182: Q&A | How Do Freelance Technical Designers Review Protos Remotely?

Ever wondered how freelance technical designers review garment samples remotely?

Look no further! In this episode, we join Heidi and guest Sarah Wattley as they discuss the ins and outs of this fascinating process. From deciding who receives the sample first, to marking up tech packs and coordinating Zoom sessions, Heidi lays out multiple options to navigate the sample review process efficiently. Discover the benefits of having two samples sent to different parties, and explore the role of pattern makers in the grand scheme of things. Whether you’re a freelancer or a fashion enthusiast, you won’t want to miss this insightful conversation on making remote sample reviews a breeze!

Sara is a single mom of two trying to find that flexible balance between work and home life. Throughout her career, she has explored many areas within the fashion industry of her country and often faces logistical challenges when it comes to reviewing samples.  Sarah’s dedication to her work and passion for the industry shine through her determination to have the samples in her hands and personally inspect them. Her commitment to excellence and her expertise in tech packs make her a highly sought-after professional in the fashion industry.

Connect with Sarah:

  • Email at sarah.wattley@gmail.com
  • Follow her personal stories on Instagram
  • Connect on Linkedin

Heidi [00:00:00]:

This episode, you’ll hear a clip from a 1 on 1 strategy session with one of my FAST students, Sarah Watley. Sarah is a freelance technical designer and had questions about how to review samples and photos remotely. Does the sample come to her or to her client and how does that whole process work? And also how’s the pattern maker involved in everything? So I talked Sarah through a few different scenarios of how she can handle sample and proto reviews remotely to make sure that deadlines are met and development still stays on track. We also go through when the pattern maker may or may not be involved in the process. Let’s get

Sarah [00:00:32]:

to it. Oh, I did have a question about, if you’re doing the tech packs, I know that, at some point, this, You know, you have to check back over the samples. I know you talked about that. I don’t know if it was podcast or where. But who do they send it to? Like, would they send it to me? Because if I’m here in Trinidad, is gonna be, you know, cost prohibitive at all? And that’s if the if the facture’s in China and the designers in the US and I’m in Trinidad, like, Do they send the sample to the designer? Do they send it to me? Because I would I mean, I would prefer to have it in my hands and to, you know, check it.

Heidi [00:01:05]:

Yeah. Okay. So there’s a couple of different ways that this scenario can go. Mhmm. And I hear this question quite often. So one is you don’t actually do anything with the samples. Like, you just do the tech pack and, like, they take it and run. Because then doing protos and maybe fittings and stuff is a step beyond offering tech packs. You totally can offer that service, but some people do tech packs and then they’ll answer questions accordingly, but, like, that’s it. Quit. They’re not then doing, like, proto reviews and fittings and stuff. K? So that’s kind of option 1. But if you do wanna do a sample review, which it sounds like you do, there’s a couple options. Option 1 is the sample can come to either you or the brand first for 1 of 1 of you guys to review Mhmm. Make comments. You can maybe even hop on Zoom and do comments together, and then whoever has the sample then mails it to the other person. Okay? So that adds a lot of time Mhmm. Right, to have the sample then go here and then there. Right? Option 2 is the factory makes 2 samples. So the brand pays a little bit more for sampling, and then the factory sends 1 to each of you. So then this saves

Sarah [00:02:19]:

time. Yeah.

Heidi [00:02:20]:

There’s of course, there’s shipping costs, and the brand is responsible for all the shipping costs. K? That’s something it’s in the invoice template inside Fast, but it’s like any shipping or added expenses incurred, like Pantone swatches or something, which you probably won’t be doing since you’re doing technical, not design, but is to be paid by the brand. And so, you know, the brand can have their FedEx or UPS or DHL number or whatever, and everything just, like, runs through that. You know, as a brand, that’s something you have to absorb. There are shipping expenses. So my preferred method is the 2 samples, and one

Sarah [00:02:56]:

goes to

Heidi [00:02:57]:

each. It saves a lot of time. Right? And, arguably, the shipping kind of winds up being the same because you’re not you’re, like, still having to ship it twice. So you’re just paying a little bit more. You’re paying for 2 samples. Yeah. But if you’re developing a brand and launching a collection or you know, there’s there’s costs associated with this. So that’s It’s

Sarah [00:03:14]:

not a big it’s not a big deal.

