When you are working with a factory, there is a lot more to do than a simple sketch that gets made a few weeks later. Actually there is an entire process from an initial sample through to production. When you are working with a factory, they have to simplify all processes to make sure that they don’t loose more money than they need to, because there is a lot of work that goes into producing a garment. There are a lot of specialists that need to work on the sample at different stages, and these people have to be paid. With the squeeze that retail buyers put on factories for cheaper unit costs [ that basically means the cost per item ], so that garments can be sold at the cheapest price possible, every factory has to make things efficient.
In your case, you are the “buyer” who is creating an order. But there is a whole process that goes into the garment development that people usually aren’t aware of. Below, I’ve outlined the process from having an idea, through to getting the bulk products. Now this really covers a basic garment but there are additional steps depending on what you are producing.
For example if you need a print or some kind of embellishment, the chances are you will need to check the colours, or placement or even some kind of effect like washes on denim. These may come as a separate piece of fabric rather than a whole garment, called a strike off or lab dip. Every step and every detail must be approved by you as the buyer and if you approve something, legally you have to stick to it, so make sure that you ask for samples and swatches at each stage.