Today I had lunch with a good friend and asked him his thoughts on our Kids Pants. He loved them and has purchased some for his kids but he did mention one thing: "they seem expensive".
The thing is, I agree. They do seem expensive.
Like my friend, my pricing expectations for clothing have shifted over the past 20 years with the rise of fast fashion.
As a society, we're buying about 400% more clothing today then we were in 1996. Not coincidentally, just 3% of clothing worn in America is still made domestically, compared to 95% just 50 years ago. Cheap labor in developing countries has made fast fashion incredibly cheap - to the point that at the supermarket we add clothes to our shopping cart as easily as we add a loaf of bread.
Bryony, a writer at the ethics watchdog Ethical Consumer sums up the shift brilliantly:
‘Ethical fashion seems expensive because we've become used to buying clothing which is priced based on the exploitation of cheap overseas labour. Only around 1-2% of the final value of a mass-produced garment is spent on wages, Actually, the price of ethical fashion is often a more realistic price for an item of clothing. There aren't many ethical fashion CEOs getting rich… On the high street it's a different story.’
The high street being the likes of H&M, Zara and Benetton - each of whom have a Chairman/CEO that frequents the "World's Richest" lists.
These are the inputs that make our supply chain and our costing different from fast fashion:
The reality is that when making fashion the ethical way our pricing is great value. We never gouge and, if anything, our margins are thinner because of the artificial price expectations created by fast fashion (you can only price a Kids Pant so high (irrespective of costs) when people are used to buying new Kids Pants at Walmart for $4).
So while I understand why my friend thought our pricing seemed expensive, the reality is it's a truer representation of the cost of clothing and accessories than you'll ever find at a fast fashion retailer.
*You're probably thinking: that's great and all but how do I make eco fashion work for my budget? We've got you sorted with our 4 tips for making eco fashion work for you.
Our goal as a company is to provide better options to fast fashion. Because of this, we choose to make all our eco fashion garments in America where we can create jobs, have direct oversight of working conditions and minimize our shipping footprint. The trade off to this is our costs are high (compared to the developing world) and in US dollars.
We think the cost is worth it but would love to know what you, our customers, think. Please take 10 seconds to fill out the survey below.
We won't be making any rash decisions based on these results as we're committed to our great relationships in the US. This is simply a means of better understanding where our customers are at and knowing if we should adapt our product strategy going forward.
Thank you for your input. If you have any additional thoughts please comment below. The more conversation around ethical fashion, the better!
Jesse & Rachel