Conveying your sports bra designs to manufacturers goes way beyond sending out a few flat sketches. It encompasses every back and forth starting with the initial quote all the way to production. You can streamline this by adopting a systematic way of communicating - with a single source of truth. Here are 4 tips to help you and your manufacturer get on the same page at every stage of the product development process.
Your idea is the blueprint you'll use to communicate your design to your manufacturer. A few vague sketches aren't enough here. Manufacturers won't be able to assess your requirements and provide accurate sampling and production estimates. So you need to convey all your technical requirements in one place for this. The more detailed, the better. You'll attract more offers from more suitable manufacturers. However, don't treat your ideas as a static set of instructions. They are a work in progress and subject to change. You'll refer back to your sketches throughout your sampling and production. This implies that every comment, revision, update, version and due date should be centralized around and communicated through your ideas. But don't expect to just dump your ideas on your manufacturer and expect them to get everything perfect on the first try. Communicating your designs isn't a one-shot thing, it's an iterative process. There will be multiple rounds of revision.
Say you've received your first sample and held your first fit session. You notice a few discrepancies in the measurements. So how do you make sure your manufacturer understands and fixes them? If there’s a problem with curved parts of your garment such as the armhole or hips, it can be helpful to add extra point of measurements for the same. This comes in real handy when you have to reassess your specs during multiple sample reviews.
For construction problems like an uneven hem or a bad curve of the neckline, you'll need to include comments with accompanying photos showing the issue. Make sure to add a comment specifying if a design detail is approved as well. Keep all that extra text and pictures in a separate comment sheet attached to your feedback. You'll be able to refer back to it when the next samples come in. The final step is to highlight these comments in your email and send it to your factory.
Manufacturers are busy and their attention span is rapid. As a rule of thumb, you want to be as direct and specific as possible when talking with them. This applies especially when working with overseas factories whose first language isn't English. In short, keep your messages brief and to the point. Use short words and phrases to outline problems so your manufacturer can easily see and fix them one by one. If they miss anything, write back and communicate immediately to make sure they don't miss it again. And most importantly, spell out exactly what you want. Don't take anything for granted. If you're not explicit with what you want and when you want it, manufacturers will consider it unimportant and ignore it. Your sample doesn't fit right. Don't just ask them to fix it. For a example, tell your factory that zip is 10cm too short, put a note to amend in the next sample and add the new zip length in your feedback.
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