When I launched my grown up leggings for just under £50 last month, some customers questioned the price.
With that in mind, here is a breakdown of how much it costs to make each pair of leggings so you understand exactly what you are paying for.
The Cost of Ethical Fabric
Quality, ethically made, jersey fabric is not cheap.
Sure, you can buy cheap fabric but no one wants leggings that go see through when you bend over do they?!
I use only the best fabric making sure that it is ethically manufactured and produced.
The fabric needs to be made with care for the environment and the world around us. It also needs to have been made in a mill that pays its employees a fair wage.
The organic grey rainbow fabric I chose for the first grown up leggings is designed in the UK and printed in Europe. It is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard - which is an expensive accreditation to receive and make sure that strict criteria are adhered to,
Each pair of grown up leggings uses at around one full metre of fabric.
The average price for 1 metre of organic cotton lycra is around £15 per metre.
The Cost of Thread, notions and other things
Leggings are made with more than just nice fabric.
You also need sewing thread, a sewing machine and overlocker, electricity to power my machines, public liability insurance and product liabilty insurance to sell the leggings.
I add a small amount to each pair of leggings to cover the cost of these boring - but essential! - things.
Paying a Fair Wage
Every single piece of clothing – handmade or otherwise – will have been made by someone. And that someone needs paying.
It might be an employee in a large garment factory abroad or it might be a small business owner like me.
Either way factoring in paying someone a fair wage to make the clothes is in the final price of the garment is essential.
You would be surprised at the amount of people who make handmade clothes that just base their pricing on the costs of fabric and do not pay themselves.
I make sure I include paying the maker - currently me! - a fair wage for every pair leggings made.
Why I Don’t Sell at Cost Price
Some sellers make and sell their clothing as a hobby. They would be happy to sell you the leggings at cost price, or even less in some cases.
Tutti Frutti Clothing is a business, not a hobby.
It is a source of income for my family.
If I sold leggings at cost price I would not be making a profit. And if I don't make a profit I am unable to stay in business.
Making a Difference
As a small business I fight to seen among the bigger companies. The big clothing giants that charge lower prices by paying people small wages. The big companies that say girls wear pink and boys have to be ‘trouble’ or ‘cheeky’.
To enable us to have choice and diversity on the high street the small businesses like me need to stay in business. And that can only be done by turning a profit and to turn a profit we need to sell things at a proper price.
I want to be able to continue to make clothes that are kind to the environment, that value the people involved in their production.
I want to continue to be able to give back to my local community and further afield through the charitable giving that Tutti Frutti Clothing is involved in.
If I don’t charge a proper price then none of this is possible.
We need to value what we buy, make and wear.
Cheap clothing is never really cheap.
Someone pays for it somewhere.
I would love to hear what you think. Perhaps you have never really thought about handmade businesses and if they should or could make a profit.
Maybe you disagree with me and think that handmade clothing should be cheaper that big brand names. Or perhaps you agree and love supporting small sellers.
Do let me know in the comments!