Sometimes suppliers will say they will make the sample. But it won’t include…

the logo.

Or the custom color.

Or the exact material.

Why does this happen?

How does the supplier expect to get an order if they won’t make a sample?

Let’s break this down.

Refusing to make the sample as per full specifications

This happens for a few reasons.

You’re a new buyer

The supplier doesn’t know you. Refusing to go whole hog on the sample is a way of testing you out.

How do they know you’re going to order?

They’re seeing first if you’ll take baby steps.

If you balk, then they justify it by saying “you weren’t serious in the first place.”

Supplier isn’t clear and doesn’t want to communicate. 

Sometimes they’re not clear on what you’re asking.

And they don’t want to get in to the weeds of back-and-forth. It’s hard to blame them. If a buyer cannot send necessary specs in some sort of thorough manner, why should the supplier spend time chasing down a client?

They may be busy. Perhaps as a buyer you haven’t built up a strong track record.

By them refusing to offer you the 5-star sampling service, it’s their way of minimal investing and if you walk, then all the better.

Sometimes it’s about money, machines and minimums

Cost and waste.

To fully customize the sample the factory may have to invest in a bulk-style process.

The supplier hopes you’ll agree to the correct aspect for mass production.

“Here’s a form of sampling, but trust us to get the rest right for mass production.”

How can I confirm the color if I cannot see it?

For long-term customers, this is not as big of an issue.

The factory invests in the customization.

Or the customer knows the factory well enough from previous orders, they have first-hand experience that they’ll get the customization process right in mass production.

The client uses proper QC stopgaps to gauge this during the process…

3rd party vendor.

Fully making the sample requires getting a 3rd party vendor on board.

This is a vendor you don’t contact, but your supplier does.

For whatever reason, your supplier has trouble convincing this vendor to do what needs to be done.

The other vendor could be busy or unwilling.

Your supplier doesn’t want to pull what’s essentially considered a favor.

It’s another case of 1 sample not sending chills of excitement down the supply chain.

3rd party vendors who supply one aspect to an order, don’t make much money off each order.

So when the other vendor comes to them asking for something for a 1 piece sample, the 3rd party vendor isn’t wondering “where can I quickly sign up?”

If it’s multiple changes the supplier may lose interest.

They’re tired of making changes.

At this stage it’s either “cook or get out of the kitchen.”

Sometimes buyers forget the goal of the whole thing is an order.

You know, actual money actually changing hands.

From the buyer’s perspective, a sample has to be pristine.

From many factories’ perspectives, you’re being picky.