textile consultancy can match.

On consultancy briefs, we apply all our collective expertise to individual clients’ specific needs. But we strongly disagree with the “our doctrine meets all briefs” approach to problem-solving too many other consultancies offer the clothing industry.

Our UK principals, Liz Leffman and Mike Flanagan, are married to each other. Our Romanian country manager is Carmen Penciu

Contact us

For information about our services, please contact us at flanagan@clothesource.net

Clothesource Limited, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3PS

Phone +44 1608 810153


Mike Flanagan – CEO

Mike Flanagan’s first retail job was behind the counter, in Merseybeat-era Liverpool, at the NEMS record store – where Brian Epstein had discovered the Beatles a couple of years earlier. Mike still claims Epstein’s technical innovations there in optimising inventory for short-life fashion products have influenced him more than any of the Epstein acts he watched in his spare time.

He remained a NEMS Saturday boy through his schooldays, and then during vacations from Oxford, where he did Classics.

After graduating, he worked in London and Milan as a market researcher at Chicago’s Leo Burnett advertising agency and at J Walter Thompson.

He then moved back into retail as, successively:

  • Marketing Director at Fine Fare, Associated British Foods’ UK supermarket business
  • Non-oil retail manager worldwide for BP’s 23,000 petrol stations
  • UK Managing Director for LensCrafters (then part of US Shoe, now Luxottica)
  • Marketing/Buying Director for the Wickes home improvement chain in the UK
  • Network Director at Post Office Counters, responsible for retail operations at its then 16.000 post offices

In 1995, Mike joined Liz in managing Eastern European offshore production for major clothing retailers and brands.

At Clothesource his Tradetrak database, which tracks every garment crossing a border into Europe or the US since 1997, feeds Mike’s wide range of consultancy and published articles.

Mike is also one of the directors at the Charlbury Deli & Café. Which has revitalised the almost-dead high street in our Cotswold microtown by doubling the number of customers and increasing gross margin fourfold overnight without increasing spelling space. All on a budget of £15,000

Liz Leffman – Chair

Liz Leffman has experience of both hands-on production management and consumer goods marketing. This gives her unusual skills at ensuring production meets client briefs, and in helping her team make sensible commercial trade-offs during production difficulties.

She has acquired a reputation among European and US clients for integrity, for astute factory selection and for ensuring timetables are met.

Liz started work in the mid-1970s as a market researcher at the J Walter Thompson advertising agency, followed by a period as an account director at Saatchi and Saatchi, where she handled fashion retailing and cosmetics as well as packaged groceries.

She first learned how to establish and monitor quality standards when working for Britain’s National Dairy Council  with responsibility for setting up a Cheesemark for English and Welsh cheeses – the beginning of the revolution in British cheesemaking that’s transformed the country’s food market. Then a move to Courtaulds Textiles, first using her marketing skills to drive fabric innovation for Marks & Spencer and then as deputy MD in the Heanor  factory of Courtaulds Fabrics .

In 1992, she saw the potential of Eastern Europe as a garment and textile supplier and set up a business in Romania that eventually became Clothesource: she has now been finding factories and ensuring high-quality garments from the region for a quarter century.

Liz is a graduate of Leeds University (philosophy and history of art: perfect training for QC-ing colour in fabric) and  holds an MA from Oxford Brookes University in mentoring and coaching. She is an alumna of the London Executive Programme at the London Business School and is now taking a second Master’s at the University of Oxford  – while remaining in day to day control of our business. She is also a visiting lecturer on apparel and sourcing at Westminster University.

She represents our town on West Oxfordshire District Council, a slightly larger constituency (in surface area the size of London) on Oxfordshire County Council and is Chair in England of the Liberal Democrats: the UK’s third national party, with roughly the same membership as the Conservatives and the Scottish Nationalists, and three times the number of voters as the ScotNats.