The time has come for us to move our price-point up a notch. From the 15th of February 2024, we are increasing the price of our Phoenix sneakers from 850 DKK to 950 DKK.
In order to shed some light on the reasons for this price increase, we have made this blogpost. BUT, since we are on the topic of pricing, we also wanted to use the opportunity to take you behind the scenes of the numbers and thoughts behind our pricing in general.
WHY INCREASE THE PRICE?
As you might have noticed, the price of most of the products you buy has increased drastically over the last couple of years. The same has happened with both our production cost and the cost of transporting both the textiles and the sneakers. And it hasn’t just been small price increases, in the last couple of years, our production price has increased with around 23%. Which is why we also have to increase our price.
ARE OUR SNEAKERS AFFORDABLE?
The main concern when we decide to increase the price, is if the sneakers become too expensive for some, so we suddenly become a shoe that some people cannot afford. One of the main reasons for starting VAER, was the fact that I (Lili, Founder of VAER) was looking for a new pair of sneakers. I wanted them to be sustainable, but I couldn’t find any sustainable sneakers within my budget. So keeping the shoes affordable has always been a big priority for me.
However, my view on AFFORDABILITY has changed a lot since starting VAER. An important thing I have learned, is that our view on whether a garment is affordable or not, is heavily influenced by the fast fashion companies. When I was younger, I thought that clothing that wasn't from H&M or the supermarket, was super expensive. H&M set the standard of what affordable was for me - they made me think that paying 100 kr. for a shirt (15 dollars) for a t-shirt was normal. But the problem was (and still is) that their prices are artificially low, they don't include the hidden costs, which comes with a huge cost for the planet and the people making their products. At the same time, it also comes with the cost of the quality of the garment, which means that most fast fashion have a very short lifetime. So when we go beyond the price tag, and think about price per wear instead, fast fashion might not be so cheap as it seems.
There is a ton that we could write about this subject, but we think that our friends over at Tripulse explain it very well in their blogpost about the true cost of choosing cheap. It is btw also this blogpost that made us want to write more about what our price is based on.
But the conclusion on whether our sneakers are affordable or not is, that our sneakers might not be affordable in the standard set by the fast fashion companies. However, when you as a company care about the impact of your products, then the fast fashion standards should not be what you compare yourself too. At VAER we try our hardest to make our sneakers as sustainable as possible, and we don't want to compromise neither the quality or the environmental and social sustainability in order to have an artificially low price point.
WHAT IS BEHIND THE PRICE TAG OF THE VAER SNEAKERS
So in the spirit of creating more transparency about the pricing of our products, we present this diagram of the different elements of our price, from production cost to our margin.
When looking at the diagram, you might think that our production price is a small part of our final price. The reality is, that our production price is much higher and our margin is much lower than the conventional sneakers you see in the stores. But why are our sneakers more expensive to produce? Some of the reasons are:
Being a small company that produces smaller batches of 100-500 pairs, means that we don’t get any quantity discounts.
More sustainable and better quality materials are more expensive:
Until it becomes mainstream to produce more sustainable materials and products, it will be more expensive to produce these. We often have to pay double (if not six times) the price, compared to the less sustainable options when it comes to e.g. soles, insoles, heel counters and so on.
Using upcycled textiles is more expensive:
Working directly with textile waste, is very different than working with perfectly uniform rolls of textile. This results in extra costs for e.g. sorting and cutting the textiles. We are still cutting the raw material ourselves in Denmark and send off the flat material to the factory, who then ensures that it can be used in a 'normal' production.
Produced in Portugal:
Producing in Portugal is more expensive than producing in e.g. China. But we are also ensuring that the shoe manufacturers in the factory are being paid a fair wage and have good working conditions.
It is a shame that more sustainable products often means higher costs. It is not unnatural, since it is more expensive to produce sustainably. However, we hope that all companies at some point have to pay for the invisible costs associated with their products. This would result in the standard of affordability being shifted to a level that is sustainable for the people and the planet. Until that happens, we will continue to work hard to push the fashion industry in a better direction, by showing that there are other ways to do business than fast fashion.