How to #14

Just to be clear this article is more for the designers and brands who are interested or already collaborating with craftmanship organizations, artisans, and manufacturers who are not based in their home country. While considering you both are not staying in the same location and you may not speak the same language or initially English is not your mother tongue, this article will give you tips on how to move forward.

This « How to » refers to the second part of the article « How to select your artisans ». If you have not read the first part here is the link which refers to the following tips:

  • Understand the organizational structure
  • Listen and communicate well
  • Be patient, your time can not be their time…
  • Step by step

As a continuation of this article, a second part of the first article, you will find more tips to be considered for your own and their organization and your working habits.

Planning your production

About time

As a buyer, it is important to know the leading time of your production and getting to know what are the busy times for the artisans’ organization. If the organization is dealing with a lot of buyers who are in Chrismas season and knitwear items, the busy season will be in March to August. If you are partnering with organizations dealing more with home decors items, the busy time could be a little scattered around in the year. So get to know these points will help your own organization to be clear and at the same time, you are avoiding stress and confusion with your artisans’ organization.

About resources

One more point on this tip is connecting to planning your production is about having the assurance to get enough resources for your production. If you have a specific choice on a fabric, would you be able to have only this specific number of meters for your production? Would you be sharing the same fabric and with who? Get to know and reserve/book enough fabrics or can be anything connected to a resource, as in enough these kinds of buttons, zippers, lining fabric etc…

Your designs are super clear

This is again part of communication which is mentioned in the first article but make sure to be clear as you will be understood by everyone. So before sending your design specifications, make sure to present to someone who is not from the field and would be trying to understand if all the measurements, colors, and shapes are well explained.

In your design specification, if you are planning on bag design, make sure to have one specification drawing being flat (no 3 dimensions), one more from the top view, one from the bottom view, still being in flat view. Then, have one more view which is in 2 dimensions as you expect to show your design as if you had it in a more realistic way.

Make sure to add on your specification the fabric (attached/glued on it), even attached the zipper and/or the button picture, or add the real ones!

While working in one of the fair trade organizations for one buyer, I remember that reading a specific detailed specification sheet was just a great start for the production manager to understand in 3 minutes perfectly on what was needed.

Clarify important points

The payment terms must be crystal clear. Are samples being paid? Usually yes they must be! How is it possible for you to receive and send parcels and what are the available courier company in the artisans’ organizations’ country? I know it sounds like a weird question, as UPS services wouldn’t be available in every country? But sometimes it is not!

When should the advanced payment be done and by when? What are the paperwork to be provided to receive an exemption of custom taxes in your home country, you being a buyer?


I hope you have enjoyed this updated article. These tips are very practical tips considering I have had more than 4 years of working experiences working with designers and brands dealing at making crafts!

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