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  • Sample books

    I need some advice on how to get hold of fabric sample books. As I will just be working from home, on quite a small scale does anyone know of any fabric houses that would allow me to have sample books to show clients? I probably only need 1 or 2 to start. It is just so much easier to show some people fabric in their own home. I know the larger ones want credit accounts etc and I don't think they will give to little people like me! Help!!

  • #2
    Hi, Don't be put off by approaching the big boys.

    We are in recession after all, they need the business.
    I was talking to a "big boy" the other day, 12 months ago he wouldn't touch anyone spending less than £1000 per order, many of his customers have gone bust, leaving him as a creditor, he is owed thousands, he now says he would rather have 10 customers buying and paying £100 up front than bigger companies wanting credit.

    Sometimes a letter to the MD, can work - they, like you don't know how big you are going to get.


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    • #3
      There are some fabric suppliers who are happy to sell one or two sample books at a time - as long as you have proof you are a business (letterhead etc.)

      Try Biggie Best and Chatham Glyn - they both have websites (I haven't made enough posts to insert the links yet) and

      You may also find you can have accounts with Elanbach and Vanessa Arbuthnott but I am not sure how they supply samples/books.


      • #4
        Have you also thought about the smaller manufacturers, not sure where you are based but may be worth looking in the Yellow Pages etc. We have Blendworth Fabrics not far from us and I know of someone who has an interior design business and they were really helpful.


        • #5
          Thank you....I will surf and phone around some more!!!


          • #6
            We have a fabric outlet just behind the house, and when I needed some upholstery supplies they kindly offered to let me use their name to place a cash order (the supplier would only supply a "trade" outlet).. I know that they often "lend" the sample books out for a day or two, as they have a lot of customers who do soft furnishings for a living, not just personal use, and it can be important to do a swatch test in situ, not just "guess" under shop lighting.. I would have thought your local supplier would be amenable to you doing the same, as you are likely to bring in more business for them too.

            The other thing you can do is contact the suppliers and ask for some swatches, they will usually send out a neat and tidy piece around A5 or A6 size free of charge or for a very small fee..


            • #7
              sample books


              When I did professional curtain making I had lots of sample books, they ranged in price from £25 -£200 each according to the fabric manufacturer & what type of fabric was in the book.

              Most fabric manufacturers will want to send a rep out to your workplace - don't be intimidated by them or talked into buying loads of books. Most are happy to supply to home businesses as long as you can supply proof of being in business - letterheading, business bank a/c etc. Decide on a budget & stick to it - if the rep won't play ball then forget that company.
              Also waterfalls of fabric are a lot cheaper than the books & easier to carry around. When a rep comes round he'll bring loads of books (approx 30-40) & it can be daunting deciding which ones to choose.

              It'll be trial & error as to which books will prove popular with your clients - bear in mind that the big fabric shops (Dunelm Mill, Fabric Warehouse, John Lewis etc) sell reasonable price fabric & you won't be paying P&P when you order it. Most of my clients liked just 3-4 books & some of the more expensive ones never produced a fabric order. You normally get about 40% discount on the fabric price per metre + VAT + P&P of about £8 for orders under approx £150. So unless you are putting in an order of about 20m you're not going to make much profit.

              Fabric Warehouse will lend out sample books & waterfalls for a deposit - you get that back when you return them. Some other shops may do as well. Find out from your client what type of fabric they had in mind & then pick up a few samples from the shops to show them. Quite often clients have already seen a fabric they like in the shops & will buy it themselves.

              When you first start out it's easy to get carried away & overspend on things you think are essential - very often they aren't needed straightaway.

              Good luck



              • #8
                Swatch Books needing a home!

                Hi....not sure if you are still searching, but I have a Load of Swatch books (which I believe to be still current) from companies such as Prestigious, Harlequin, Chatham Glynn, Crowson to name a few.......was thinking of listing them on Ebay....but is really a spe******t thing.......also know of one Particular company who will order Prestigious through their account at wholesale prices.....(handy)......let me know if anybody interested!!!


                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for your help I have now opened up accounts with Chatham Glyn and Blendworth. I thought it would be good to have a cheaper range and one a bit more expensive. It is a very slow start but have had a few orders and hoping next year is my year!!


                  • #10
                    sample books

                    Good luck with your new venture - I found it very satisfying, & also very exciting when you start on a new roll of fabric for a customers order.
                    I was always in my workroom by 7.30 when I wanted to start a new order!




                    • #11
                      This thread has been fab, am currently on the look out for sample books myself, fingers crossed!!

                      Dee x
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                      • #12
                        Mind if I ask what you will be making?
                        Gail x

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                        • #13
                          Fabric Books

                          Bit of a late post but when I started out I went round all my local curtain makers and asked if they had any fabric books that they didn't need any more. The down side of this was that not all the fabrics were still available but the majority were.

                          Once I had an order I then approached the fabric supplier and opened a trade account with an order. This approach worked every time, I then asked the rep round and purchased one or two current books and built the collection from there.

                          Hope that helps



                          • #14
                            Thanks for all your replies!
                            I have decided to stick with Chatham Glyn for a cheaper range and to go for Blendworth aswell. Just need to get some orders through them now!!


                            • #15
                              Merrick & Day have started selling fabrics and sample hangers too. You could open a trade account and get your other supplies at the same time.