We have customers who like our designs, and others who like our safety. Most people feel our price is fair for the quality we deliver, but some have thought that the price should be lower. I thought I would address this issue to answer some questions.
The business articles may state that you should ignore these issues as you cannot please everyone, I want to respect everyone who took the time to visit us. As a business lawyer, I know that many of my CEO clients do not know how certain things work in business (ie self-made) so I want to open the door to this beautiful world to show you and provide all the answers you need.
What people do not realize is that the most expensive part of any garment is often the 'Made in USA' part. In the USA we have minimum wages, labor laws, and other provisions for their safety. We agree with this as there are some horror stories in this industry. However, for a number of reasons the cost is substantially more in the USA, and here is why:
- As a lot of US manufacturing went to other countries like China (for price issues), the US slowed down in that area. What that means is that Chinese manufacturers can afford million-dollar machines that automate the process and cut costs tremendously. In our case, the work is done by hand, all of the cutting is done by hand; the automated machines cut fabrics via laser. These are available in the US but not every manufacturer has one. Every part of the process takes time and skilled labor.
I may find a manufacturer with the machines but who doesn't deliver on time or return phone calls; been there done that. Integrity in every part of the process is key.
- Once we have printed the fabric and cut the design, there are two seams that have to be sewn: a top and a bottom.
3. The next step is that a lining has to be sewn on.
- After that, we have to sew the seam in the filter-holder (we had to create a seam to force it up to the nose and mouth area.
- Once the filter seam is sewn, the whole assembly has to be sewn onto the mask.
- The tie, once dyed, has to be measured and cut and color-coordinated to the right mask. Once that is done, we have to insert it into the mask with a safety pin.
- Now the mask has to be nicely folded, packaged, and sealed.
That's one mask.
Now, for those who are surprised by the cost of our masks, let's look at what goes into the back end of a fashion company:
- Designers who are paid
2. Finance people, bookkeepers, CPAs are paid
3. Space has to be rented for storing product
4. People have to be paid to create shipping labels, answer questions, fulfill orders
5. Payroll company that is paid
6. Salespeople who are paid
7. Social media people who are paid
8. A marketing company which is paid
9. Paid ads for Facebook
10. Paid ads for Shopify
11. Paid ads for Instagram
etc etc etc.
Now, if we were to buy the $1.00 masks from another country and import them, and sell them to you for $6.00 we would not have a lot of the expenses we have. We would charge you for shipping as they do, and you would lose free shipping (which now will cost us more because the USPS is unplugging sorters and we will have to find a more expensive alternative).
At the quantities we are producing, we have just over a 30% profit margin. This is not unfair. If we cannot make $5.00 per mask, it is not worth being in business. On the other hand, this is the mask we provide to our parents and children because we believe in it and its protection. If we bought them from another country, what assurances do we have that the person sewing it or packaging it does not have a disease of any kind that they are spreading? Can they afford medical care even if they are sick? Do they get a day off work if they are sneezing?
The comments we have seen on our Facebook page (@AntonioStefanoFashion) about price could not have been more perfectly timed. The most expensive part of our masks is American Labor (the same issue we had with ties made in Italy). If you want American/British/Italian/German quality, then you have to factor in the price of the labor. Either you are for 'made in America' or quality. You cannot have both cheap labor and great quality on a consistent basis.
I hope this explains everything the people concerned about price have wanted to know, and this answers the question someone asked: "Can someone explain why these masks are so expensive". On the other hand, one of our customers reflected: "People are interesting. They will spend $15 on a drink, but when your life is at stake, $20 is a fortune".....
Chief Creative Director