Sampling costs explained (& how to save money)

Sampling costs explained (& how to save money)

Here's exactly how clothing manufacturers work out your sampling costs! 

Sampling costs can be really confusing, and it's easy to waste a lot of money in the process. But it can be done in a cost-effective way and we're going to show you the exact steps you need to take to save money when getting clothing samples made.

Sampling is tricky and there's so many ways in which to sample your garments. That said, whatever route you take, the very basic principle for how manufacturers cost your samples is pretty simple:

The more complex your designs are, the more work the manufacturer has to do, and the more the samples will cost!

Take a look at this simple example below: 



Tee shirt tech pack

The two tees in the image above look really similar right? However #1 is cheaper to sample than #2 and here's why...

There is an obvious difference in fabric weight. Heavier fabrics are more expensive to make and more expensive to ship so there's an obvious and easy to understand price increase between #1 & #2. 

The second pricing increase for #2 is found in the graphic. Both #1 & #2 use screen print as the means of graphic application. Screen print works by laying a screen over a garment and passing ink through a section that hasn't been blocked out. Each colour requires it's own screen. More colours equals more screens required and more work for the manufactures and that increases sampling costs. #1 has only one colour and #2 has 4 colours making it more expensive! 

So, now that we're clear on the basic principle of sampling costs, let's look in a bit more detail at how clothing samples are priced.

1. Why are sampling costs so much more than bulk manufacture costs? 

The answer is pretty simple but not always so obvious!

When sampling a garment, the manufacturer has to figure out lots of things, such as:

  • The pattern for the garment
  • The best method of constructing the garment
  • The best fabric to use for your required fit along with graphic sizing and application.

Once this foundation work is done, it makes making the bulk production run a lot quicker and simpler, and this is reflected in the price. 


2. It's usually cheaper to get the same base shape manufactured in different colours (when doing it at the same time). 

Let's think simple economies of scale...

When you design the same base shape in the same fabric and it's just the colour of the fabric that's changing, the manufacturer can work on the clothing samples at the same time. That makes it quicker for them and therefore cheaper to make. The best thing to do is sample your shape in all the colours you'd like in one go (even if you plan to drop some of the colours later on). 


3.  The more complex your samples are to make the more they will cost to sample!


The more complex your designs are (e.g. if you've got lots of zips, panels, drawstrings etc), the more work the manufacturer has to do, and the more the samples will cost! 

If you'd like some useful tips on how to maximise your 'bang for your buck', why not read our a handy guide on how to design your clothes in the most cost-effective way

4. Using the manufacturers 'Stock Fabrics' is always cheaper!

Manufacturers usually have stock fabrics. These are fabrics that they keep in stock or have very easy access to. They are usually the most verified and trusted fabrics. By utilising these fabrics it saves time and money for the manufacture and those discounts are passed on to you! 

In conclusion: Your clothing sampling costs explained

The easier you make it for the manufacturer to sample your garments, the lower the cost will be! More complex items take more work and therefore cost more!

All good clothing manufacturers charge for samples and usually a higher sample cost will mean that they are really taking the garment sample needs into account. 

Manufacturers hardly make any money from sampling. Sampling is just a means to secure the bulk manufacture order. This is why lots of manufacturers make you commit straight to bulk manufacture and send you a 'free sample'. The samples are never in fact 'free', they just hide the sampling costs in your bulk manufacture costs (btw, Hook and Eye UK don't do this, we allow clients to sample without having to commit to bulk manufacture). 

In our tech pack and design sessions we help you utilise all of the tips above to build an interesting clothing range whilst being as cost-effective as possible.

If that sounds useful, click here to book a tech pack and design session.

Love Joss H&E xx 

P.s We're here for you of you have questions drop us a WhatsApp on +447939591255