The Importance of Sampling

The importance of: Sampling

Our last Milk line was our biggest yet! It featured various garment types and printing techniques in which we had never experienced before. We have been praised on how the whole line was presented, from the eyecatching designs, to the quality of print on garments themselves. We would love to say we achieved this high quality overnight, but it took a while to get it right- 6 months in fact. What did we do in those 6 months you ask? We sampled our asses off!

Try before you buy

So what is sampling? We suppose every company handles this process differently, but this is our way of doing it. We tend to get our designs print ready and send it off to one of our manufacturers with an order of one garment. Why one? Well what if there was a flaw in the design which you didn’t notice until it’s printed? Then you’re stuck with 200 or more reject garments! Yes, getting one garment printed or manufactured  may cost a lot more for one unit of stock, but having that peace of mind that the end product is to your liking really pays off in the long run and really makes things run smoothly. If you think the end product is of high quality, then your customers will.

Picking the right manufacturer

These are the people who are responsible in bringing your vision to life so it’s worth spending time doing this. The process can become tedious as it can take several days/weeks/months to find the right one for you. We ended up changingmanufacturers 5 times! But it was well worth the stress and money spent on the trial and error.

The problems we prevented: Dye sublimation

Over half of our new line was dye sublimated. We knew of the process but had little experience in the print set up and execution.  Sublimation printing is pretty much a 50/50 deal, either your design will work on a garment or it won’t. This can all depend on the way it’s printed or the garments the design is placed on. There’s one thing we hated about the process- those white triangles of death! White marks are common with the process, especially on the sleeves and under arms of the garments, but we wanted to reduce these to something unnoticeable. Again, sampling various garments helped us figure out how to do this. Here are some of our samples below and the problems we ran into.





It’s amazing to see how the same process is executed throughout each manufacturer, especially in the quality of print. They were all given the same graphic and same guidelines, which just goes to show you that this process definitely depends on the manufacturer you pick to do the printing. We were shocked by some of the samples we received back.We would have never released anything we weren’t happy with!

Will you sample?

There’s a lot more we learnt in those 6 months but we don’t want to show you too much do we? We hope that this shows you that quality takes time and spending that extra cash on testing can sometimes pay off. At the end of the day, you get back what you put in.

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About Matty Davis

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Matty Davis is the co-owner and lead designer of independent UK based clothing brand Milk UK. "I put tees in milk bottles" @itsmilkuk