We recently discovered that we were not getting notified of comments on ads that we run on Facebook. Turns out, there are many people who have a very visceral reaction to the idea of a $37 t-shirt. We did our best to respond to each individual comment, but even those long-winded responses deserve a bit more clarification. What makes the issue a bit more complicated for us is that we completely understand the initial response and would share the same skepticism if roles were reversed. While our focus on quality is front-and-center of every decision we have made in creating ‘IF... THEN WELL’, few companies would claim otherwise of themselves. In fact, the great irony in reading these comments is that in many ways our disappointment with the price/quality correlation of similarly (and usually higher) priced t-shirt brands is what inspired us to make our own. In many ways it would be easier for us to respond to such comments if we didn’t so clearly understand the point of view…
The fact is $37 is a lot for a simple t-shirt. You can probably go into any H&M or Zara in the country and find a T for $5 in the clearance rack. Putting any arguments around the environmental and societal implications aside, you cannot deny the incredible value proposition this presents. On the opposite side of the spectrum, when looking at “high-end” brands, it is hard to ignore an emphasis on exclusivity as opposed to quality. From a marketing perspective, exclusivity is easy to illustrate and feeds the trend-chasing that many high-end brands across the globe rely on (‘fast-fashion’ in its original form). With that background, how could anyone not be skeptical of a higher priced t-shirt?!
The truth is that our t-shirts really don’t fit into either price-category described above. In a sense, we have gambled on sitting in the middle of these extremes – betting on superior quality without consideration for building hype or an image of label-inferred superiority. In other words, luxury without pretentiousness. Our t-shirts are not cheap to buy because they are not cheap to make as quality does come with a cost. They are however not more expensive because we strive to operate as lean as possible in order to provide pricing that encourages buying more than one at a time. It’s really that simple. We insist on using 100% Pima cotton because we believe it to be the most comfortable and versatile fabric out there (turns out it’s more sustainable too!). Pima cotton has to be hand-picked, whereas most cotton is harvested by machine. This is due to the fact that it consists of longer fibers which are responsible for the softness and longevity of the fabric. Machines tear at these fibers and degrade those features. Hand-picking cotton is extremely labor intensive and as a result much more expensive. We chose to manufacture in Peru because of the country’s unrivaled expertise working with Pima cotton. This is a result of ideal weather conditions and centuries of experience as evidenced by the earliest traces in the world of working with these premium fibers. On average, producing a garment in Peru is 4-5 times more expensive than in countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam, where you will often find cheaper t-shirts made. Our pricing reflects these choices, but we work very hard to ensure that we keep our remaining overhead costs down.
We decided to be guided by one driving mission: to create what we believe to be the best possible men’s t-shirt in the world. Our hope was that there were enough other guys out there who were also dissatisfied with t-shirts available in the market and loved the idea of finding the ideal t-shirt that they can wear every day, and to almost any occasion. We completely understand that for some, spending $37 on a t-shirt is never going to make sense. What something is worth is inherently subjective, so who are we to argue otherwise? We personally love the idea of wearing something every day that we sincerely believe to be ‘the best’. Knowing the costs that go into setting that standard, we are proud to offer it for $37. Beyond delivering a product that we are personally proud of, we also built our company around really strongly held convictions which include transparent and fair pricing. We don’t run sales because we want every customer to feel confident that they are receiving our best price. Instead of promotional sales - where per-unit profitability is compromised in hopes of higher volume - we just offer permanent volume discounts. We also offer free returns, and this applies even if the t-shirts are worn or washed. We do all this because it reflects how we would want to be treated. It’s really that simple. So, while we do not try to claim to be for everybody, we do hope that anyone that comes across our brand can at minimum recognize the sincerity behind our efforts. What something is worth is subjective… What it costs is not.