Transparent Pricing: Why is Fair Trade More Expensive?
Have you ever wondered why fair trade is more expensive than fast fashion brands (i.e. Zara, H&M, ASOS, etc.)? To answer that question, I'd like to take you on a little trip to a town called Transparent Pricing. :)
Most fast fashion brands churn out new styles every couple of weeks and work with factories that pay less than $2 a day (and often times workdays are over 10 hours long). Additionally, only about 4% of what we spend on clothing/accessories accounts for the wages paid to the workers who made the product. Currently, every single bag on H&M's website is under $50. For context, we pay our artisan partners sometimes more than $50 for a single bag. Based on the above data, the H&M producer makes between $.80-$2.00 for their work.
In contrast, fair trade fashion brands pay workers wages that are livable and respectable. Every brand will have a different way of working out payment as living standards are different in every region and community. When people are paid fairly, they can afford the costs of schooling, medical needs, rent, and food. The majority of the artisans we work with are in Nairobi, which is a city and can be more expensive to live in than some more rural areas of the developing world.
In an effort to be as transparent with our customers as possible, the other major cost that has to be factored in is shipping. As you can imagine, shipping small batch orders from East Africa is not cheap, but we believe in our artisan partners' craftsmanship, and believe their work is as important as any to have in our marketplace.
One of the things I have always loved about fashion is the ability to be creative and uniquely "me" in the items I choose to wear. Knowing who made the products I wear adds a whole other level of connection to the pieces I choose.
I wholeheartedly believe the quality of our bags stand up to designer brands like, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, or Burberry. They all use leather just like we do....only they do not pledge to pay their workers a fair wage. We are paying the big bucks to wear their name. Typical brands mark up their products 4-8 times their cost. These designer brands mark up even more…sometimes up to 20 times.
In an effort to make sure our bags are accessible to as many people as possible, we priced our bags without the wholesale margin most brands include in their pricing, which means we are able to offer our bags to you at a more affordable price. We want to work directly with our customers to bring you high-quality, timeless designs that honor the culture of the women and men who make our products and empower you to live your life courageously and confidently.
Wearing an ABBY ALLEY bag connects you to a larger story of global citizenship that views consumerism as a partnership rather than a transaction with an imbalanced power structure. We can have great style with designer quality at a reasonable price, while knowing the women and men who made our bags were paid fairly! Now that’s what I call a win, win, win!