Instead of trying to sell our products at a higher margin because it is 100% recycled and made in the USA, we would rather sell them as low as we can afford, while still being financially sustainable. This may be a very different approach than many apparel companies, but that is exactly why SustainU was founded. We want to be radically different so that more people can become part of a more sustainable solution. If the sustainable product movement is only relying on the purchases of the elite, it is not going to be a reality.
What does it cost to make a tee?
Cost for a tee varies of course from company to company, but for us the cost is around $5 for a finished garment. This final costs is a combination of what we pay for fabric, transportation, cutting and sewing, embellishment and packaging. Our highest costs are for the actual sewing of the garment as we only employ American companies. Companies that manufacture overseas have even lower production costs.
What other costs are there?
Obviously, there are other costs besides what it directly takes to make a shirt: overhead costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, salaries for sales, administrative and marketing staff and other associated costs all have to be covered by the sale of garments. Different companies have different overhead costs, but for companies that sell more garments the amount of overhead costs per garment goes down.
So why are some sustainable clothes so expensive?
We can’t speak for every company, but we sell our basic tees for just $12. That means that just $7 per shirt is left to cover our overhead. Compare that other “sustainable” clothing companies that charge anywhere from $25 to $100 for an eco-shirt. They may have slightly higher costs, but the reality is that most of that is going towards owner profit.
We want everyone to be able to afford sustainable clothing, so we keep our margins and profits as low as possible, making our garments accessible for everyone. When it comes to conserving what we have for future generations, we can afford it.