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The hidden risks of sourcing cloth wristbands from China.

The hidden risks of sourcing cloth wristbands from China.

So you are thinking about sourcing your cloth wristbands from a factory in China...

Before you get all excited about the potential price savings, be sure you read this article to make sure you are taking all factors into consideration.  Having been working in the events industry since 2001, I have seen many a friend not get their wristbands delivered on time because they thought they were saving money...

Here are the main points to consider:

Product cost
Ordering woven or printed cloth wristbands directly from China will have you (at first) thinking you are saving a ton on product cost, which is usually the case if you are ordering in bulk (quantities > 10,000 pieces, the savings can be substantial).  Remember that product cost is only one of many different costs you need to consider.

There is a wide range of product quality when it comes to cloth wristbands.  If you do go offshore, be sure to have a variety of factories send you sample packs so you can compare the quality differences.  We're happy to do the same for you, so don't hesitate to ask us for a sample pack!  Some cloth wristbands we've seen can be quite thin, and even single sided meaning the inside of some printed cloth wristbands can look quite ugly (all of ours come with double sided printing).  

It is also important to test the security enclosures.  We've carefully tested a wide range of security enclosures and found ones that we can't remove.  There are quite a few cheap options out there where you can remove the wristband by twisting the band and pushing it back through the closure.  I've personally been to festivals (Live at Squamish by Live Nation) where hundreds of people were swapping out wristbands to sneak in for free... so do not forget to test the security of the closure.

Duties & Tariffs
Depending on where you are based, there will be a significant charge from your customs broker to have cloth wristbands land in North America.  You want to find out what this charge will be, including the extra customs fees as this will help you to decide which route to take.  When you order from ClothWristbands.com, there are no hidden fees so be sure you are making a fair comparison.

As shipping is always free at ClothWristbands.com, be sure you carefully factor in the costs for shipping if you are thinking about sourcing your cloth wristbands offshore.  You may also need to factor in the cost of 3-5 sample packs being air-mailed out as you compare product quality from multiple factories. It is those shipping costs which can add up quickly!

Be very careful who you order from.  There are many online scams where they will ask you to wire them money to get started on an order that never arrives.  Make the right checks to ensure you are purchasing from a reputable site with great reviews.

Refunds & Guarantees
If you order offshore and something goes wrong, it's highly unlikely you'll get your money back from a random factory.  Alternatively, If you work with ClothWristbands.com, you can have peace of mind knowing that your order is guaranteed to be delivered on time... or your money back.

Delivery Times
For all of us working in the event industry, we know how crazy things can get last minute, and often your wristband order isn't done months in advance as it should be.  If you source your cloth wristbands offshore, be sure you give yourself lots of extra time for shipping, especially considering that packages can often get held up in customs for additional delays.  Set up a relationship with a customs broker in advance, and make sure you are in regular contact with them so there are no surprise hold-ups.

Alternatively, if you order from ClothWristbands.com, we give you a guaranteed delivery time within 10-17 days and less for rush orders.  If you order offshore, be sure to give yourself a minimum of 30 days to be safe.

There are many different factors to consider if you are thinking about sourcing cloth wristbands offshore, vs ordering from a North American company.  Of course, we would love to have your business and do hope you see the benefits of ordering from ClothWristbands.com.  Then again, if you do go direct to China, we hope you take the above factors into consideration and have an awesome event!  If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me here.


Mike Schwarz
CEO, ClothWristbands.com

PS: If you end up going offshore, and you find yourself in an emergency situation because your product hasn't arrived in time, all of our pre-printed cloth wristbands can be shipped out the same day!


Why cloth wristbands? The pros and cons of going with cloth...

Why cloth wristbands?  The pros and cons of going with cloth...

Trying to decide between custom cloth wristbands and a variety of other wristband types? This article will help to give you more insight into the different wristband options out there, and what situations are best suited to which material types.

Wristband Types

The most common custom wristband types (for event admissions) are cloth, Tyvek, vinyl, silicone and plastic.  Each wristband type has its uses and while we are big fans of cloth, we'll be the first to admit that cloth wristbands are not always the best choice for all situations.  Here are some images of the various wristband types:

Woven Cloth Wristbands

woven cloth wristbands

Woven cloth wristbands are great for premium events that are brand conscious and not overly focused on minimizing expenses.  Cloth wristbands are usually more expensive than most other wristband types but come with significant advantages, making them the most common choice for major festivals.  Woven cloth wristbands are available in quantities of 100+ pieces.

Printed Cloth Wristbands

Printed cloth wristbands

The main difference between woven cloth wristbands and printed cloth wristbands is that printed cloth (sublimation process) appear more polished, have a higher graphic resolution and a smoother satin like feel to them.  Both woven and printed cloth wristbands are made of polyester, but printed wristbands use a satin finish and are available in quantities of 500+.

Plastic Wristbands

plastic wristbands

Plastic wristbands are great for multi-day events, and are slightly cheaper than their look-alike cousins the vinyl wristbands, but they aren't as soft or as comfortable as vinyl.  Also note that full colour plastic wristbands are not an option, but they do come in some pretty fancy looking holographic versions.

