I am working on a project now for a children’s apparel accessory. This product will use different fabrics that need to be stitched or glued together. I am sure some vendors will feel very challenged when I run the project by them because the product also has a plastic component. For this reason I have asked my client to go do some shopping to look for a product similar to hers which shows the kind of stitch and effect and the grade of plastic she requires. I have given her some ideas of what kind of product to look for and suggested she go down to her local Target or Wal-mart to see what she can find, buy a few samples and send them to me. I can then send them on to the vendors in China.
This shopping exercise is a very helpful thing to do when you have new products to run by your China vendors. Sometimes giving them just a written description of what you want or a written description with photos is not enough to convey your idea. It always helps if they have some physical samples they can reference, even if there are changes from that sample to your own product. As I like to say, never assume any level of understanding when you source overseas, but instead spell everything out for your vendor. And I mean everything. So a good question you need to ask yourself is this: Is there something down at Target or Wal-Mart or even on EBAY that is similar to what I have? And remember it does not have to be a product in the same product line as yours, but just one that might use the same construction. In the case of my apparel product, I told my client to go look in the pet section at her local Target because there she should be able to find an example of the durable fabric she is looking for with a plastic component.