HOW OUR LATEST 3 PIECE COLAB CAME TO LIFE.
KATHARINA LOU is a Melbourne based made-to-order label with a mission to create sustainably and ethically produced pieces. Katharina Lou is for for women who want to stand out, make a statement and care about their impact on the planet.
With Katharina having just moved to Melbourne we linked up through mutual friends. From here it felt like a natural step to work on this collaboration together. We instantly connected over our brand alignment, values and our aesthetic connection too.
Through this range we wanted to offer a dress for our more feminine customer and balance it out with a top and pants for humans who feel more comfortable wearing these. Every piece from our three piece collaboration is made from 100% deadstock fabric and made in limited quantities.
To balance out our sizing limitations due to small production quantities we decided to apply the rouching detail to both the dress and the tee. This addition give it the most sizing flexibility possible for people of different proportions. We felt this was a good compromise when faced with the realities of being a small business.
We've been working on perfecting this offering since March 2021 having tested and tried many iterations to bring you the collection we have today. We are so proud of what we created together and as always, are grateful to our customers who chimed in along the process.
INTRODUCING THE JELLYBEAN ORANGE ROUCHED COTTON DRESS.
Our Jellybean Orange Rouched Cotton dress is made in China by our maker Daisy.
Meg has worked with Daisy for over four years now and has visited the factory on multiple occasions to ensure we are supporting another badass woman in business, running her own ethical manufacturing business.
We believe transparency is key and want to demystify the hidden side of fashion. With this in mind we have broken down the price of each of our garments to show you the true cost of manufacturing each garment.
If we calculate our profit per piece ($129.25) against our subtotal cost to make and sell ($154.32) we are still out of pocket by $25.07 a piece. As we have done this collaboration together, therefore this profit needs to be halved.
If we were to calculate our retail price based on the industry standard which is a mark up of 150% , the dress would have to retail at $747.50 AUD.
This is shocking (for us too) to see the true costs behind making each individual dress, particularly when manufacturing in China is so highly stigmatised. As you can see we don’t even cover our costs, manufacturing in China is also very expensive, particularly when you’re a smaller brand like us.
Inflation of costs of goods and services is happening on a global scale while the average Australian salary does not seem to be inflating at the same rate, creating an imbalance in the expected retail price versus cost of goods.
Businesses are running at a loss and humans are torturing themselves with too much work in order to afford anything.
We’re posting this and the cost of the pants made in Australia so that you can see the difference in profits manufacturing in China compared to here in Australia.
This has been a super informative experience for us as we were working really hard to move our manufacturing here to Australia. This journey has allowed us to realise that it is finically impossible to run a small scale clothing business coupled with the retail price we like to offer whilst making the product in Australia. This is something we will put on the back burner for now until we grow a little larger. Instead, we will focus our time and efforts on maintaining and enriching our relationship with our existing suppliers, Daisy and Wallace in China to ensure the highest ethics and social standards are adhered to.
INTRODUCING OUR SHERBET ORANGE ROUCHED COTTON TEE.
As above our Sherbet Rouched Cotton Tee is made in China by Daisy.
See breakdown of costs below to manufacture this garment.
If we calculate our profit per piece ($48.05) against our subtotal cost to make and sell ($146.32) we are still out of pocket by $98.27 a piece. As we mentioned, having done this collaboration together profits need to be halved.
If we were to calculate our retail price based on the industry standard (a mark up of 150%), the top would have to retail at $522.50 AUD.
Echoing the above we will continue to manufacture in China with Daisy.
INTRODUCING OUR SOY STRIPE CROP FLARE.
Our Soy Stripe Crop Flares are made in Tamworth, NSW by our Founder, Meg’s Mum, Angela (angel).
See breakdown of costs below to manufacture this garment.
This is one of our first experiments with outsourcing an item to be made here in Australia.
This is shocking (for us too) to breakdown the true costs behind making each individual pair of pants, leaving us with a sad profit to reinvest in future collections of $5.75 AUD per piece. We have done this collaboration together, therefore this profit needs to be halved.
Just to make this style alone, we have had to fork out $11,195 AUD before we get any kind of return on sales.
While the risk is halved doing this together, it’s still a lot of our own personal money to invest in hopes that you love the style and back it as much as we do.
If we don’t sell our 50 piece projection, that profit will head into the minus and we are then faced with having to reinvest even more of our personal money for seasons to come. Sometimes it feels easier to walk away than to continually take these risks in such a backwards industry even when they’re halved.
If we were to calculate our retail price based on the industry standard, the pants would have to retail at $507.375 AUD.
We’ve posted above the cost for the other two pieces made by Daisy in China so that you can see the difference in profits manufacturing offshore compared to here in Australia.
CARE AND AFTERLIFE
We’d like to take a moment to gently remind you that being a responsible brand doesn't end with us, it continues with you.
The way that you wash and care for your garments can increase the life span dramatically and therefore mitigate the need to buy more.
As shown on our care labels, we suggest the following care to be taken;
- Gentle machine wash below 20° celsius
- Do Not Bleach
- Do Not Tumble Dry
- Low Heat Iron
As always, we strongly suggest to use natural detergents to wash your pieces.
This means you can collect and use the grey water that comes out of your machine and is usually washed down the drain to water your plants!
Natural detergents are usually free of harsh chemicals and can help reduce the wear and tear on fibres, reduce colour fading, and keep clothes looking newer for longer.
See below the images of sampling work and sometimes a little bit of fun.