Glove Sample-Making: Better, By Design

Product development for a new glove is an iterative process. Making samples is a key part of that process.

Glove Sample-making, in Context

We need to create physical samples for design approval, ad/catalog photos, salesmen and show samples, and the like.


Here’s how it’s done, how long it takes, and the relevant costs:

Step 1)


Our designers take your ideas and turn them into technical instructions for our factory’s sample makers — including choice of materials, sewing techniques etc. (In some cases our clients will submit their own tech pack which we still review).


Step 2)


We make arrangements to assemble needed materials (that might be present at the factory, or might be located 1000’s of miles away), arrange for special logo applications or embroidery, and create pattern work for new styles.


Step 3)


The sample is cut and sewn, and everything is reviewed by our head sample maker to make sure instructions were followed, and the sample glove looks and fits well.


Step 4)


We ship the sample by courier/express, from Asia to the USA, and to review as soon as it is ready.  This process typically takes a number of revisions to make sure the glove fully meets our expectations. Sometimes, the first sample is perfect.  Other times, we make adjustments … rinse and repeat!


Step 5)

Before production, occasionally there’s a final step: performance testing by third parties.


Sample-making — in other words, developing a custom prototype from design specifications — is a pretty involved process, and costly in terms of time, manpower, and materials.


How Long Does This Take?

It depends.

It could take 7-10 business days, or less  … or it could take a month! While on occasion, we’ve worked around the clock, or had samples flown in and hand carried … these are exceptions.

More typically, we set priorities. Last week, we made 40 snowmobile glove samples for a photo shoot (10 styles, 4 colors each) — done perfectly, and on time!

What Do Samples Cost?

Developing a new glove requires an investment on both sides. It’s not an exact science — but we are partners in the process from Day 1.

At the beginning of the relationship, we share the costs. After you place an order and the glove is in production, we absorb more of the cost.

For existing customers:

  • Most of the early development costs mentioned above are absorbed by us. The express charges for sourcing some of the materials and shipping the sample is billable.
  • After the second prototype of a particular glove, we usually start to bill for the samples as well.
  • Once the prototype has been approved, we bill photo samples, show/salesman samples, and pre-production samples at the regular wholesale price of the glove.

For new customers:
(Especially those with very new ideas that are usually covered by patents and for which we sign non-disclosure agreements)

  • The prototying expense will usually depend on the extent of design and development needed. We will usually give you some cap of what the cost will be for the first few iterations, but $500 would not be unusual.
  • Once the prototype has been approved, we bill photo and sales samples at 2x regular wholesale price of the glove. If we do ultimately get a commercial order (over 1,000 pair), then we credit the extra cost of the sampling (above the regular cost of the glove**).

**Many companies charge 2 to 3 times the regular price to make additional samples, but at Olympia we feel, we are a team with our customers and help cover some of these extra costs.

We are still absorbing considerable expense — we consider it an investment in doing business together. 

While we recoup SOME of our costs, no manufacturer makes money on samples. We try to be fair — for instance if we make an error, obviously we correct it at our expense.


Here’s a free resource to give your glove project a jumpstart:

Glove Making Manufacturing Kit

Final Thoughts on Glove Design and Sample Making

Samples are made in a sample room, and there are no economies of scale in making less than 1,000 pair of gloves. With custom prototypes, time, and costs — design, labor, materials, set up, tooling, freight, etc. — add up.

We wish we could tell you that progress from good to perfect occurs in a straight line.  In reality, it can be a hilly road.  Here is what we CAN tell you:

  • Our technical glove designer has over 30 years of design experience.
  • We apply our sourcing and manufacturing expertise, to expedite things. You have our extensive materials and pattern library, and fit expertise at your disposal, too.
  • After 75 years, we know gloves, and guide you through the process, to get you the results you need.

We’re committed to your success. How can we help you?

For a Glove Consultation click here      Request A Quote click here


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Glove Making Manufacturing Kit

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