What does this mean?
To me: Way less of a profit margin. You may be thinking, “Well, ya! Lining your pockets at our expense.” That’s not how it works for Indie designers.
There are two reasons why prices are what they are…*
1. What the Market will bear.
Prices for luxury and couture/handmade items are set by the big companies. They have done all the expensive research to test what the market can bear and what the consumer is willing to pay for each item. If you look at the big names (Agent Provocateur, La Perla, Rigby and Peller…), a pair of panties averages at £85.00. Want silk and the price goes up significantly. With fixing the prices in a range, it creates an expectation in the buyer that the item in question is quality. Paying anything less creates an expectation that the item is less exclusive, more cheaply and therefore less expertly made and therefore less desirable. So basically, when you see a price you associate a value and a quality with the item.
2. What the item costs in terms of materials, packaging, distribution and time.
We all know that Big Companies can make items at a FRACTION of the cost of the sales price. They can do this because they buy in bulk direct from the producers and use mass production methods in China, India and anywhere the workforce is cheap. It’s the difference between Couture and Ready to Wear.
Couture is all hand made in the studios of the design house, like Chanel’s latest catwalk show. Look at the video below – it shows all the hand work done for each piece. As opposed to Ready to Wear, which is simpler, is mass produced and usually made out of cheaper materials. What Indie designers do is Couture. While we would LOVE to charge Couture prices, we are small businesses trying to capture your attention. But we don’t have the name, the cachet, of the Big Companies so we have to select where we hope our items will fit into the market and sell alongside. Mainly that is selling Couture at Ready to Wear prices. This means that often at these prices Indie designers don’t get paid for our time.
But here’s the thing… Psychologically – to you, the customer – Something cheap is not worth buying. Something free is not worth having.
The one comment I get the most is that while you love everything, you can’t afford it. I want you to buy my clothes! I want you to feel empowered and sexy and amazing and exactly how worthy you are of feeling great at whatever size you are! I want you to be able to buy my clothes! The only way to do this is cut the margins down so low that for all the extra detail work – I sell Couture at LESS THAN Ready to Wear.
So for the foreseeable: Most items have had a reduction from £20 to £30 pounds. And there can’t be any more big money off sales…
But I can’t go any lower and not lose money. I can’t go any lower and not lose your respect for the quality. So what do Indie designers do? You tell us!