I believe sustainability goes hand-in-hand with transparency — supply chain transparency as well as transparent pricing. As a customer, you should know what you’re paying for so you can better understand the value of the garments you purchase.
Therefore, @mlmbrand_ have followed the example set by other innovative brands and introduced more transparency in several aspects of our brand. I believe this should be the new standard and a responsibility of every brand. Most people aren’t aware of the true cost of a garment sustainably and ethically made in the US.
What is the true cost of our garments?
The true cost of our garments consists of the material, trims and labor costs, as well as shipping and handling costs. In order to pay for our company expenses (like pattern making, sample making, fabric sourcing, production, photography, freelancers, investments in future products, insurance, website and transaction fees and marketing) we add a markup, which then determines the final retail price.
A sustainable and ethical production is not cheap, which is why the true cost of our garments is often as high as the final retail price of fast fashion items. In order to keep our retail price at a sustainable and accessible level, we choose a markup that is lower than industry standard and skip the middle man. @mlmbrand_ is sold exclusively on our website and in pop-ups. We do not wholesale our products to retailers. Read the full post on price transparency and sustainability on our blog now.
How high is our markup compared to industry average?
Most brands add a markup of x2 (multiplying it by 2) to their true cost, which determines the wholesale price. This is the price retailers pay to purchase the goods and sell them in their stores. At least another markup of x2 is then added to the wholesale price, which results in the retail price. Luxury brands have an even higher markup!
According to this calculation, our Little Breastfeeding Dress, which has a true cost of around $36 (excl. tax), would cost $140 (x4 markup) in traditional retail. But because we only add a markup of x1.5 and sell direct-to-consumer, we manage to keep the retail price low. You can see the exact break down of the cost below.
What makes up our prices?
Here is the general structure of how our prices are made up.
- Materials: This cost includes the purchase of the fabric, threads, labels and rubber bands.
- Labor: This is the price we pay the factory to produce one garment. It doesn't include the costs for pattern-making and sampling. Our garments are made in Chicago, which explains the higher production costs.
- Logistics: Logistics include the transportation of goods, fees and packaging costs.
- Company Costs: This cost covers design work, pattern making, sample making, production, fabric sourcing, marketing, photography, models, freelancers, Shopify-related expenses, shipping and returns, restocking and packaging.
As a brand owner, transparency is very important to me. I want our customers to know exactly what they pay for and where their money goes when they decide to purchase a $55 dress. I’m proud of how and where we make our garments, and I often share the behind-the-scenes process with our customers on social media. Our customers love to see the behind the scenes because they feel like their purchase truly makes a difference. It makes them feel like they are a part of the solution.
Small batch production, low waste, organic sustainable fabrics, local manufacturing, minimal and compostable packaging are all ways we try to minimize our environmental impact at MLM Brand. Sustainability and price transparency are internal parts of MLM Brand's efforts to offer elevated basics to breastfeeding mamas at an accessible price point.