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Should I always order fabric samples?

Should I always order fabric samples?

The phase “the camera never lies” is often quoted, but the fact remains that no two computers or phone screens will display colour in quite the same way. For most of our customers, colour is extremely important.

Because of this, we highly recommend that you order samples before purchasing any of our fabrics, so that you can be absolutely sure that the material is right for you. A well-placed sample order can save you time, money and disappointment in the long-run.

What can I learn by ordering samples?

There’s so much that you can learn about a fabric just by ordering a swatch of the material first. You can get a feel for:

We try to match our images as closely as possible to the real thing, but an exact match isn’t always possible. Furthermore, what our photographer sees on his screen when editing the images may not be exactly what you see when you look at the image on your own screen.

Just look at the following (anonymised) examples of real customers who got in touch with us regarding their orders.

1. “Can I return my order? The fabric is the wrong colour and a bit light in weight”

By choosing to skip ordering a sample this customer had no idea that the fabric she had chosen would be so light, or that the colour would be so different to what she saw on her screen. She was able to take advantage of our 30-day returns guarantee, as the material was unused and uncut, but she had to return the fabric to us herself before we could arrange for a refund, costing her extra in time and money.

2. “Recently bought fabric in navy blue. The material arrived and is too dark for my needs. How can I arrange a return or exchange for a more suitable navy blue colour?”

The customer in this case was a student and needed the fabric for a project, so couldn’t afford any mistakes. We were able to send samples of alternative blue colourways, and eventually he chose a more appropriate option for his project, but this left him very short on time to get it completed.

3. “Hi, I ordered some fabric from you guys and it’s come and doesn’t look like the picture. I was wondering if I could send it back for a refund or swap for another fabric?”

On our screens this was an almost perfect match, but it doesn’t change the fact that this isn’t what the customer saw. The customer already had another option in mind, but returning the incorrect fabric was tricky. The customer ordered over 10 metres of material, which was dispatched on a 150cm roll, and had difficulty finding a courier able to deliver it back to us. The best price they were quoted by other couriers was £25.00!

We arranged to have it collected by our own courier, but the customer still had to pay an additional £15.00 to cover the cost.

The problem with returns

As you can see, the problem with relying on our returns policy to insure yourself against fabric that doesn’t quite match is the cost associated with it. Along with the costs of sending the fabric back, customers also lose out on any carriage costs initially paid, which typically aren’t refunded.

We can only cover the cost of a return where there has been a mistake on our part, or where the material is defective or otherwise faulty.

Rolls of fabric can be particularly tricky to send back. Measuring 150 cm on the longest side, many courier aren’t prepared to carry parcels of this size. The few carrier that will usually charge very high costs.

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1 Our customer support team are best able to assist by email. Calls to our customer service line may be charged up to 13p per minute plus your network's standard access charge.

2 If you have already placed an order with us, please refer to your order confirmation email or delivery paperwork for the best contact details, which includes a non-premium rate support number for after-sales enquiries.

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