Vinyl Wristbands

vinyl pull-tab wristbands

While Vinyl wristbands are a bit more expensive than plastic wristbands, they are more durable and more comfortable.  They also come with pull-tab options if you'd like to include things like drink tickets as part of your event entry wristband.  Important to note that vinyl wristbands are nowhere near as comfortable as cloth ;)

Tyvek Wristbands

tyvek wristbands

Tyvek wristbands are the cheapest wristband solution; they look like paper, but are water resistant and good for single day events.  If saving money is your primary consideration, Tyvek wristbands are your best bet.

Full Colour Tyvek

full colour tyvek wristbands

Typically printed using an ink-jet process, full colour Tyvek wristbands are quite expensive, but great alternatives if you are late to getting your wristband order in on time, and need full color customization!

How to Decide?

As you can see there are a ton of different wristband types to choose from, so we've broken down the decision making process into the key considerations that will influence your final call.

  1. Comfort: If guests comfort is your main consideration, you can't beat the comfort level from woven or printed cloth wristbands.  For events that span multiple days, cloth wristbands can be comfortably worn for 5+ days.  In comparison, Tyvek wristbands can have sharp edges and start to look quite ratty after more than one day of wear.  Vinyl wristbands are the softer and more durable alternative to Plastic wristbands and are the most comfortable solution other than cloth... but when it comes to comfort - cloth wins every time.

  2. Price: Cloth wristbands are the most expensive wristband option starting from $.30/ band vs. as low as $.02 per band for the lowest price wristbands (Tyvek) when talking about 1 colour printing (10,000 pieces).  For full color custom wristbands, the only 2 common options are cloth and Tyvek, and the prices are very similar.  So if you don't need full colour designs, Tyvek wins every time.  Check out our handy comparison table below for full price comparisons on all event wristband types.

  3. Customization: Woven cloth wristbands can be PMS color matched with up to 8 different colors of thread.  Printed cloth wristbands are full color (with shading). The alternative solution for full color wristbands is typically full color Tyvek wristbands printed via an Ink-jet process that are actually around the same price as cloth.  Plastic, vinyl and silicone wristbands are not commonly available with full colour customization options unless you are doing very high volume runs factory direct.

  4. Appearance: Woven cloth wristbands don't have the same graphic design resolution as say printed (heat sublimation) cloth wristbands, or full color Tyvek wristbands, but they do have a unique look similar to an embroidered piece of clothing.  The designs are actually woven into the material (hence the name :P) and they look like no cost was spared in their production. The cost of woven cloth wristbands is actually identical to that of full color printed ones, but some customers feel that they appear a bit more expensive.  Depending on the look and feel of your brand / event, there are other wristband options that can be a better match.  Plastic, holographic wristbands can be popular with EDM events, and silicone wristbands are very popular for fundraiser events.

  5. Environment: At this current time, we are investigating 100% biodegradable cloth wristband options (ie: hemp), but unfortunately at this moment our only option for cloth wristband material is polyester.  While it does appear to be more eco-friendly than say Tyvek or Plastic wristbands, the fact remains that polyester recycling isn't yet commonplace.  Much of the polyester materials do come from recycled water bottles, but the majority of cloth wristbands do end up as non-compostable landfill.  Hang tight for an upcoming announcement with more environmentally friendly cloth wristband options or try googling around for some fairly expensive hemp wristband options.

  6. Speed: Late to place your order?  Choose pre-printed wristbands like the 10 versions of pre-printed cloth we have in stock.  Orders are shipped out the same day, and if the order is placed before 2pm PST, we can have it on your desk by the next morning (select priority UPS shipment).  If you need custom designed same day wristbands, your best option is full color Tyvek wristbands from your local print shop.  They can be quite expensive, so remember to place your wristband orders well in advance of your event to save your hard earned money.

Comparison Table

Type Cost/qty Colors Setup fee Days
100 500  10,000
Woven Cloth $1.50 $.70 $.30 8 colors $0 10-17
Printed Cloth NA $.70 $.30 Full $0 10-17
Blank Cloth $.60 $.30 contact us 1 none 0 (preprinted)
Vinyl NA $.11 $.10 1 $22 10
Plastic NA $.10 $.08 1 $45 7
Tyvek 3/4" NA $.04 $.037 1 $35 3-4
Full color Tyvek $1.25 $.50 $.30 Full none 1-2


$.70 $.45 $.25 1-2 $45-$55 5-15

In conclusion, while cloth wristbands are the clear winners when it comes to comfort, full-color and appearance, there are better alternatives to cloth if you need last minute custom designs, or if budget is your primary consideration.

References / Links

  1. Woven cloth wristbands
  2. Printed cloth wristbands
  3. Tyvek wristbands
  4. Full colour Tyvek wristbands
  5. Vinyl wristbands
  6. Silicone wristbands
  7. Plastic wristbands