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Create The Perfect Spec Sample

The room’s alight with excitement. After waiting weeks to receive a custom jacket spec sample from your supplier, you’ve got it in-hand and can’t wait to show your top client. When you remove it from the box, your client points to the purple underarm mesh, saying, “That’s not exactly what I wanted!” And the air goes out of the room.

Let’s face it. Nailing down exactly what your clients want in their custom product isn’t easy – and you risk wasting weeks of production time you can’t get back if the sample isn’t right. Plus, you need to be able to communicate your client’s requirements to your sourcing partner so you don’t get a spec sample that misses the mark.

We’ve got five proven ways to hit that perfect spec sample bullseye on your first try.

Arm yourself with lots of samples when you meet with a client to discuss their custom product. While words can be descriptive in terms of size (large or small) or style (modern or vintage), and photos are inspiring, nothing is more exact than a physical item to match. Your client might already have a sample product they’ve seen at retail, such as a branded shirt, they’d like to replicate.If so, buy it and share it with your global sourcing partner. Shirt details such as fabric content, stitching, color, cut and finishing items like buttons, are all pieces of a complete story. If any details like button color or shirt length isn’t discussed, the spec sample won’t be what the client is expecting.

Determine a price point using physical product samples. If a client doesn’t have a specific item they want to replicate, show them good, better and best options to really understand their expectations. What fabric weight will they find acceptable and can they afford? Is a basic polo sufficient, or do they want something befitting an executive-level uniform?

One of the key benefits of having an in-hand sample is having the exact desired color. Be sure it’s put to good use – your manufacturer can color-match it. Ask for a lab dip before a whole dye lot is done to be sure you’ve got the right shade. That way the spec sample will be color-matched perfectly.

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