After spending more than 18 months navigating through a global pandemic that seemingly just won’t end, it looks like the global economy will soon feel some unfortunate residual effects. EVERY major company in the U.S. is seeing costs skyrocket—this includes everything from the actual manufacturing of goods to the shipping containers that bring them here. With everything going on, we wanted to open the dialogue up and share some of the ways this is impacting both SpiritHoods and the apparel industry as a whole.
Fashion Price Increases — What We've Seen so Far
In 2020, we saw major brands like Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and plenty of other luxury brands raise their prices on many of the products in their most prized collections. Chanel and Gucci in particular actually pushed out price increases TWICE in a single year. (and at their prices… YIKES!) Meanwhile, boutique fashion brands across the country have been struggling to survive an overwhelming surge in cost of raw materials, freight (both domestically and internationally), manufacturing (domestically and internationally), and even an increase in organizational items like pens, paper, and general supplies. Prices for literally EVERYTHING have been rising since the pandemic. We’re not just talking pennies either—the price increases have been substantial to say the least (...more like highway robbery if you ask us!).
You’re probably thinking: Wtf even happened to cause all this? Well, from what we gather, it started when the supply chains of entire countries were curtailed by mass hysteria. As panic over the pandemic began to set in, people began flocking to stores and started stockpiling / hoarding all kinds of products as if the world were ending (...and we get it, but also… toilet paper shortages in 2020?!). However, this not only put a dent in the availability of essential supplies, it created major issues in our global supply chain. Additionally, citywide lockdowns and strict work restrictions (some of you may remember those essential workers only mandates...) served to help curb COVID infection rates, but inadvertently weakened supply chains in the process.
Then Inflation Hit...
The government eventually dished out billions of dollars in aid (which was a god send for many), but it wasn’t long before the effects of inflation began to kick in. Wtf is ‘inflation’? To put it simply, the cost of things began going up, while the purchasing power of the dollar began going down. This is the unfortunate current state of things. How long will things be like this? No one really knows… Inflation alone has a tremendous impact on our ability to purchase goods and services both domestically and internationally, but especially overseas. Have you ever exchanged currency? If you have, did you notice you actually benefited from the exchange? For example, if I go to Thailand, the purchasing power of my US Dollar goes a lot farther than if I were to visit Japan. Why? Well, because the US Dollar has value in relation to other currencies—and right now, that value is currently decreasing. This means that if I were to visit another country today, the purchasing power I would normally have simply won’t go as far as it would have in a pre-pandemic world.
...And Prices Started Rising
Executives from major clothing brands like Carters, Crocs, Michael Kors, and numerous others have either raised prices or announced to the world that they will be doing so very soon. Across the board, US retailers saw apparel prices rise by more than 5% in June 2021 according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. This means the price of sneakers, dresses, and even simple t-shirts are rising because the cost of EVERYTHING from cotton to oil has spiked. Shipping is no exception either. The very act of transporting goods, whether domestically or globally, has gotten significantly more expensive. And we haven’t even touched on the labor shortage yet! Those stimulus checks were a lifesaver for many, however, they unexpectedly caused hiring issues for companies. Businesses are now paying higher wages to fill positions they desperately need (that’s IF they can find someone to fill them). This increased cost to hire unfortunately trickles down—ultimately resulting in even more increased costs across the board. For example, if it costs our manufacturer more to hire essential workers, our manufacturer will unfortunately have to charge us more to produce things just so they can afford to pay staff, overhead, etc. This in turn means we also have to up our prices just to keep our doors open. This is happening to every business we work with: from our fabric suppliers to our manufacturers and even our shipping carriers. We HATE THIS as much as everyone else does (seriously, it’s not like we all haven’t been through enough already).
This has been an incredibly difficult situation for most family-run small businesses like SpiritHoods, who pride themselves on both quality and affordability. In the past, we’ve been able to circumvent price increases by maintaining mutually beneficial partnerships with large fabric mills. We also managed to keep some marketing costs down thanks to fans like yourself who promote our brand by word of mouth as you wear our products out at festivals, raves, and other fun, wild, and magical events. However, with group gathering restrictions, increased manufacturing costs, international trade wars, increased raw material costs, and marketing expenses soaring, we are unfortunately unable to keep our business afloat without raising prices.
(For a list of comparable faux fur brands and prices, check out this recent article: Best Fur Coats and the Brands That Make Them.)
The Future of Fashion Pricing
As of now, the future of fashion pricing is still very uncertain. But if history has taught us anything, costs NEVER seem to come down. (When’s the last time you saw a soda for a nickel like those old diner menus?) Today, economists continue to debate whether or not today’s inflation rates are truly a byproduct of the pandemic or if there are other contributing factors. We’re not economists by any means, but from our perspective, it looks like we are currently in the midst of a long period of rising prices for all consumer goods everywhere.
Brands like Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, who have historically relied heavily on discounts to boost and garner sales, are now raising prices significantly and talking about it.
What Does this Mean for SpiritHoods?
We will continue to do our best to invest in our future—designing more unique and interesting products for our community, expanding product lines to include a wider array of options to meet different pricing needs and budgets, as well as exploring alternative fabrics. We are investing in more secure product supply chains and partnerships to keep our prices as affordable as possible; while of course maintaining excellent quality and our pledge to donate 10% of net profits back to our Non Profit Partners who work diligently to protect endangered animals and their habitats.
As of August 2021, prices for many SpiritHoods designs will increase by an average of 7%. Loosely translated, a typical coat will now be roughly $20 more—hopefully an understandable increase as we continue navigating through this wild pandemic life. We will continue to focus our energy on quality of materials and construction, which has truthfully been an ongoing challenge considering how heavily restricted traveling is. This is an integral factor that has prevented us from having the normal face-to-face interactions that have helped us foster goodwill among vendors in the past. Undeterred by this setback, our team has and continues to work hard and get more creative about managing our supply chain, quality control measures, and price conscientiousness.
As always, we are grateful for anyone’s patronage during these difficult times and continue to strive to update all our protocols to better serve our customers in this bizarre new ‘norm’ of life we find ourselves in. We are in deep gratitude for everyone who has continued to support and carry the brand forward.
-Latif Hamilton, SpiritHoods Founding Partner & CEO