After seven (!) years of making personalized favors, I’ve answered lots of questions. Whether you’re already one of my fabulous customers or you’re just doing research, here are ten questions to ask a potential designer or vendor when you’re shopping for party favors. (Many of these can be answered simply by browsing at the vendor’s website.)

1. Do you offer personalization?
You probably want favors that match the colors, theme, and style of your event. Do you want to add names or other custom text to your favors? What if you’re planning around an unusual theme—will the designer create a custom favor just for you? Make sure that your vendor offers the personalization options you are looking for.

minimum order shopping for party favors2. What is the minimum order?
Companies that offer personalized party favors almost always require a minimum purchase. There’s a wide range of minimums, usually starting at 12 or 24 pieces. They sometimes require you to purchase favors in sets of 10 or 12, which means that you may have to buy more favors than you need. Read the fine print…those unit prices may be low because you have to order 50 pieces, and you could end up spending much more than you need to.

3. Can I see examples of your favors?
Check websites, online portfolios, or Facebook pages for examples of favors to see if the vendor offers the styles and quality you’re looking for. If the designer or vendor is local, make arrangements to view those examples up close and personal.

4. What do your past customers think of your favors and service?
In addition to the online portfolio, customer testimonials are a great way to check that the vendor is consistently offering quality products and that other customers like you are happy with their service. Social media can also tell you if the company provides good customer service, so visit their Twitter or Facebook page to see how they handle questions or problems.

5. How can I reach you if I have additional questions?
Contact information should be easy to find on their website, blog, Facebook or other social media pages. Whether by email, phone, or messaging, make sure that the vendor is available to provide the information you need to make your purchase.

It’s also worth taking a closer look at social media to see how quickly the company addresses product questions or issues. Are they responsive? How long does it take to get information? This can often alert you to problems before you’ve committed to their products or services.

6. Will I get a proof or example of my artwork or design before my favors are made?
Once you place your order and provide all of your favor details, the vendor will (ideally) provide a proof or other way for you to verify that names, dates, and other personalization details are correct. This step is especially crucial for rush jobs which leave no time to correct or re-do your favors if there is a typo or other error.

7. Can I get a sample of a favor?
If you’re not local to the vendor and can’t see, touch, taste, or smell the favors—or if you’re ordering for a large event and you’re concerned about matching colors or themes—it can be difficult to make a final decision. Find out if the vendor can make samples available to you to make sure the favors are exactly what you’re looking for. Even if product samples are not available, they may be able to provide swatches (fabric, ribbons, or other packaging elements) to help you make your selections with confidence.

8. How quickly will you prepare the favors?
Especially if you are in a rush, it’s important to get a clear idea of the turnaround time. How much lead time do they like to have when preparing personalized favors? How long does it take to complete and ship your order once it’s placed? Do they offer a rush service, and if so, is there a rush fee? How about expedited shipping—what are those costs?

9. Do you assemble the favors before shipping or will I need to put them together?
Some of the very least expensive favors available are not pre-assembled. Read the fine print when purchasing inexpensive favors in bulk; you may be required to put them together from several shipments of product, labels, and packaging. When you’re pressed for time, it’s sometimes worth the extra expense to find a vendor who will assemble your favors for you.

10. Will you accept returns?
Most companies do not accept returns on custom or personalized products unless they make an error during processing. Make sure you understand the vendor’s return policy before ordering.

BONUS QUESTION: Are there perks for ordering a large number of favors?
Sometimes you can get lower unit pricing or free shipping if you order favors in bulk. For example, some companies offer free shipping for purchases that reach a minimum total (such as $75). Check the site’s policies to see whether they have price breaks or shipping promotions.

If you aren’t able to find this information with a simple browse through a vendor’s site, just ask! (I know that I’m always happy to share that we offer personalization on minimum orders of 10 favors, which are completely assembled and shipped within an average of 2-3 days. I’m available to answer questions by phone or email as well as Twitter and Facebook, where you can also see examples of our work. More examples and testimonials are also at our site, We always provide emailed proofs, can arrange for samples or swatches upon request, offer rush service for a small fee, and accept returns when we’re in error. Oh…and we offer free Priority shipping for orders over $75.)

What have I missed? Are there other questions you’d like answered? Please let me know what’s important to you when you’re shopping for party favors!