Dear friends & community,
We pride ourselves in having been transparent with our business so far and not participating in scarcity marketing. This has been really important to us since day one and is a core part of our values as a company and as individuals.
We have been very conscious not to use language that is overly selly, or trying to get people to buy based on false scarcity. I personally hate this kind of marketing and see it all the time from so many businesses, and personally, I see right through the smoke and mirrors.
We decided from the beginning that we weren’t going to play that game. You all know the brands that are pretty much on sale 100% of the time. Or, experiences such as visiting websites that have those tickers and popups saying “so and so just purchased xyz in Alabama” and 2 seconds later another pop up that says “Allison purchased in Ontario.” These tactics are designed to play on our psychology and leave us feeling like if we don’t buy now we’ll miss out.
I completely understand why these discount game/pricing strategies exist and that they work. I am also susceptible to them and can feel them at work in my psyche when I come across them. I also don’t judge any business for employing them.
However, as a business owner who is now on the other side of the fence I am faced with the difficult decision around how to price our products in a way that allows us to continue as a company while also staying true to our values. Trust me when I say we have spent hours working through different spreadsheets and scenarios for our pricing.
In June we reduced our price and lowered/subsidized shipping costs throughout the summer to try and make things easier for our community. However, the truth is that it’s not sustainable for us to continue subsidizing shipping and offering common discounts such as “sign up and get 10% off”.
It became clear to us that we needed to increase our pricing, and/or charge the actual cost of shipping instead of subsidizing it.
Also, just before coming to this conclusion around the need to increase pricing we received word from the manufacturer that our cost per sweater is increasing significantly.
Why is it increasing? Well, of course, inflation. But also, we are a *very* small player in the outdoor apparel field and because we order what in the industry is considered a small order, we pay a surcharge. That surcharge has increased greatly. Literally, just to have a seat at the table, and to manufacture at the same quality of factory that many other well loved outdoor brands manufacture at, we pay a premium.
It’s worthwhile noting that I have been working on this business full time for nearly 3 years now and have not received a pay check. Beyond this, with the capital intensive investment involved in our orders and the design process, as a family, we are taking big risks to bring high quality outdoor clothing for mothers in nature to life. To be clear, we love what we’re doing. It’s also very real and at times it is scary. I share this with you to be transparent about the fact the pricing decision does not provide me a wage, but does impact the likelihood of being able to one day.
It’s uncomfortable to raise our prices and charge the true cost of shipping because quite frankly, this may result in you deciding not to buy and that hurts us. On the other hand, it’s scary to not raise our prices to reflect the true cost of goods because it could mean that we will not pay back our debts, or make this business idea feasible and sustainable.
We’re a ma and pa business and in order to make it work we have to charge what our product is worth. It’s kind of as simple as that (but not of course), and in doing so, we have to trust that the true value of the All Phases Fleece will come through in our reviews and people’s experiences of it, and that our community knows we are not a big corporation who can afford to offer endless sales and discounts.
Without further ado, here is the decision we have come to.
We have spent hours discussing the price (it’s very complex!) and in the process of doing so, Chas and I have had the opportunity to clarify and revisit our values as people and as business owners.
We went back and forth exploring the idea of raising our price in order to allow for an ongoing incentive-to-buy discount such as “get a % off for signing up for our email list”. In fact, I began writing this update ready to announce our price increase.
But as the days went on and the ongoing conversations marinated we kept coming back to the fact that deep in our hearts, we don’t want to participate in the smoke and mirrors of selling. We don’t want to raise our prices in order to allow for a continual discount because ultimately it’s not truthful to you, our customer and we know you’re smarter than that.
So (for now) instead of raising our price, we will maintain the current price and charge closer to the true cost of shipping with some subsidization.
What we won’t be doing is increasing our price just so we can lower it in order to offer a continual sign-up discount or ongoing sales which psychologically affects your decision to buy.
Though we technically “should” (and may have to in the future) increase our price solely based on the increase in cost from the manufacturer, we are going to try this route. If staying at this price makes it easier for you, we are trusting the reciprocity of the universe.
We plan to have one or two sales per year - around Mother's Day and possibly at Christmas. And, if you’re on our email list, from time to time we will send out discount codes as a thank you for being a part of our newsletter community. We will also invite some of our major influencer partnerships to share a temporary discount code occasionally following a giveaway or other special event. This helps to create value for their communities which they are kind enough to share with us.
Beyond these opportunities our price is our price and we’re not going to pressure you to buy.
Finally, just as a cost comparison, the Patagonia Marsupial sweater which I own and does not offer the same functionality costs $189 CAD + charges $19 for shipping in Canada. This is from a large brand.
It’s important to keep this in mind when considering the price of our sweater.
Our mission as a company is deeply connected to what’s truly important in this time that we’re living, and we hope and trust that you as our community will help spread the word and see the value of a garment that is designed to last in a temporary, fast-fashion world.
The biggest way you can help us is by purchasing a sweater, and/or telling your friends about us. We are so thankful for our customers thus far, and for your kindness in sharing about us with your own communities.
Connecting mothers with nature, slowing down, being present with ourselves, our little ones and the natural world around us is why we’re here. And, we suspect it’s why you’re here too.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me using the form on the website.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for your understanding.
To read Our Pricing Manifesto, click here.