From the outside looking in, there can be a lot of Pros in going through the sampling process. In this blog we will discuss some of those Pros, but also some of the Cons you may be unaware of while going through the sampling process.
Product sampling can be ideal when you were testing out a new fabric, new designs, new garment sizes, or an entirely new item to your product lineup. Sampling allows you to spend some money upfront to do research on whether or not your idea will really take hold in the marketplace. Sampling allows you to get feedback from customers, and from your apparel brand management team, who can tell you what is right and wrong with the product. Additionally, if something goes wrong in your sampling process, you have effectively avoided huge losses of money that could happen by skipping this step.
Oversampling is one of the biggest mistakes we see made regularly. If you are moving your brand to a new company and ordering items on the same garment with the same design, in the same location and size as you normally do, sampling is the wrong first step. You’re making a move like this, either because you’re looking for a better service or you were looking for a higher quality. Yes, the relationship you are leaving is probably poor quality, to begin with, and what you really need will quickly be evidenced in production.
Lastly, a pretty big mistake we see is free sampling. Now that may sound counterintuitive, but anytime something is free it is automatically devalued. Sampling process for apparel can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to do right. This is due to the low quantity of items needed and industry “sampling fee structure”. Whether we like it or not, it takes time to prepare people and machinery to produce even just one garment for you to test. And typically, the places you are asking to do this are in the high-volume game, to begin with, and therefore this is not the highest and best use of their staff time or machinery. After all, the are in the business of production, not sampling. That being said, there are exceptions to the rule and we’re happy to help you identify whether your project falls into that bucket or not.
One Final Thought: Samples can delay your get-to-market timeframe. Because of the aforementioned challenges with high-volume producers, sampling is not always a high priority on their list, and many places don’t even offer it. It is always best to start sooner than you think you need to, ask specific questions, and know what your end game is before you enter into a sampling process.