When we started Etiko in 2005, we were determined to do things right from the start. In 2006 we became the first non-food brand in Australia and New Zealand to be Fairtrade certified. In 2007 we became the first fashion brand in the country to become FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. And in 2008, we became the first fashion brand in the country to use certified organic/fairtrade cotton. Doing business in this way was, and is, at the core of our philosophy.
It was also important to us that our Fair Trade products be reasonably priced, so that ethically sourced, organic products are not just seen as a middle-class luxury. So when we started, we intentionally set our prices at the same level as equivalent quality mainstream brands, despite our costs being 200-300% higher than those same brands. The extra cost is what we needed to pay in order to ensure workers in our supply chains are paid living wages and working in safe conditions. We also need to ensure that the farmers who supply our cotton are paid a fair return for their crops and the materials that we use in our products are as eco friendly as possible.
The time has now come for us to grow and that means we have to increase our prices. Over the years our costs have gone up, yet until now we have squeezed our profits margins so the prices of our products could stay the same. However to make the business truly sustainable, for the sake of our team, as well as the workers and farmers who rely on our Fairtrade premiums, this is something we really have to do.
The rises will start taking place from mid April 2018. First up, a pair of Etiko sneakers will go from $95 to $105. The extra money will cover things like employing extra staff, spending more money on marketing (what’s the point of being Australia’s most ethical fashion label if no one knows about us?) and expanding the Etiko range.
We are also confident that these increases will still make us a competitively priced brand, even against the mainstream market. (the best selling sneaker in this country which looks remarkably like ours, despite being neither organic, fairtrade or vegan sells for AU$100). It is important to keep in mind that other brands sell organic cotton t-shirts and hoodies of equivalent quality for 50-100% more than Etiko. Given that our prices have always been on par with conventionally made items, we trust that our fair-minded customers will understand that this is a necessary business step for us.
The title of this blog is “what is a fair price”? So what do you, dear reader, think is a fair price to pay for genuinely ethically made, eco friendly clothing and footwear? Do you think our new prices (about 10% higher than our current advertised pricing) are right or do you think we should charge more for our gear? Looking forward to your comments.