Fast fashion has trained us to wait for a “sale”. We value clothing less because it’s so accessible, and it’s so cheap. When you buy a $15 top, you don’t value it. After a couple of months you can just throw it away and replace it with the next best style.
How can we feel good about purchasing a $20 dress? The fast fashion companies make the most profit from that sale, so what do you think the factory workers make from that? the factory owners? the fabric merchants? The freight companies? If you have watched The True Cost movie you’ll know that these factories are under so much pressure to keep the costs down. They are so afraid of losing the company’s business they end up cutting costs so much, that the workers end up getting paid next to nothing and they end up working in terrible environments. These fast fashion giants keep pushing for lower prices so they can make more money, not caring about what that would mean for the factories workers.
The thing is, the owners of these companies have so much money already but they want more. So much more that they don’t even value the lives of those who make them.
I don’t want to discount my product all the time because I know its value.
So let me break down our costs so you can understand the costs we have to pay from each garment we sell.
*This can vary slightly depending on the style, so this is just a rough guide.
Around 40% of what our garments retail for are usually what it actually costs to make the item. That includes pattern maker’s costs, seamstresses cost and the fabric.
Then, we have to buy the ethical buttons (accessories) and design and purchase garment tags and swing tags.
We then purchase our biodegradable courier bags plus cover courier fees (we only ever charge you a part of the shipping costs, or we offer free shipping on orders over $250. But we still have to pay these shipping costs if you don’t).
Once a purchase is made, 15% off that is put aside for GST, and 30% of that sale is put aside for the tax man. Then we donate a percentage of our profits. Whatever is left, which honestly isn’t a lot, then has to be put back into the business so we can start working on the next drop. It’s only when we have completely paid off our debt that we can actually start to make profit and be able to pay ourselves a wage.
(Please also understand that this is how we choose to structure our costs).
Currently Jordan and I both work full time. Seer & Wilde is run at nights and in the weekends. If we didn’t work full time we wouldn’t be able to afford to run Seer & Wilde. My dream is to be able to do it full time, but that might not be for a few years now.
I never want to come across like I am trying to guilt trip you into purchasing from New Zealand companies. It’s not about that. I just want you to start thinking about supporting small businesses in New Zealand, whether its Seer & Wilde or other local companies. I also want you to understand what the true cost is per garment and that we don’t charge these prices for no reason.
All the above costs we have to pay no matter what, so when we discount, that discount comes off our own personal profit. As we just get what’s left at the absolute end after all our bills and debts are paid.
We all work so damn hard these days. We are stressed and over worked. We need to start valuing our money and who we give it too. I am so much more aware of that now. I work 7 days a week, so when I get my weekly spend after all my bills are paid I want to use it wisely. I don’t want to support these massive chain stores that already have too much money. I want to support the local companies because I know I’m getting quality product, plus I get to help someone else pay their mortgage or help put food on their table.
At the end of this, I just want you to be more aware when you swipe your card. More and more New Zealand companies are closing down or moving production overseas due to the lack of support within New Zealand and that truly makes me sad. We have so much talent and it frustrates me that all of these international companies are making money from us because we can’t support our own.
Yes, we have a dress that costs $299. But she’s beautiful. She’s made ethically. She’ll last you forever. She won’t go out of fashion. She will contribute to the lives of the less fortunate. She will support a handful of small NZ businesses and she will enable me to keep doing what I love.
So next time you want to purchase something ask around or jump online and see if there is a New Zealand company offering the same product or service. Word of mouth is a beautiful thing here in New Zealand and putting your money back into the New Zealand economy is much more rewarding.
If you have a great experience with a New Zealand business, no matter what it may be, a product or a service, talk about it. Spread the love. As the consumer, you have so much power to change things and to help a company grow. To me being able to contribute in some way is very rewarding.
Lastly, start valuing your clothing. It’s an expression of who you are so you should feel proud when you wear it.
To me, transparency is everything, and so is knowledge.