Fast fashion has spoiled us. What is fast fashion? It's when a design moves from the sketchpad, to the runway, to stores in a matter of weeks. It's low priced, low quality, disposable clothing. It's walking into a store like h&m, buying a tshirt for $5, wearing it for one season, then throwing it away. It's sweatshops, and child labor, and pollution.
Every single thing you wear is still made by a person- chances are good that something you're wearing right now was made by a person working under questionable standards.
Of course, when presented in those terms, anyone would think, oh, that's terrible, I don't want to support that. Yet when it's time to go shopping, who can resist such a seemingly good deal? Even I am often swayed by bargain clothing, although I try not to be. I sometimes still feel guilty for "spending too much" on good quality clothing.
What does this have to do with Lineagewear? Occasionally I will come across a comment on social media from someone who feels like my prices are too high. I've always made it clear that my intention was to keep my pricing accessible. When you buy a piece from Lineagewear, you're making an investment in us.
What are you paying for, exactly? Let's break it down.
- Fabric accounts for one third of our costs. Poly spandex is extremely durable and retains its stretch for years, if cared for properly. That in itself is environmentally friendly, but the printing on it is even more so. Our spandex is printed using dye sublimation techniques- rather than using harsh chemicals, the design is digitally printed on paper using environmentally friendly inks. That paper is heat set onto the fabric- the design is baked into the fibers. This process does not release any fumes, only steam. The paper used to transfer the design is recycled afterwards, ensuring no waste.
- Manufacturing accounts for one third of our costs. Our leggings are handmade in New York City's renowned Fashion District. The employees at our shops are paid a living wage, work realistic hours, and are given frequent breaks and holidays. We believe it is vital to the local economy to build our stuff in a fair, sustainable way, not using child or slave labor. Therefore, we will never build overseas. The unfortunate side effect in this is that production is a little slower, and costs are higher- but we feel like it's worth it.
- One sixth of our costs is employee salary. For the first year of business, I did not pay myself a salary at all, as I was still working full time. (Now I pay myself a salary, so that I can pay for things like groceries, day care, medicine for my aging cats, oil changes, etc.) Our Social Media guru, Sara, is a full time college student. Our Customer Service manager, Keith, also works part time as an advocate for the homeless. They're amazing people, and I am honored to have them as part of my team.
- Ten percent of sales goes towards various charitable causes. I consider myself lucky to have a platform to give back to my community and help those in need!
- The rest of our costs are the various little things needed to run Lineagewear. Rent for our studio, poly bags, hang tags, bins to store inventory in- things like that. Also the website itself- we pay a monthly fee to Shopify, Shipstation, and a number of other apps for things like "search by size" and "notify me when this is back in stock". We pay a small fee for every single sale processed.
- A very, very small portion of our costs goes towards research, and marketing. For the first year of Lineagewear being in business, we had NO marketing budget. We spent $0 on photography and advertising. ZERO! Our customer base grew solely from social media! We can finally invest in advertisment in 2016, but this should not impact pricing.
- Finally, there's shipping fees. I know, they suck! Nobody likes to pay for shipping. Many companies tack on a couple of extra dollars to shipping rates too. You think you're getting a good deal on an item, and then you check out, and get walloped with a shipping fee that almost doubles the price of the item! Not us, though- we don't make any money from shipping costs. We ship exclusively through USPS, and our shipping rates are exactly what's listed on USPS. Why USPS? Their rates are the lowest, and their packing materials are free. This may change in the future, but for now, we feel like this is the most cost effective option for our customers.
Whatever is left over after costs goes straight back into the business. I wish it went into a giant swimming pool full of gold doubloons, but it does not. It pays for more inventory and new product development.
Still feeling the sticker shock? You can always sign up for our mailing list for coupons (scroll to the bottom of the page)! Check out our Sale section too. And as always, ALL orders over $100 ship free.
With love- Katie Pippin