Intro: Everyone has wondered at some point, “What makes made in USA so pricey?” It’s an understandable reason, once you see why. Unfortunately, it’s primarily because it’s produced in a more responsible way than other countries. Listed below are the main factors that raise the total “Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price,” otherwise known as MSRP on labels.
1. Fair Wages to Employees: In countries like Germany and the United States, workers make an average of $23.32 to $25.80 per hour. Whereas in other areas such as China or India, their workers earn anywhere from $0.31 to $1.35 hourly. They have longer work days than their counterparts, working an extra four hours on average and having no benefits. They are also harshly mistreated, and are smacked around and called demeaning names.
2. Taxes: For every employee a company hires and pays, that’s money the employer has to pay to the IRS every quarter. Not only that, but if a company owns a building, those are more taxes that have to be paid various times a year. Additionally, a manufacturer must also report how much they make in sales. When I first started filing all the business’ taxes, it was soo overwhelming. We decided to hire a CPA and they’re helping us with bookkeeping and taxes. So there’s a lot I’m still learning along the way.
“A woman cries after looking into a coffin, containing a relative who died in [the] factory’s collapse in Dhaka on May 9, 2013.”
3. Provide Safe Work Environments: One of the worst tragedies in fashion history was the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh on April 23, 2014. At least 1,135 people died and an estimated of 1,000 to 2,500 workers were injured in the eight-story building. This was a wake-up call for our industry and showed the entire world how negligent the factories have been. In China, factory workers “are more than three times more likely to get killed at work than their American counterparts, and the government’s health insurance programs do not cover basic care.” (Kavoussi)
Work conditions for some manufacturers are an after-thought and instead focus on the pressures of brands constantly requesting cheaper prices. In the United States, there are many regulations and laws to protect workers. Additionally, Human Resources and unions play a large role in ensuring these fair and healthy conditions are met for employees. If they’re not, employers can be heavily fined, face lawsuits, et cetera.
Closure: Maintaining a safe work environment may seem like a no-brainer to us, but when a manufacturer is faced with the fast fashion model, one can start to understand why they are the way they are. Not only do they overlook their environments, but they also physically and verbally mistreat their workers when they don’t produce x-amount of items in an hour. We’re all working hard on providing an improved fashion industry, but at the end of the day, it’s the consumer who has the biggest impact as we supply what you demand.