One of the most exciting stages of the product development process is when your first samples are completed especially if you are working with manufacturers long distance. This will reveal the strengths (or weaknesses) in your communication skills,designs and your technical specifications packs.
First samples come in all shapes and sizes and sometime a lot of imagination can be required to visualise what the final product may be. The manufacturer may use available fabric in available colours to make the 1st sample, particularly if you have not indicated your expectations in advance.
More often than not there will have to be substitutions but a good manufacturer will keep you informed and up-to-date. if they need to use a substitute fabric they should provide a swatch of the actual quality that will be used for production and the costing will be based on to be accurate.
Whether you are starting out or working in a large organisation it is important to have a process in place to follow. If you are responsible for a large category with many styles in development at one time, then good management and organisation is essential. For example without target dates it would be impossible to adhere successfully to the seasonal fashion calendar and deliver your products to retail and launch on time to achieve your sales targets.
Points to keep in mind
- Understand the key calendar dates
- Set targets and deadlines
- Keep communication open to avoid mis- understanding
- Follow up in a timely manner to avoid delays
- Build a strong relationship with your manufacturers you never know when you will need to ask a favour !