November 13, 2009

The Issue of Pricing

I want to write a full length, thoughtful post about this this weekend...but I've been thinking a lot about the issue of pricing fashion goods a lot recently. In design school, you're taught how to price your goods based on your material and labor costs...but that doesn't quite work, because that gorgeous Hermes bag isn't probably costing the brand half of ten thousand dollars or whatever to produce. So maybe the idea is to start with the consumer you want to sell you, and price your goods comparably to the other brands you'd like to compete with. Or it can just be arbitrary...

On the other hand, as a consumer (and fashion industry insider), I'm perpetually confused about what I should or want to be spending on any particular item. What is the price something is worth - is it simply what I'm willing to pay for it? Or what I think it cost to manufacture? Is it the retail price, or the discount store price, or the sample sale price, or the wholesale editor's special price, or the online secret shopping club that anyone can join price???

What is your purchase policy?


Chanel said...

Never pay more than you have to I say. You can always find cheaper, similiar alternatives to the labels that look just as good if not better.

kathleen fasanella said...

Hmm. Your blog doesn't like i or blockquote tags and bounced my comment. I resort to quote marks.

"So maybe the idea is to start with the consumer you want to sell you, and price your goods comparably to the other brands you'd like to compete with."

Considering the chasm btwn value and the provenance of production, the above is the best alternative -but you'll have to adopt the trappings of whoever you hang with or aspire to hang with (as a practical matter). Meaning, branding and all that rot. And I do think it's largely rot, being a curmudgeonly old schooler who shops for value. Of course, I temper my sentiment with relief that not everyone shops like I do otherwise there'd be even more of us out of work.

fashion in theory said...

Chanel - I agree with you, to some extent. For example, I love H&M but draw the line at Forever 21 for fabric/construction reasons, being a design school snob! :)

Interesting points Kathleen! One thing that makes me feel like pricing is relatively arbitrary is the fact that the exact same item can be sold for varying prices in different countries (even taking into account the exchange rate), depending on things like taxes, retail costs and how the brand wants to position itself...for example, I'm here in Australia on vacation and WILL NOT buy any clothing because things that are about $129 in America retail are $199 here...even though it's made in China!

Anonymous said...

Brand history does count for something, no? But also design itself. Someone that puts the mental effort into designing something beautiful, or original, or iconic does deserve some more of my hard-earned cash.

In theory, anyway, since the last item of clothing I bought was at Top Shop and that was like two months ago.