When it comes to sustainability the increased cost really lies in the fabric, the most expensive part of your product. Today we breakdown the cost of a garment and point out areas you can consider to be more ethical and sustainable. Ready to be pro? Let's go.
One of the most important aspects that affect the cost of the garment is fabric. According to TECHPACKER the fabric accounts for 60-70% of the total cost of garments. When you consider that price pays farmers, ginners, and spinners you begin to see where the money goes. Like factories, fabric mills will also have a minimum order quantity and the less you purchase, the more expensive each yard will cost. Lastly, depending on where you purchase your fabric from you may have to pay for transportation of the fabric and import taxes which add up to the final garment price.
Cost of Production
The second most expensive aspect of a garment is of course the cost of production. The people who are producing your products need to be paid a fair wage which affects what you price the item for sale. The labor cost will mostly be determined by the country where you choose to produce. In America, labor cost will be significantly higher than places like Bangladesh where the cost of living is lower. Working with an ethically certified factory where you can ensure fair wages are being met may make the price marginally higher but will save you from slave labor in your supply chain. Lastly, just as all things in manufacturing, the more you order the cheaper each unit becomes. This is because it takes longer for a factory to train their sewers on a new pattern, but once they learn, they can pump out many units much faster. Labor can easily be 30% of the true cost of a garment.
Ever wonder why so many womenswear garments are missing pockets? Money, money, money. There are small details that go into the creation of a garment that are often looked over. These details include things like trims, buttons and zippers, and even more intricate design details. The cost of the details has to do with the quality and quantity. Just like fabric the material in which these are made, and how long it takes to make them, also play a part in the cost.
Labels and Packaging
Labels and Packaging help your brand stand out from the crowd. Often brands turn to packaging to increase their sustainability, but unfortunately it's still significantly more expensive to opt for compostable mailers and recycled packaging. Again, the quantity ordered will also dictate cost. Creating timeless hangtags, packaging, and labels allows you to order more therefore increasing your budget for something more sustainable.
From the factory, a brand will mark up the price about double, and from wholesale to retail it'll get marked up double again. This is why a slight increase in product cost, can more significantly impact the final retail price of a garment. This is also why newer D2C brands (direct to consumer) like Everlane have grown in popularity in the last ten years as they've cut out the retailer and saved the customer money. In order to be a successful brand you have to take all of these factors into consideration to make a profit.
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