How to get samples back:
1) If you have not received your samples back by the expected date, send an email to the editor and ask when to expect them. Many editors do not personally handle shipping returns, but have a staff of interns and a “Closet Assistant” who take care of them so they may pass you along to someone else when you inquire about returns.
2) Sometimes shoot dates change and editors ask to keep samples a bit longer. This typically means that they are interested in including your designs in the shoot and it is a good idea to let them hold onto them. If you need the samples back it’s alright to ask them to return them anyway, but you will risk not being included in the story and complicating the editor’s job.
3) Magazines deal with thousands of samples from hundreds of brands, so every once in a while a sample will get lost. If this happens, the magazine is responsible for the cost and you can send them an invoice for the wholesale price of the piece or pieces. Often designers will not go to the trouble to do this and will just count the price of the lost piece as a marketing expense.
4) Editors and stylists are very busy and sometimes it takes longer than expected for them to respond to return requests. Be nice but persistent and contact them via email and phone in order to get your pieces back.
A note to beauty brands: beauty products are generally sent to editors for trial and use. For this reason they are typically not returned. The exception would be makeup bags or other similar beauty accessories.