Friday, May 9, 2008

Price Perspective

I understand the reality of small incomes which mean a wardrobe from Ballentynes (NZ$40 to $60 per garment) is beyond the horizon, but I've heard girls complain about the expense of a good quality secondhand garment from SaveMart -- and they're paying NZ$6-$8 for it.

I've heard girls fuss over paying more than $4/meter for fabric, when I think I'm getting a bargain at $10/m. It's true that some people have access to city bargain stores where prices are $1 to $2, but for the majority of us, a little perspective helps us judge whether or not we're getting a bargain.

Made In China

Stores that provide low-priced garments, such as The Warehouse, Ezibuy(Au), and Ballentynes, import their garments from China, where the cost of labour and living is cheap. (For instance, what we pay for one item to be drycleaned would get a small mountain done in China.)

Stores with higher prices, such as House of Heather and Annie Lantz, have their own factories operating in their own country. If you want to support local industry, be prepared to pay more.

Raw Fabric Prices

Another illustration of the crazy ways of industry is that fabric stores who source their wares from inside New Zealand have to pay more than those who source their fabric overseas. Even with the cost of shipping, importing from outside the country works out cheaper for the consumer.

Cost Factors

Other cost factors are fabric quality and quantity, labour, added embellishments, and lining. The longer it takes a machinist to sew it, the more the finished garment will cost. With these factors in mind, consider the following options from the latest EziBuy(NZ) catalogue.

1) This fine cord skirt in a dainty print is priced at NZ$59.95.
2) This velveteen skirt is lined, priced at $49.95.
3) This skirt is a wool blend, and lined, at $59.95.

How long would it take you to make these skirts, at what rate would you pay yourself, and how much would the fabric and notions cost? Calculate these and add a profit margin. Was it worth the effort?

Sew Cheap

The bottom line (er, hem line?) is that sewing your own clothes IS the best way to get a stylish ,low-cost wardrobe with all the hems just as you like them, but buying patterns, fabric, and notions (particularly thread) at sale prices is often necessary if you want to beat Made in China prices.
If you don't sew, I recommend it as a valuable skill to learn. You can save $$ for your family, and you can earn $$ by sewing for others. A sewing machine is a worthwhile investment. However, for those who don't have the time to sew, Boutique Narelle continues to browse for dollar-saving shopping options, and to encourage the sewing ladies among us to offer their services for hire.

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