Why Our Prices Went Up - The Cost of Australian Made Sustainable Goods
After careful and lengthy consideration, Amy and I decided to raise our prices this year for the ornaments and tea towels.
Our ornaments are now $25 and our tea towels are now $40.
We spent several months trying to think of how we could bring the costs down and reached out to many manufacturers in Australia and pored over so many samples at the studio. Since chain of supply and sustainability is so important to us we decided to go with the vendors we already use (and love!!!) even if meant we couldn't bring our costs down.
For the ornaments, our local wood cutter is focused on sustainability and has a mission of helping to plant trees. We think their end product is great, love working with them, love that they're so local and that we get to support a Sydney business. After we pick the wood up, the bulk of the work (and real cost) begins as we have around 6 steps to go through to make the ornaments including sealing the wood at the beginning and finishing it off with a protective coating at the end. We do our best to create a premium long lasting product and it's this work that's so laborious. To cover the costs of our labor we raised the prices by $3 an ornament. Considering that it's still hand-painted and 100% made in Australia, we think its good value as all the money supports local businesses down the chain.
For the tea towels, we had a hard time finding manufacturers that made their own tea towels here in Australia as so many are imported from Russia already made. We really love the company that we work with in Melbourne and just like our wood cutter, they are focused on sustainability as well. The tea towels are printed with non-toxic eco friendly water based inks on organic linen that is sewn by makers in Melbourne. This means that everyone is getting a fair wage. They also have a mission to reduce fabric waste and whatever is leftover is recycled or donated. After a lot of market research, we thought $40 would be fair as the tea towels are made in Australia, whereas many of the tea towels in our price range are only designed in Australia and not actually made here. After we receive the tea towels, we heat set them at a local screenprinting company in Manly who also has a focus on sustainability and uses non-toxic water based eco inks and has several processes in place to protect the environment.
Simply put, our alternative to our Australian manufacturers would be overseas, where environmental impact is usually poor, wages are not fair and the carbon footprint of our product is too big. When we started Outer Island, we knew our purchasing power wouldn't be much compared to big companies, but we know that every dollar we spend with our local, sustainably focused manufacturers is like a vote for what we believe in and how we wish the world was. We love our Australian manufacturers and feel proud that our products are made here in Australia. The mission of our company has always been to create sustainably made souvenirs focused on Australia's magical plants and animals that are actually made here in Australia and keeping our manufacturing here is a big part of that.
If you have any questions at all, please reach out. We'd love to hear from you and to address any concerns you might have or further elaborate.
Stephanie + Amy