If you are manufacturing overseas, you are most likely relying on your sourcing agents or the actual manufacturer to source all of the items needed to complete your garments. In some cases, these sourced trims may get you in trouble.
A US retailer was to receive a large shipment of kids clothing at their distribution center this past spring, but it got held up in customs. It is not uncommon to have your shipment held up in customs, but this shipment had a problem. Upon inspection, the customs agents realized that the lead content in the buttons on the kids clothing was above the legal limit. They immediately called the retailer to relay the bad news. Kids have been known to chew on buttons while wearing their shirts, so something had to be done and done quickly.
In this case, the retailer received top of production samples that passed the test for the proper lead, then the manufacturer cut some corners to save a few pennies and used an inferior button for the balance of the 4,500 units.
With the units stuck at the port, the retailer immediately called the Darn It Apparel Repair Team to help. The only choices that the retailer had were to refuse the shipment and send it back or to source another button with no lead and have them swapped out here in the United States.
As these units were a very popular item for the retailer, they decided to purchase 25,000 buttons and have them shipped directly to Darn It. Customs released the shipment to Darn It and we were told that they would need to be inspected once repaired and before released back to the customer.
Upon receiving the large shipment, the Darn It Apparel Repair Team opened each unit and removed the 5 buttons on the shirts carefully without creating additional holes. The team also had to remove all the loose threads to prepare them for the new buttons. Once clean we added the 5 new buttons to all the shirts with our button sewing machines. Prior to folding and re-packaging, the units, they were inspected one more time. Each button was pulled on to ensure it was sewn on properly and each inspector trimmed any excess threads.
All the units would go back into their original poly bag and original carton. Customs arrived at Darn It within 24 hours of completion for a final inspection. The goods were then released back to the retailer in time for their shirt promotion.