As a designer it is super exciting to receive your production and see all of your beautiful products finalized and ready to ship out to your customers! On the flip side, it can be really disheartening when the quality of your production does not meet your expectations. There are a lot of steps that need to be taken to ensure that you are communicating effectively with your factory so that your production runs smoothly and the products are finished to your expectations. One of the most important steps is having a pre-production sample that both you and your factory have agreed upon as the standard for quality.
The pre-production sample will be the one that is referenced as the factory sews your products for the overall quality of the construction. There are a lot of small details that create the overall quality of a product. This will include details such as how the seams are finished, what types of seams are used and how many stitches will be sewn per inch. The placement for all of the trims and labels as well as how the garment will be shipped will also be indicated. For instance, your brand label will need to be placed in the same spot on each item. For shipping it is important to note whether you want your garment poly bagged or boxed. You will want to know exactly what it will look like before it ships out.
While both the designer and the factory are agreeing that the pre-production sample is an example of the quality of the production, it also serves as an agreement to the price that will be paid for each piece. A lot of factories provide a cut and sew price based on the sew by sample that the designer provides. However, once the factory sews the pre-production sample they might find small details that change the original price that they estimated. For instance, it might take longer to sew than they anticipated. Or, they might find that a certain trim or finishing does not work with their machines. Sometimes they might make suggestions on how to sew the item for better quality or easier sewing. This final sample serves to solidify those final production costs.
Throughout the development process of a line (way before you are ready to even pick a factory) you will create many prototypes and many samples. Each prototype is necessary in developing the perfect fit and design for each garment. Once you start working with your factory usually you are tired of sewing samples and are itching to get production started already! However, it is crucial to take the time to have them sew a sample that is approved before production. Sometimes you might even need to have them sew more than one sample before you get the perfect one. The final pre-production sample serves to hold both parties accountable which will in turn help to maintain a positive working relationship between yourself and your factory.
We love helping our clients oversee their production! If you need help, please contact us!