Before you proceed for the final production of your collection, it requires several type of sampling during the entire clothing manufacturing process. Sampling is very important stage for both the brand owner (buyer / clients) as well as clothing manufacturing factory. At buyer ends, it helps to physically examine the overall quality whereas at factory end it helps to assess the manufacturing feasibility, cost estimation and take the candid comments from the client / buyers.
Size set sample
Salesman samples (SMS)
Pre-Production Samples (PPS)
Top overproduction sample (TOP)
If you’re at a beginning stage of your clothing business where you’re hunting for Small Batch Clothing Manufacturers, you might think it as tough task to get this all 8 kind of sampling. But please remember that this is just for your understanding and may not require to go through all 8 kinds of samples. To make it simple, let’s understand the meaning of each type of sample and its importance:
01. Prototype sample: The very first sample which is made after making the pattern, it is called prototype sample. This is the very first sample after the first hand details are received from the buyer related to the custom design and specification. In such sample, usually actual fabric and colors are not used. The purpose to make this sample is to see the overall look of style / model. Due to the purpose and nature of such sample, this does not require buttoning and quite a few other things which is not primary to see while a designer / buyer imaging or aspire to see the overall look of a style.
02. Fit sample: As the name itself explains, the objective of fit sample is to check the measurement given by the client. This is not necessary to use actual fabric and color for this sample.
03. Photoshoot samples: Lot of brands use to ask for photoshoot sample so that they can shoot the garment with a model and show to their customers / retailers with objective of pre-booking. In this sample, it is always recommended to use actual color, fabric, final measurement, finish, fitting and trims.
04. Salesman samples (SMS): This is required when a buyer needs to take the feedback from their retailer / focus group customer, test the market etc. Sales team of the clothing label use to enhance their sales and create a buzz about the upcoming collection using Salesman Samples. The quantity of such sample is not defined as it varies based on number of market / retailers and season sales ratio of the label. It may be 5 pcs per style to 10 pcs per style.
05. Size set sample: Most of the above samples are made in one size per style. Usually one size in which sample is made got approved but other sizes remains unapproved. Hence Size Set Samples come in process. Once production order is placed (specially if you're working for Kids Garment Manufacturer as under kids the size range may begin from new born to 10 years), the manufacturer use to send one sample in each size so that designer / label owner can check the fitment for each size.
06. Pre-Production Samples (PPS): Pre-Production Samples are made before final production begins. This essentially meet all the comments made on previous samples and is made out of actual color, fabric, desired finish and style detailing. This is also a kind of promise how the final production is going to be. PPS is the last way to do any modification / improvisation in order. Once PPS is approved, manufacturer goes blind with the order detailing and proceed for the final quantity of production.
07. Top overproduction sample (TOP): In the middle of a production order, few samples are picked and sent to the buyer / clothing label owner with objective to check the sewing quality, measurement, finish etc. This may be unfinished samples as well. These samples are just a kind of token how work is going on and what is going to be made.
08. Shipment sample: This is an old practice where buyers used to ask to send one sample out of finished and packed consignment. In the era of information technology and cost cutting, now a days a video clip or images do this work. However, this has own purpose where shipment sample give the glimpse what buyer is going to receive after final inspection, folding, tagging, bagging, labeling and packaging.
It is not mandatory that each of production order will go through all 8 rounds of sampling. There’re quite a few aspects to consider before a manufacturer or the private label clothing owner decides which kind of sample is required for given production order. It depends on the situation, style detailing, timeline, feasibility, cost etc whether and which sample to be made. The purpose is to have well informed and wise decision before moving for the bulk production by both the clothing manufacturer.