The sampling process may vary slightly between countries and factories as well as pending the product type. The timelines below are based on fabrics being available for purchase in sample yardage. If sample yardage is not available to purchase, then the bulk fabric must be purchased during the sample stage in order to make final samples incorrect fabric, which is recommended in order to approve samples for bulk production. If a fabric is to be knitted from scratch, around 60 days must be allowed for fabric to be made.
FIT SAMPLE **Required
PURPOSE: This is a sample made from the first pattern and intended to test the designer’s idea. This sample is often made in substitute or cheaper fabrication, however, they may also be made in the correct fabric, if sample yardage is available in white or stock colour (without dye or print) to ensure the fit and drape will be more accurate from the beginning.
Generally 1 – 2 revisions are expected at fit sample stage.
QTY: Only one copy is made at FIT sample stage, any adjustments need to be returned to the factory pinned with fit notes and updated tech packs.
COST: Fit samples may be a small fixed or variable (pending fabric) cost including patterns and 1 to 2 x free labour alterations pending the extent of change.
PROTO SAMPLE **Required
PURPOSE: This sample is the result of previous alterations from FIT samples. This sample should meet the designer’s test for fit and execution made ideally in “correct” material, colours and trims if available. The fit and execution of this sample must be approved, and all treatment and trims confirmed by swatches strike off’s at this stage.
The prototype is used for costing. If the proto is approved, SMS samples may not be necessary.
Sizes are graded upon approved sample size. A grading speck sheet will be provided by the designer and must be approved along with samples and final updated tech pack, this will be used as bulk production sew-by. Changes after grading will cause a domino effect of double handling and cause additional cost and extended timelines.
QTY: If the prototype is approved and no SMS samples are required before bulk, then duplicates are recommended as the factory will need reference samples during production. Otherwise, the client must send back their only sample which may be needed for sales and marketing.
If adjustments need to be made, the samples must be returned to the factory pinned with fit notes and updated tech packs.
COST: 2 – 3 x bulk F.O.B price
SALESMAN SAMPLE (SMS) ** Sometimes required
PURPOSE: This is the updated (if changes to Proto was required) or duplicated version of the Proto sample, which is also made with confirmed fits and in all correct material, colours, trims and qualities if available. SMS samples are for the purpose of duplicated samples required for sales and marketing and will be used as bulk production sew-by.
QTY: Duplicates of the approved pre-production sample must be made for each party.
COST: 2 – 3 x bulk F.O.B price.
SIZING SAMPLE ** Not common
PURPOSE: Sample the grading of sizes if a graded speck sheet is not sufficient for confirmation prior to bulk. If silhouettes vary greatly between styles, test sizes of various styles may be needed. If there is a large range of sizes, there may be a limit to how many colourways and sizes can be sampled.
QTY: A copy for the client only.
COST: Same as Proto and SMS
PRE PRODUCTION SAMPLE (PP) ** usually required
PURPOSE: This is the final approved version made in bulk material after PO order is calculated, the material is purchased and received, and size grading is approved (via spec sheets or size samples), and before bulk cutting start.
PP samples are always part of the process with our factories in China, however, in Bali we recommend to avoid them wherever not necessary if Proto or SMS samples and strike off for bulk material swatches are approved. This is because lead times are longer in Bali and whilst waiting for approved PP samples, production is put on hold. PP samples have to be made in the sample room and therefore are higher cost for the factories, but are usually only charged at bulk prices.
QTY: Generally 2 copies per style only in one colour for the client only.
COST: Same as bulk F.O.B prices.
REMARK: PP samples should be specified with bulk PO.
SHIPPING SAMPLE (Also called TOP/ Top Of Production)** Required
PURPOSE: A set of samples are pulled from production prior to shipping the entire bulk to double-check all qualities are approved before shipping the reminder. This process is generally required unless an external QC is hired.
QTY: 1 x unit per style/colour /size will be shipped to the client from the finished bulk order for pre-approval 1 week before shipping bulk.
COST: Bulk prices/part of PO (bulk) order/invoice.
REMARK: Shipping samples should be specified with bulk PO.