The samples decide the ability of an exporter. The buyer will access the exporter and his organization only by the samples. If the samples are of good quality and with reasonable price naturally the buyers will be forced to place the order.So it is essential that the samples should be innovative and of optimum quality.
The purpose of sampling is not only to get bulk orders and also give some additional benefits to the exporters. By doing sampling the exporter can estimate the yarn consumption for developing the fabric, a clear idea on costing more ever the manufacturing difficulties.Besides by doing sampling only, the exporter can optimize the processing parameters for mass production, which helps to avoid all kind of bottlenecks. All these works are carried out by the sampling department, which we led by a sampling in charge.
The Details Attached to the Garment Sample
After the confirmation of order, each sample sent to the buyer has the following details attached to it, with the help of a tag. It contains the details pertaining to both, what the buyer has demanded and what supplement fabric/trim etc they have used (if applicable).
- Ref no.
- Style n0/ Size
There may be a separate sampling department in a company. But as the merchandiser is the person who is interacting with the buyers regarding samples and other requirements, this sampling department will work under the supervision of merchandising department. Also as the samples are to be made according to the buyers’ price ranges and quality levels, merchandiser has to advise sampling department suitably.
Persons involved in Sampling
We have to send many samples to buyers. They are
- Salesmen samples or promotional samples
- Proto samples or fit samples
- Counter samples or reference samples or approval samples
- Wash test samples
- Photo samples
- Fashion show samples
- Pre-production samples
- Production samples
- Shipment samples
The process of sample department varies from context to context, and the development process covers a wide range of diverse products from new fibers, fiber blends, new yarns, fabric structures, finishes and surface effects and all types of made up products such as knitwear, hosiery, cut and sewn garments, household products, technical and medical products.
There are different phases of sampling; the first phase covers the development of the initial concept or design idea through its approval by the customer and full review/risk analysis by the development and production teams.
The second phase covers the process following acceptance of the first prototype sample and includes the functions of sourcing and ordering component, testing the product and carry out trails once the finalized sample specifications have been drawn up, the third and final phase commences. The phase includes a range of activities that are carried out before large scale or bulk production capacity outside the home producer/developers wherever this is applicable.
Development samples or inquiry samples
When we work with some buyers continuously, we will have to keep on sending samples to them very often. Whenever they have inquiries, the buyer may need samples. Buyers may like to see the garments in a new fabric. For one inquiry, they may need samples in different fabrics to choose from. If they want to develop a new style of new fabric, then also we will have to send these samples.
We may have to spend too much on these samples. But these samples are inevitably important to develop business. Sometimes, even the buyer is not so confident of some inquiries, if our samples are good and attractive at reasonable prices, they will bring orders to us.
Also, we will have to send samples to the newly contacted buyers to show our workmanship, product range, quality standards and price level. These samples should be sent so that they would attract the buyers.
So it is better for a company to have a separate sampling department so that they can create new styles in new fabrics to impress the buyers.
Salesmen samples or promotional samples
Some buyer needs these samples for getting the orders from their customers. If the buyer is having 7 salesmen in his office, then the buyer will ask us to make 7 samples in each style. The salesmen will book the orders from their customers, by showing these samples. Buyer will place the order to us accumulating the quantities.
If we have sent samples for 5 styles, sometimes, we may get orders for all 5 styles, 3 styles or 1 style. Sometimes, we may not get an order for even a single style. Expected sales may not be possible, due to poor quality, unsuitable colors, improper measurements, unmatched prints or embroidery, etc of salesmen samples. Or it may be due to local business recession or competition or unsuitable prices. Anyway, we have to make these salesmen samples perfectly with a sincere interest to get orders.
We might have spent more money, time, etc for making these samples. But as we don’t get orders, we can not blame the buyer. He too can not help us in this regard. To avoid this embarrassing situation, it is better to discuss the cost of these samples with the buyer before proceeding for sampling.
Normally the sampling will cost us approximately 3 to 5 times of the garment price. We can not expect to get the full cost from the buyer. Of course, these samples will help us for our business. Hence we can ask the buyer to accept 2 or 3 times of garment price as the sampling cost, for the styles which we don’t get orders. Some genuine buyers will agree to this.
Photo samples or fit samples
These samples are to be made after getting the order sheets. These samples are needed to check the measurements, style, and fit. So they can be made in available similar fabrics but in the actual measurements and specifications.
Some buyers may need these samples if they want to print the photos of garments on photo inlays, packing box, hang tag, etc. These samples may be needed for local advertisement or buyer’s promotional occasions.
In any case, the samples will be worn by the highly paid models. The buyers will arrange the photo shoot session, by spending huge money to the advertising agencies. So the buyers will need these samples strictly on time. If they don’t get samples on time, the buyers will have to pay more compensation to the advertising agencies and models.
Buyers will ask us to make the photo samples according to the intended model’s body fit. So it is important to strictly adhere to these measurements. Buyer may ask these samples to send either from production or before starting production.
Counter samples or reference samples or approval samples
These samples are to be made in actual fabrics with actual trims. If the order is for 3 colors, the buyer may need samples in any one color and swatches (fabric bits) in other colors. These samples should be strictly as per the specifications in the order sheets. We have to get the approval for these samples from the buyer before starting production.
After getting the approval, the approved samples should be followed in production. Sometimes, the buyer may comment on fabric, measurements, making, etc. We have to follow his comments carefully in production.
Some buyer will mention that the order sheets subject to the approval of counter samples. So these samples are very important.
Wash test samples
If these samples are sent before starting production and if we get some remarks or comments on these samples, we can correct them in production. But some buyers will need us to send these samples from production before shipment. In this case, these samples may be considered as ‘shipment samples’. If these samples are rejected due to some complaints, then we will not have any excuse and we will be in real trouble.
These samples are almost like approval samples. They have to be made in actual production fabric with actual bulk trims. They will represent that the production will be like these samples.
These samples are to be sent before shipment to get the buyer’s confirmation for shipment. Hence these samples are needed to be perfect in all manners. Buyer may check these samples for everything or anything. Sometimes, they may do wash test also. We should not get any remark or comment. We have to get only ‘OK’ from the buyer. Then only we can ship the goods and we can be sure of getting payment. So these samples are to be sent with more and more care.
These samples are to be sent after shipment. They should be sent in actual packing with all labels, tags, etc. (Generally these samples will not be tested by the buyer for anything. And even if we get some comments from buyers, we can save ourselves by saying that these samples were sent from the leftover garments after the shipment; hence there might be some mistakes. If we expect any comments in these samples, it is better to inform the buyer during sending these samples).