Why I DO NOT PAY for apparel samples.
When a relationship is started with an offshore factory (or local), one of the few ways for you to gauge a factory's abillity, is to get them to make a counter sample one or two of your styles.
Many factories ask for a fee. I have seen and heard of fees, ranging from 50 Dollars to 200 Dollars.
In essence, anyone paying for 1 or 2 counter samples, is paying for the factory's marketing and business development cosrs. It is like asking a factory to contribute to your advertising budget. Not going to happen, so why are you contributing to theirs?
And, how many of you have received bad quality counter samples that you paid for?
Often I hear from suppliers, that they charge, because they have made counter samples for buyers before with no orders coming. Sorry, but placing an advert, going to a trade show, Alibaba, websites, etc, do not guarantee business.
One of the only ways to evaluate is through counter samples. Gold Status on sites like Alibaba, is paid for. It means absolutely nothing. It is a guarantee of zero. Same with websites, brochures, and photos of previous production (often store bought, just for photo purposes, to dupe the buyer). A factory's sample room is also ripe for deception. How many of the samples did the factory actually make? I have had a supplier admit he went to the mall to fill up his sample room. Many samples may be reference samples sent by a previous buyer.
To clarify, I am talking about counter samples prior to considering placing business with a factory. Once business is placed, all other sampling requirements need to be included in the final price.
I will always ask a supplier to counter sample two styles in my potential order, in closest available fabric and color, with no trims or artwork. This is the only way to evaluate sewing quality, interpretation, and the ability to achieve the garment specification.
If you are happy to pay, go ahead. The factory will not thank you for free revenue, though.
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