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The True Cost of Clothing & the Made in America Tax

At AYDÖRE, we get a lot of questions about our couture pricing. We proudly stand by our couture pricing model, which we carefully constructed to balance our expenses and labor hours. We believe that an hourly rate should be higher than minimum wage to reflect years of skill and college education. Having been an unpaid intern in the past, our Founder vows to pay all her future employees fairly and well above the minimum wage. For the consumer, there is no inflated rate for wedding dresses, no fees, and no surprises. We wanted to design a service that could meet a range of price points while also staying premium in the fact that our clients get individualized attention/care and a beautiful garment that fits their exact measurements.

We wanted to take a moment with this blog post to show a breakdown of the true cost of clothing, the "Made in America" difference, and why perceptions may be skewed. We will also explain the "Made in America Tax" you might have heard about, and its troubling effects on businesses like AYDÖRE if tariffs are passed at the next election. 

THE MADE IN AMERICA DIFFERENCE

First, we will start out by explaining what qualifies as "Made in America" apparel. If a brand explicitly claims "Made in USA" or "Made in America" or "Our products are American-made," then they must comply with the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines. If you see a garment advertised as "True American Quality," they don’t legally have to be made in the states. The brand perception behind "Made in USA" is strong, as it should be, because American labor laws are being followed. Perceptions include high-quality products and services that support our economy.

SKEWED PERCEPTIONS

“Made in USA” products are going to be inherently more expensive. Try a simple Google search of what garment factory workers make in China, Vietnam, etc. and you’ll see that most make under $10 a day working about 60 hours a week! Imagine a $5 dress for sale at the mall. (Just going to avoid any company names here). The brand selling that dress still has to pay rent, people’s salaries, advertising, etc. The fact that they can still make a profit on that $5 dress means that there were probably “sweatshop-like” conditions. You may have noticed several brands emerging that “empower women” in other countries by giving them a fair (minimum) wage. This is good and bad. What does this do for our economy? It cheapens the art of sewing. Clothing is perceived as worthless. Causing people to undervalue the skill, handwork, and care needed during design and construction. There’s very few “Made in America” clothing brands left and that is because the average person isn’t willing to pay the increased price.

Be above-average! Buy from American-made businesses. Sure you’ll pay more per item, but you’ll buy less because they will last longer. If clothing starts to fail, try getting it repaired by a local seamstress rather than disposing. It’s better for the environment, the economy, and your wallet at the end of the day.

WHAT IS THE MADE IN AMERICA TAX?

The Made in America tax is not a direct tax, but rather the consequence of proposed tariffs at the next election. It was brought to our attention by a mass e-mail the CEO of Joann's sent out. Specifically, it’s concerning the Section 301 Retaliatory tariffs. For more information and to sign the petition, visit MadeinAmericaTax.com.

“The "Made in America" tax will hurt churches and charitable organizations who rely on crafting goods to create blankets and quilts for veterans, hospitalized and the homeless. The tariffs will also inadvertently hurt small business owners who make their own products, as well as everyday Americans who sew, knit, build and create their own handmade items. The crafting industry is a major economic driver in many communities across the nation. Thousands of Americans are employed by crafting distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. According to an industry report, the U.S. crafting industry accounted for $44 billion in economic activity in 2016 alone. These tariffs will potentially stifle the positive contributions crafting makes towards the economic growth of our communities.” -Source: MadeinAmericaTax.com

The formula for the cost of clothing is generally cost of materials + labor hours. As a result of the proposed tariffs, American-made businesses will need to increase their already highly perceived prices. At AYDÖRE, that means our materials could cost us 10-25% more than before.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

What action can you take to support small businesses that are Made in USA? Elect the representatives who oppose these protected tariffs. Mark your calendars: the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Sept 25th. You can quickly find out if you're registered to vote online. If you’re from Ohio, click here for the Ohio voter registration. Just make sure all information is correct and take note of your voting location. To be better prepared to vote, check out your state's sample ballots. Click here for the Ohio sample ballots. Election day is on Tuesday, Nov 6. Lyft is offering The Ride to Vote to encourage voter turnout, as are other ride-sharing apps! 

Thoughts? Comment below!