Design Process Step 7: Sampling Your Products


fabric, measuring tape

Once you’ve locked down which manufactory you want to work with, the next step is to order some product samples from them to see how they will look and feel before you bulk order.

By ordering samples, you not only get to see how the products will look and feel but also you get a taste of what it is like to work with the manufactory. This taster will allow you to get a sense of their turn-around time and whether they hold up to all the promises they’ve made. 

To begin our own sampling process, we had to send our manufacturer the reference products we wanted them to copy from with the stitching and the overall quality first. Luckily we already had these reference products on hand from when we were working with our pattern maker so it was only a matter of us sending these over to the manufacturers in China.

Once the reference products were sent, our manufacturer went to work quickly. It took them approximately 1 week to get the samples made and they were on their way back to us. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to pay for all the shipping and handling fees throughout this entire process, so make sure you calculate this into your overall cost. 

When the postman delivered our samples, I was completely over the moon. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work is finally becoming a reality. We had 6 different samples made, a lace bralette and matching underwear, a lace bodysuit, a reprieve polyester bra with an inverted pattern, and finally, a bamboo bralette and matching underwear. Seeing as I am a size 6, we ordered the samples in size 6. Generally, I was happy with all the samples, except the bamboo underwear which was a little loose and the underarm of the bodysuit could have also been slightly tighter. 

If you find that there are small tweaks you want to amend, make sure you let the manufacturer know as soon as you can to avoid any delays. Our manufacturer was again quick to respond and was happy to make any adjustments with a batch of resampling. 

Shipping the samples back and forth is not only costly on price but also on time. So, make sure that you and the manufacturer are fully across all the changes before you go through another round of sampling. 

What we found usefully during the sampling process is the fact that we are building a stronger relationship with our manufacturer and knowing the best way of communication and our working relationship.

Due to the fact that I personally didn’t come from a design background, navigating this process was a whole new territory for me and I have to admit that it was quite scary. However, luckily our manufacturer was there every step of the way and that reassurance did calm my nerves and made the process far more enjoyable. So, the moral of the story is to make sure you find a trustworthy manufacturer that you can build a long term relationship with. This will definitely pay off in the long run!

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