Sampling of garments is given great emphasis. It determines the approval of future orders from buyers and fetches business for a garment manufacturing or export company. Sampling is one of key elements of the pre-production processes in a garment industry. Before a manufacturer produces bulk orders, a prior sampling of styles is done to get approvals and jumpstart the fabrication of garments.
Sampling is not just for buyers, but the manufacturers can also derive estimates of yarn consumption for development of fabric, dyeing, printing, and stitching cost for a particular style or pattern given by the buyer. Companies can have a separate sampling department or a merchandiser, who works closely with the sampling section to source raw materials, and processes for developing a quality product for an affordable price.
Sampling includes details like a product/style code or a reference number, color specifications, kind of fabric, composition, description, quantity, and details of embroidery, buttons, zippers, or any other sort of accessories used. Hence it can be said that samples of garments work as a bridge between buyers and the producers.
There are many people who are involved directly and indirectly in the process of sampling. Designers, buyers, individuals engaged in sourcing and purchasing, production team, quality control personnel, and the costing department at different levels work closely on the sampling of garments.
There are various types of samples that are developed by manufacturers depending on the requirement of their respective buyers. The following is a list of different kinds of samples used in the garment export industry:
Promotional samples or salesmen samples are developed to procure orders from retailers. These are good quality samples, which use actual accessories and fabrics. The buyer has to pay for these kinds of samples.
Proto samples are made after receiving the order sheets, and are the very initial sets of samples sent to the buyer. The design and style of a garment are communicated; the fit and fabric detailing are not given so much attention. Once the proto samples are approved, fit samples are developed.
Fit samples are designed to check the measurements, fit, and the style. Details of construction of the garment and standards needed to be maintained by the manufacturer are maintained in these samples. Certain times these samples are tried on models to check the fitting and the fall of the garment.
Size samples are sent to the buyers once the fitting is approved in small, medium, large and other sizes as per the requirement. Mass cutting of fabrics begins only once a final approval of all the sizes is received.
Pre-production samples are the samples, which are made in the production department once all the above sampling approvals are received. They are made with the actual fabrics, trimmings, and accessories that will be used in the future placed order. After a full and final approval is received from the buyer, the actual production can proceed.
Top of production samples are the samples that are picked up in between, once the manufacturing process has begun. All buyers do not demand for top of production samples, but some do, to make sure that the garments being manufactured are as per the decided specifications.
Shipment samples are sent to the buyer when the completed garments are packed and are ready to be shipped. These samples are sent in cases when the garments are directly delivered at stores or warehouses of the buyers, to view the final product and its packaging.
Sampling plays a vital role in getting orders from the buyer. It is a representation of the manufacturer's or exporter's potential to deliver desired outputs based on the details and information specified by the buyer. Besides this, sampling also gives an idea regarding the time and cost that the manufacturer of the garments will require completing the whole order, and delivering the products in time.
A sample of a garment can either make or break the future of getting orders from buyers. A good quality sample can invite more business and buyers to manufacture garments. It also gives the manufacturer the opportunity to look for options to source fabrics, trims, and other garment accessories necessary for the design at a cheaper price but of better quality, which further helps in costing. It helps in optimizing the process parameter for mass producing and also can aid in eliminating bottlenecks.
On the other hand, buyers can keep a check on the production of garments, the designs, and styles that are required, which are generally outsourced to manufacturers situated at a far distance. Holding a physical sample of a garment helps the buyer check the look, feel, fall, colors and shades, fitting, and the pattern of a certain style.
It can therefore be concluded that sampling in garment exports is of utmost significance not just to the manufacturer but also to the buyer.