Posted on August 08 2019
Changes are a coming. If you follow us on social media or are on our email list you’ve probably heard the news: our prices are going to be increasing by 5-15% by the end of the week.
Why are we making these changes?
- Tariffs on Chinese made goods. Despite our garments being designed, cut and sewn in the USA, Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese goods have affected our Hemp supply which is currently grown and milled in China. Growing hemp is the US just became legal, and the US doesn’t currently have the large scale domestic infrastructure to produce hemp fabric in bulk. So until then, we import our hemp and have been charged an additional 10% since March 2019. (Considering our best selling piece, the Janis skirt is made of Hemp, the 10% tariff is taking its toll).
- Cost of living increases, vacation and sick time for our production team employees. Three of our four production team members have been with me for over 1 year. And if you know anything about turnover rates in the garment industry, that’s an eternity! I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve kept our team together. It demonstrates that we have created a truly enjoyable work environment. We just implemented paid vacation and sick time for our FT staff and those who have been with us over a year have all received merit and cost of living increases.
- Expertise. When I started Alice Alexander, it was just me, a hobby seamstress with a shitty Singer sewing machine, sewing and selling clothes out of my third floor guest bedroom. I had NO IDEA what I was doing (but I was trying really hard!). Since then I’ve hired the best production sewing team I’ve ever seen. Our work is of incredible quality. We’re also working on the best high powered industrial sewing machines in the industry. That expertise needs to be valued.
- We want to make some BIG improvements. My biggest goal right now is to develop a “See it in My Size” feature on our website. Right now we only shoot a garment on one or sometimes two models as a cost saving measure in regards to photography, model fees, and sample making costs. In order to implement a See it in My Size feature, meaning you could see each garment on 10 different bodies, it would require massive financial increases to our current sample making model. I’ve made a very-well researched and informed decision to NOT take on equity investor funding—that means funding initiatives such as this with PROFIT. Without it we can’t improve!
- I deserve to be paid. And so do you. So often women undervalue their labor and contributions. Discussions on salary are fraught with anxiety. Asking for what we’re worth feels greedy and dirty. The fact is, I haven’t been paid for my labor since starting Alice Alexander. And I understand that becoming an entrepreneur requires incredible sacrifice which I’ve lived it first hand. But I can’t be empowering women in one breath while disempowering myself by declining to take a salary and not investing in my future.
What can you expect?
Starting Saturday August 10th, we plan to increase our prices 5-15% across the board, for an average 10% increase.
Why am I sharing this?
Alice Alexander is built on transparency, from how we make our clothing to how we run our business, it's at the core of everything we do, and despite money being one of those things we’re not supposed to talk about, I want to make it something we can discuss.
We know that this change might make our pieces harder for some to invest in and that's exactly why we have Partiall.y (our payment plan program) which allows you to break up your payments in weekly installments. It’s why our collections are open to shop for months, so that you can save up and invest in garments that will serve you a lifetime. It’s why I truly believe in and live a fewer, better, clothes philosophy.
In addition to everything I’ve shared here, I’d like to note that after our first year in business I reached out to a variety of funders for start up capital. All were receptive to our business model, our revenue and our growth plan. But every single one pushed back on my financials, particularly in regards to my salary. When they saw that I had included a $24,000 annual salary in the budget for my second year in business (from $0 the year prior) I was told I needed to take that out. That entrepreneurs simply didn’t pay themselves when starting out and that it would take YEARS to pay myself even a small salary. To which I replied, “how do low income folks, or those without financial support become entrepreneurs”. And each person didn’t have an answer for me. And I often wonder if I would have received that pushback had I been a man.
The reality is the only way the slow fashion space can be truly inclusive is if those from low-income and diverse backgrounds can afford to get into and STAY in business. And that means easier access to startup capital and charging enough so that our businesses can be profitable and THRIVE.
I am so thankful for the community we've built and the incredible garments we make at Alice Alexander. Thank you for joining us on this journey!