Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the cost of the cozy/cuff

When I showed the cozy/cuff at the New York Gift Fair in August, I got a lot of feedback on the price - namely, most people thought they were too expensive. While I've been fluctuating the price a little bit, its been within a range that covers my expenses plus allows me a little profit. But most of the cost is wrapped up in material and making costs. Why? Because they are made in small batches in the US, rather than by the truckload in China.

I was talking to a friend the other morning, and explaining that, as the daughter of a US-based manufacturer, I could never outsource overseas. Its just not something I'm interested in. Its important to me to keep production as local as possible. She then asked me, would I be willing to mass-produce the cozy/cuff overseas if it meant that then everyone in the US used one? What's more important - the type of production I value, or getting more people to stop using a wasteful product?

I was also thinking about reactions to the cozy/cuff at Crafty Bastards. I occasionally get comments from people to the effect of, "I'd probably forget and throw it away by mistake." And today while watching Big Ideas for a Small Planet, it hit me. People don't think about what they are throwing away. If we paused before tossing things in the trash, you wouldn't have to worry about accidentally throwing your reusable coffee sleeve away.

So, if I sent the cozy/cuff overseas to be manufactured just so that they would cost $5, it would be defeating the whole purpose. What's the point of replacing a disposable object with a practically disposable object? If the cozy/cuff has a higher perceived value, hopefully you will think before throwing your coffee cup away. And maybe you'll start to think before you throw other things away as well.


Laura Crawford said...

Excellent post (and point) - and I think it's great that you've put so much thought into your manufacturing decision. I hope it has the intended effect! Just taking the time to make sense (to yourself) of the pricing and manufacturing will probably help you market the cozy/cuff also.

Skylark Studio said...

very interesting ... but what about the fact that the cozy cuff is made for a disposable cup? Shouldn't we all be using our own washable travel mugs anyway?

p.s. but I do love the cozy cuffs though! maybe you can create some kind of permanent/removable mug & cuff?!

megan said...

Laura - thanks for your comment. it amazes me that you still find time to read blogs while you're off on your amazing adventure!

Karen - i completely agree with you - the best solution is for everyone to carry their own reusable cup. However, I also realize that it can be cumbersome to carry a reusable cup with you, and ideally you'll wear the cozy/cuff so its always with you. I know its not a perfect solution, but it does keep something out of the waste stream.

And yes, someday it would love to design a reusable cup/mug that works with the cozy/cuff - i'm just not there yet!

lesley [smidgebox] said...

great post, it is very true, perceived value plays such a huge part in how people care for their things. i think it's wonderful that you are sticking to your convictions as far as production, too. not to mention, your cuff/cozies are works of art :) thanks for shedding some light on the subject, prices are always tough to decide on, and then to have to justify them on top of it. good for you!

Traci said...

megan, we can totally relate! we get the same type of comments and end up having to justify our prices as also u.s. made products and made with materials produced where people are paid higher wages and there are better environmental standards.

to me its about being more selective and more thoughtful about what we buy. i own a cozy cuff and think its worth every penny!

A Forgotten Art said...

Very well said :)

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