The manufacturer tasked to create your clothing samples does not have to be the one who will do the mass production of your items. There are factories who specialize in creating clothing samples but aren’t built for big quantity production. This situation can be very tricky since most of the time, clothing lines settle with their sample manufacturer as their final clothing manufacturer.
Let us keep in mind there is a different set of qualifications for sample manufacturers and wholesale manufacturers even though they are both related to each other. Your clothing sample maker should understand your product vision, pays attention to details and will charge accordingly for sampling. The product manufacturers are focused on the production line and their efficiency since they are producing large batches. Clothing sample manufacturers are more detail-oriented which is crucial when sampling.
How to Assess Clothing Sample Makers?
The best way to assess clothing sample manufacturers is to first determine their strength/s. For example, if they are good at pleating then note it down or if they are excellent at braiding and shades, then list them down as part of their pros. The next step is to find out their flaws and weaknesses. You do not have to include aspects wherein they are average at but simply list down things in which they are bad at. The clothing manufacturing companies that do mass production might also be an option if you don’t want to iterate too many samples and don’t want to try different sizing options.
Last but not the least, list down their respective fees for creating clothing samples. You don’t have to choose the clothing sample maker which charges the cheapest because you have to weigh all of the pros and cons along with their service fee to come up with your choice. You also have to think of the clothing style you are creating a sample for and assess whether your potential clothing sample maker is suitable for the job.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Clothing Sample Maker
1. Ask for a sample of their past work.
This is a direct evidence of their work quality and will help you assess their sampling service if they are as good as they claim to be. If they ever collaborated with other clothing sample makers for the product, then you deserve to know of the collaborators as well.
2. Who are their current and past clients?
Their client roster is also a good way to distinguish their level of reputation in the clothing industry. Big named clients should be someone to watch out for in their client list.
3. What are the materials they use?
Cotton clothing should be a given with clothing sample manufacturers but are they skilled in dealing with materials like wool or silk? You should be aware of the different materials they are skilled working with.
4. Ask for an estimated quote for your request.
This will help you check if they are additional charges aside from their professional fee. There are clothing prototype makers who attract customers based on their low service fee but have numerous additional charges which catches clients off-guard.
5. What are their payment terms?
Do they allow installment payments wherein you pay half of the amount upon order then pay the other half upon completion? There are different payment terms with clothing prototype makers, make sure the manufacturer you choose have terms which works for you.
6. What is the average sampling lead time?
You need sampling lead time information for you to know how fast they work and how long it takes for them to finish your fashion sample. The sampling lead time would also be critical for your choice to go with them as your clothing sample manufacturer.
Other Sampling Info You Need to Know of
Sampling costs vary depending on the type of clothing you want to get sampled. Coats and jackets are obviously more expensive compared to a regular shirt or dress. The materials needed for the clothing samples will also have a direct effect on the quote. You need to be considerate of these factors once you see the initial quote of your potential clothing prototype maker.
You should also remember the sampling process is not a one-time thing. You may get lucky if the clothing sample manufacturer gets the job done in their first try. Usually, it takes two or even three sampling attempts before they achieve the desired sample. Revisions are part of the process. They are neither a setback nor disadvantage but it would be helpful if your clothing sample manufacturer gets the job done in a try or two.
The location of the clothing sample manufacturer’s company is also a factor to their pricing. If they are located in the city proper, you can expect them to charge at a higher rate compared to clothing sample manufacturers located in the rural areas. This is pretty understandable given their rental fees and other costing components which are factors to their service fee. Let’s take China as an example. Most clothing lines ask sampling from clothing sample makers located in Guangdong instead of Beijing because of the huge disparity in terms of prices due to specialisation.
Always ask for the clothing sample pattern your clothing prototype maker used for the clothing samples. You will need the same exact clothing sample pattern for mass production later on. You don’t have to pay anything extra for this request as it is considered to be part of their service as your clothing sample maker. Asking for the clothing sample pattern will make the transition from sampling on to production easier most especially if you work with different clothing manufacturers for each process.
Clothing Sample vs. Final Product
Once you find your clothing sample manufacturer, it would be a big dilemma whether you hire them for mass production of your clothing products. Are they capable of producing the same quality when it comes to large quantities? A lot of clothing sample manufacturers assume they are right away given the production project after tasking them to do fashion samples for you. However, it would still be your choice to assess whether they are qualified to your standards or not.