Heidi [00:03:16]:

Yeah. It’s not a big deal. Yeah. So that is how I suggest you manage the a product review. And then that way, you guys can still get on Zoom. I think it’s really valuable to do have those conversations and look at the sample together and collect your comments and and figure out, okay, what comments do we need to make? And then, you know, you can mark up the tech pack, take pictures, etcetera, get that prepped and back to the factory before the 2nd proto or whatever’s next. And on that topic, I’ll just throw an extra thought in there. Mhmm. If you do wanna offer that portion where you are doing proto review and possibly even fittings and stuff. It could be valuable in your tech pack portfolio to have some marked up images, like, from a proto review. Mhmm. Yeah. Right? So, like, you said, you

Sarah [00:04:07]:

have seen it. Yeah.

Heidi [00:04:08]:

You know what I’m talking about, where you have a picture of the garment and you’re, like, trying to instruct the factory of, like, how to move the seam line over and you kind of draw on top of it in Illustrator and, like, the directions, the arrows, and all the stuff. The the proto comments.

Sarah [00:04:21]:

So just a person that you like, a pattern maker or the person who just chose, do they get involved in that stuff to coach a review and the or is that just

Heidi [00:04:28]:

They might.

Sarah [00:04:29]:

Totally upfront.

Heidi [00:04:29]:

Okay. I mean, it just kinda depends on how the company is run. Like, every company is gonna be a little bit different.

Sarah [00:04:34]:

Right? Yeah. Well, I guess that’s what I I don’t have a cool idea of how it works, but I was just saying it’s different from company to company.

Heidi [00:04:40]:

It’s different from company to company because sometimes the pattern maker arguably could do all the fitting components of the proto because a proto can also stand in as a fit sample. Right? So but they wouldn’t do, like, construction stuff. Right? I mean, they could, but that’s a little bit more leans into the technical designer role. And, again, it depends on on the brand. Right? Every brand’s a little bit different. Honestly, it kinda depends on the size of the brand. The larger the brand, the more segmented each role is gonna be. Right? The smaller the brand, each role is gonna do, like, a lot more stuff. Right?

Sarah [00:05:13]:

Right. That’s what I just came off the middle of.

Heidi [00:05:16]:

Yeah. So the pattern maker could be involved in the proto review for sure from, like, a pattern and a fit perspective. Mhmm. But the technical designer is also capable of doing that. Because at this point, okay, the pattern’s gonna we just maybe need to adjust this measurement on the POM and, you know, like, small little changes, and we’re good. It just depends.

Sarah [00:05:36]:

Now is it often that some 1 person will be doing both or 1 person could be technical design as well as fashion designer?

Heidi [00:05:43]:

It could. Yeah. It totally could. Mhmm. And I think that at at some stage, like, you don’t even really have a pattern maker per se depending on the complexity of the styles and how much each style is, like, based off of maybe a preexisting style that already been run, and the POMs are fairly established, and the factory they’ve been working with that factory for a while. Right. The technical could designer can just maybe adjust some POMs, add some POMs, subtract, what have you, and then send that to the factory. The factory does all the patterning on their side Mhmm. And sends it back. And then the technical designer does the fitting and does the proto comments and makes any adjustments to the POM and then, you know, back and forth. Like, sometimes there’s not even a a actual pattern maker per se involved. Like, the technical designer has knowledge of patterns. Right? And they understand POMs and fit and all that stuff. So it just it just kinda depends.

Sarah [00:06:46]:

Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah.

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