“Dear I A Samples,

We only have a small budget, why does it cost so much to develop a lingerie collection?”


Starting a new business can be costly! Yet you have the big brands to compete with and want to make the biggest impact possible.


Your creative juices have been flowing (have they ever stopped?) and your sketches are filling up every crook and cranny in your house.

The bras and knickers in your favourite department store cost little more than a cup of coffee, (ok, an expensive cup of coffee!) and you figured the development and production cost must be a fraction of that price. After a few taps on your calculator, you have estimated that you will easily be able to develop X amount of bras and knickers within your budget.


After a few phone calls to manufacturers and sampling studios, you sit down with your business consultant and bash out some figures. Slowly the colour drains from your face.

Dramatic? A little. But true? Probably!



Ok, so some newbie designers get a hunch, before even setting foot in a garment studio, that developing a lingerie collection takes years of expertise, many technical hands and weeks of labour. But here at I A Samples we have experienced the odd phone call or email from those completely new and blissfully unaware of the extensive labour involved in creating your first collection.

Which leads them to ask the question: “We only have a small budget, why does it cost so much to develop a lingerie collection?”


Firstly lets look at the technical processes involved in producing your samples:


  • Creating technical spec sheets (more on that here)
  • Fabric sourcing and purchasing (more on that here)
  • Pattern cutting
  • Toiling
  • Fit assessments (including fit models)
  • Creating final samples
  • Grades
  • Production



As you can see, there is a hefty bit of work involved, of which is highly skilled (even if I do say so myself!) and requires expensive machinery and software.

You can read about each process in more detail over here on our Services-London page.


It is of course true that the larger companies also need to carry out these steps in order to produce well fitting, sellable lingerie or swimwear. It is also true that they can sell these bras at a similar if not cheaper price to your cost price and there is a simple reason why.



Their production levels are so high; the development costs become almost inconsequential. The unit cost in production also becomes significantly lower due to tiered pricing and machinery automation.


Knowledge is power, as they say, so empowering yourself with the knowledge (see what I have done there!) on the technical develop of lingerie or swimwear can best prepare you for the costs and how to minimize them before designing.


Next, I will be imparting some wisdom on how to keep the development costs down where possible. However as it is a Saturday night and I have been tapping away at my laptop far too much this weekend (I have a habit of doing that), I will save that for another day.


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As always, we love hearing from you, so keep the good questions coming.



Have a lovely day.


Maxine x x








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