Here’s a subject we’re always asked about: How does a new glove get made?
Creating a one-of-a-kind glove prototype, and producing a first sample, isn’t like getting a sample in your local ice cream scoop shop. No offense to Ben and Jerry’s, but there’s a lot more involved.
Let’s look at the process, from concept to first sample.
Glove Design: From Idea, to Reality
To kickoff a new glove project, we start by learning about your goals. Most buyers have some idea of the features they want, but glove design options are numerous.
Once we understand your vision, expressed in a design brief or verbally, our design team develops a series of sketches, either from scratch or by modifying an existing style. It’s both an art, and a science.
Finally, it’s time to create a physical glove, based on precise specifications. This is where things really get interesting, depending on what’s needed.
Making Glove Samples: What’s Involved?
There are 5 basic steps to create a custom glove prototype:
Sample Room: First, the design is sent from our USA based design center, to the sample room at our glove factory, where highly skilled artisans hand make each sample.
Materials: Next, our sample makers gather the materials. Some may be on hand — others must be obtained from multiple suppliers, often from thousands of miles away.
(This is not a slam dunk by any means — our suppliers may have minimums to get small runs of special fabrics or colors, and unique parts or trims may require tooling and dies.)
Set-Up, Cut and Sew: Once the materials are assembled, the handmade sample is cut and sewn. This can be more or less complex, depending on style, technical requirements, glove components, logo treatments and embroidery, etc.
Inspection: When complete, the sample maker inspects the handmade glove for fit and finish, to make sure it matches all specifications.
- Shipping: Finally, the sample is sent to the USA from China.It is typically expedited using a courier/shipping service, to arrive the next day.
What if the Initial Cost is More Than My Target Cost?
The role of the very first sample is to give the glove designer’s concept a physical form — but the designer’s job doesn’t end there. We value-engineer the product, present you with alternatives, and work with you until it’s right.
Together, we arrive at an acceptable cost and margin, without compromising the glove aesthetic or performance.
This is fairly common with a first sample …. and that’s where a glove maker’s expertise comes in.
Sometimes, it takes one try. Sometimes it takes 2 or even 3. It’s an iterative process.
If we’ve worked with you for years, we’re already on the same page, and we’ve developed a way of communicating and a level of trust that speeds things up.
When new partners work together, it’s a learning process. Once we’ve gotten to know each other, communication is easier.
How Long Will It Take For Me To Get ALL the Samples I Need?
Okay, you’ve approved a prototype. But we’re not done yet.
You’ll need more samples, for ads and photo shoots, sales samples, trade shows
Depending on what materials we have on hand to work with, what else is going on in the sample room, and what other rabbits we have to pull out of the hat:
It could take 7-10 business days … or more, or less. Recently, we made 40 handmade snowmobile glove samples for a photo shoot, in a week (10 styles, 4 colors each). But developing a new style that needs unique components sourced, could take a month.
We work with you to meet your needs.
Read more: What will my sample cost? Plus, how to speed up the sampling process, and reduce this expense:
P.S.here’s a free resource to get your next glove project going:
Glove Companies Make It Possible.
Glove companies give shape to your ideas. It’s a collaborative process.