The Hidden Costs of a Bargain.
The number one factor that keeps people from purchasing from us is the cost of our products. The truth is our products are not for everyone and that is okay. However, in an effort to help you, the consumer, feel confident in making that decision we want to address our pricing head on, and provide some context for how we price our products.
Recently, at a vendor show a potential customer walked into our booth, looked around, admired our blankets and then asked, "how much are your blankets"? When our answer was more than the person was anticipating they responded with an upturned nose and a comment along the lines of, "Oh wow, that's a lot of money"!
Needless to say, they walked out of our booth that day without having purchased a blanket. As soon as they left, I turned to my husband, frustrated and said, "People do that all the time, it's as if they don't understand what goes into the process of creating our products."
Ah-ha! A light bulb went off in my head. That's because they don't. They want a bargain, to feel like they are getting the most bang for their buck.
But is it really a bargain if the hidden costs are greater than the actual product itself?
But Is It Really a Bargain?
Outsourcing. Sweatshops. Child Labor. Forced Labor. Inhumane Work Conditions.
We say hidden costs, because these are just a few of the circumstances in which bargains are created and for most consumers, at least here in the west, these scenarios are not in your face. They are hidden from your everyday view, allowing you to feel like you are winning when you get something you want for cheap, without having to consider the cost for those on the other end.
Take a $5 dollar shirt from Walmart for example. It is not possible to grow the cotton, harvest it, spin it, dye it, turn it into material, sell it to a retailer, and then ship it and still make a profit all on $5 dollars.
Something, or someone has to give. The question then becomes who, or what is it? The answer is obvious, but all too often we push it out of our mind in pursuit of the deal.
We would argue that it is not really a bargain if the product you get was created on the backs of vulnerable people who are being exploited and oppressed by your complicity.
More Than Fair Product Pricing
Although fair trade is the minimum standard for our business, our goal is to be more than fair, implementing principles and practices that honor people, culture, and creativity, and that includes our pricing structure. We want our products to be fairly priced all the way around. We call this our 360-degree pricing commitment-where our makers, our customers, and us all mutually profit.
This is a pricing structure that is far more than just financial, and that is because you are not just buying an "item", you are buying literal hope, dignity and freedom for makers at every stage of the production process. It is with this in mind, that we take great care, to consider a number of factors in our pricing.
Factors That Influence Our Pricing
When setting a price for each individual product we take a number of factors into consideration. These factors serve as a filter for product pricing and include but are not limited to;
- Ability to fight global poverty and hunger- Is this price set by our artisans and will it allow them to fulfill their basic needs?
- Empowerment-Does this price allow our artisans to move above the poverty line? Instead of receiving help, they will have control of their own lives.
- Working Environment-Does this price allow our artisans the freedom to create safe and efficient working times and space?
- Community Impact-Does this price allow for betterment of the community to which our artisans belong?
- Culture and Heritage-Does this price honor and celebrate the diversity and craftsmanship of each artisan and allow for the preservation of their skills and talents?
- Ethicality-Does this price bring equity to the marketplace?
- Shipping- Does this price allow for the realistic cost of international shipping, which is very expensive.
- Impact- Does this price allow our customers to feel good about what they are purchasing and the impact that they are having in the fight against poverty and oppression?
- Quality- Does this price allow us to provide a stellar product that our customers will want to purchase again?
Each one of these factors contributes to the overall cost of our products and the hard truth is that these things may not matter to you. But they matter to us, and we believe that if individuals bought less, they could actually spend more and make large scale changes around the world. Of course, you can find less expensive options for most of the things we sell; machine made blankets, factory produced dolls, sweatshop made apparel, and even handmade items that have been purchased and unethically priced, but each one comes with its own hidden cost and we will leave the importance of that for you to weigh and measure.