From my mail:
I’ve learned from you and the forum that I have to be careful what I say to sewing contractors and others, because “everyone knows everyone.” So how do I tell this guy, ‘send me back my fabric, samples and materials or tell me when I should pick them up’ without hurting my own business? Am I suppose to act nice, or tell him how unprofessional I think he is? do I call or send an email? I am very very upset.
There’s some history from the forum. She’d written previously:
I had a meeting with a local sewing contractor back in mid November, and they said they would make samples for me to see how they should price production. I sent the requested fabric, trim, etc. and some sample product. I knew the Christmas rush was coming up, so I didn’t bug them before the holidays, but after the new year got here, I called and the supervisor said that he would do it “soon, I promise.”
We’re coming up to the end of the third week of the new year. Should I bug him again? Is it typical for sewing contractors to take their time with samples, or should I call once a week until they actually give my samples a go? Is this a sign of the kind of service I should expect from this company, or is this typical because they are so busy with other current customers?
She followed up on 22 Jan 2008 with:
Well, I just got off the phone with the sewing contractor. “Oh, just by chance, we are doing your samples today!” He was also sort of hinting to me that he’d like me to commit to a run because he has some employees he might need to lay off if he doesn’t have my job.
I know that I’m the naive one here, and it’s probably a pain in the butt for him to deal with people who are new and don’t have a history of this level of production, and I know I’m vague with some numbers because I can’t get solid order numbers before I have product, and I can’t commit to product before I have numbers. I felt pressured to commit to something when I don’t even know if they can do a good job on making my product.
Maybe I’ve just got a bad attitude because of the long delay. I almost told him, never mind, send me back my fabric. But he’s doing the samples, he said, so I’ll see what happens.
Is it common for sewing contractors to voluntarily make samples, or do you usually have to pay for them? He just asked for fabric and said he would make them, gratis. Does that give him the right to do it on his own time, months after asking for the fabric?
Apparently the contractor hadn’t made the samples as he said he had since she emailed me Friday with more of the same. Frankly, I’m at a loss in these matters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a variation of this story chapter and verse. Do you have any ideas? Have you employed any successful strategies to get your contractors into compliance? Alternatively, if you’ve been in this spot before, explain how you feel that a contractor can make things right with you in the event of delayed sample or work delivery. Thanks!