The cost of a dress
Originally published 7 March 2019
Our pricing model has changed since this blog was first published but our ethos remains the same.
Here is a breakdown of the true cost of a Swahlee dress. It’s important to us that we be transparent about our supply chain, labor practices and pricing. We know that a purchase of a Swahlee dress is intentional. We want you to know the quality of the garment you are purchasing and the impact of your purchase on the lives of its makers.
materials - 22%
We are intentional about sourcing our materials from like-minded companies that care for their employees and their community.
We source the beautiful custom, 100% cotton, handloom fabrics for our first dress collection from Freeset in West Bengal, India. Freeset is Fair Trade Guaranteed by the WFTO. Freeset has strategically placed their facilities in communities written off by society because they believe these communities deserve to live a life of freedom.
labor - 16%
All of our cutting, pressing, stitching, and packing is done in house at our studio workshop in Assam, India. We provide fair, dignified, and safe work to women facing barriers to employment. Our working hours are adjusted so our team members are able to attend evening classes to further their education. We provide opportunities for advancement for those who exhibit responsibility and interest in new skills.
overhead - 22%
Our overhead costs include our clean and well-lit workshop, administration, maintenance of our top-quality industrial machines, our website, transaction fees, and marketing.
shipping - 13%
Shipping is on us. It’s included in our pricing so there are no surprises at check out. Your dress begins its journey to you when picked up directly from our workshop by bicycle or moped.
margin - 27%
Our profits come directly back into the company to fuel growth and expansion. Our goal to create more jobs in more communities. Our hope is to prevent exploitation, end generational poverty, and play our part in contributing to thriving lives and communities.
true cost - 100%
This is the true cost of a Swahlee dress. These percentages aren't magic, but they are where we have landed after ensuring our staff are paid living wages and our fabric is sourced ethically. We are thankful for each and every purchase from our customers. We greatly value the trust you place in us to follow ethical business practices and deliver an excellent quality product.
Illustrations by Stephanie Nicholson