Updated: Nov 1, 2019
by Corban Bryant
If you've ever ordered a custom-sewn product before, you probably learned that there is a ton of work that goes into getting a product ready for production. First, there is design, which is a whole separate issue and we won't focus on that in this post. But once you set off to turn a design into reality you usually begin by:
- making technical sketches;
- setting main measurements for the fit of your brand;
- sourcing materials;
- making a pattern;
- sewing muslins or test samples;
- making a prototype;
- perhaps refining the design for feasibility, fit, durability, or cost and resampling;
- and then finally developing a detailed tech-pack and costing.
Throughout this process, there are a million details. Often designers/brands find that a number of different service providers will need to be involved. As you explore the options for service providers, you may find you'll end up repeating some of this process with different providers as they may not offer you the exact package you need. It can be a complicated process trying to find the answer to the questions:
Who is the best option for doing all this work?
How much should it cost?
At Purnaa, we make it easier by offer sampling, pattern-making, sourcing, and grading services. We consider all of this as a part of the product development process. We assign a project manager who will be with you every step of the way. They send photo updates as the sample is developed and most importantly, they work with you to refine the design to meet your cost, quantity, and timeline needs.
BUT~ We too were curious about the going rates in the industry for these production preparation services. So, we conducted a survey of 32 different sample-service providers that all market themselves as ethical or sustainable in some way. We sometimes had to secret-shop them to find out their pricing and process because they often don't post it online. Here's what we learned...
Different Types of Sampling Service Providers
First, there are many types of sample service providers. Some are manufacturers that offer sampling as a service to prepare for producing, some are sourcing companies that mix and match service providers and help customers find a manufacturer (effectively middlemen who manage the project for you), some are design houses that help with design and sampling but leave it to the customer to find a manufacturer. Here are the categories we studied.
Types of Services
Each company offers some services, but perhaps not all. Here's the distribution of different services offered.
How is it Priced?
Each company prices these services differently. Very few publish their prices online and you may have to give them a specific design before finding out any cost info, or they might even wait to tell you until the sample is complete. But, we found there to be a handful of main pricing systems.
What Does it Cost
For preparing a new style for production (which usually includes sourcing material, making a pattern, making a sample, and making a tech-pack though all these services might not be offered by each option we researched) we found the average total sampling cost to be $1,548/style. This varied widely across types of organizations.
We did notice that it is usually much more costly to use a sampling service and then approach a manufacturer because you will likely have to pay a second time for some of the same work. This is because a manufacturer needs to test sewing a garment before they can provide a firm cost even if you provide a prototype and pattern.
Costing at Purnaa
Purnaa has packages for our product development services so you can choose and pay for only what you need as you prepare for manufacturing. We charge a flat fee per package depending on what services you need for production. On average we save you more than 45% compared to our study of competitors. Our packages are:
If you'd like to explore making a product or find out our pricing, send us a design idea to get started. We'd love to hear from you.