Green Tree Organic Clothing has been in business for 2 years now and we’ve put out a total of 8 designs. Our goal was to offer inexpensive organic cotton panties and intimates that are made in the USA. If you followed along with us that first year, you’ll know the process was much more trying than I had ever imagined. Fortunately, our process is now fairly stable and our small line is doing quite well.
Unfortunately, rising prices of everything from fabric to elastic to sewing has kept us from expanding into more colors, more designs and men’s items. We have been reluctant to raise prices because we really wanted to offer an economical, Made in the USA option. If you look at the PACT model, they started off sewing exclusively in the USA. Prices continued to rise until most of their panties were in the high $20 to low $30 range. Eventually, they gave up on manufacturing in the USA and started manufacturing in India. It brought their costs way down and their panty prices are now all under $15. On the flip side, Blue Canoe has continued to manufacture in the USA and their price is now $34 for a single panty (though we sell Blue Canoe panties at a small discount everyday for $30 each).
So what’s a small business to do? Here’s our plan.
• We will continue to manufacture in the USA and keep as much of our processes local.
• We will be raising prices in January both to reflect our higher cost and to offer wholesale so we can get USA-made panties in brick and mortar stores.
• We will expand the line of PACT underwear that we carry to offer a less expensive organic cotton panty alternative for those who really want organic and just can’t afford the Made in USA prices.
Green Tree Organic panty prices will go up between $3 – $5 each starting in the new year. This is early warning for you to stock up now. There are a few sizes/colors currently sold out, but our seamstress is working on them and we should have everything back in stock before Christmas with at least a couple of weeks left at the old pricing.
What are your thoughts on this? Manufacturing in the USA has certainly been in the news a lot lately. Is price more important than local jobs?
We just completed an overhaul of our FAQ. In addition to updating previous answers with new products, links and more detailed information, we’ve also added some new questions that we’ve received quite a lot recently. The question that’s come up most often is “Why don’t bras and panties ever seem to go on sale?” So, here’s why.
We have a very hard time keeping bras and panties in stock. Bra and panty manufacturers seem to go out of business on us every few months. Because of that, we end up taking bigger risks with intimates, buying and stocking more than we normally would on other items and then having to warehouse them.
We put twice as much time and effort into getting the bras and panties in and keeping them stocked than anything else in the store. In addition, most Europeans are used to paying a lot more for bras than we are here in the US. So an $80 or $90 bra is common as is a $30 or $40 pair of underwear. (We’ve tried a few of those, but they just don’t really sell here). So to keep prices reasonable everyday, we take a smaller profit on bras and panties. This is even true of the panties we manufacture in-house. We wanted to keep the price range to $12-$14 per pair regardless of the cost of production.
Please take a look at some of the other US companies selling organic cotton panties – like Blue Canoe or PACT. You’ll find we’re the only company that has a very large selection of organic panties for less than $20 each. And the few brands we carry that are more readily available in the USA are offered at 10% off every single day. (For example, all of our Blue Canoe products are at least 10% off every day without a sale.)
If you’ve made it this far, we can tell you that our Anniversary is in July. We premiered our webstore July 22, 2005. Each July we do a one-week sale that includes every single item in the store – including bras, panties and clearance items – as a celebration of our anniversary. So this is the one time of year to stock up and save.
Be sure you are signed up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement. It’s mailed only once per month, so it’s not an overwhelming amount of e-mail.
We pride ourselves on offering our items below Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP). While it means a little less profit on our part, we believe offering organic and eco-friendly clothing as inexpensively as possible will open the market up to a wider audience. In the past, we have specifically not worked with manufacturers who do not allow us to price items accordingly.
We’ve just heard from Ecoland that they are getting complaints from other companies that our prices are too low and they cannot compete with us. (Isn’t that what competition is about, really?) We briefly considered dropping Ecoland from our line, but so many of our customers absolutely love the Wireless Soft Cup Bra (a top 10 best seller for almost 2 years now), that seemed an excessive response. The Ecoland team was also very nice and somewhat apologetic in their request that we charge MSRP. Obviously they are getting pressure from their customers, and like us, are just trying to keep their regular customers happy. I’d truly hate to see them go out of business! So, we have decided to go along with their request and change our prices on all Ecoland items to MSRP, which is about 10% more than we currently charge.
However, in the interest of keeping our own customers happy, we’re holding prices steady through March 31. So now is definitely the time to stock up on all your Ecoland favorites as all prices will be going up on April 1. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.