At a recent exhibit, a customer was unhappy about the price of one of our garments. As she knew how to stitch, she taunted, "After all, how much time does it take to make a simple garment like this"? & even before I could explain, she moved on to the next stall dismissively.
I am not justifying our MRP, as I know expensive is a very relative word, and hence, let's stick to the "time consumed" factor today.
I think it's only fair to acknowledge everyone behind our ambara charaka handspun & handwoven cotton garment & not just a tailor & his time. The approximated numbers below are not a part of any PhD papers but my experience working in this sector for a few years now.
The time consumed to grow cotton from sowing to harvest is roughly 240 days.
The harvested cotton is then transported, auctioned, & sent for ginning, which would take 20 days.
The ginned cotton gets slivered & the roving cotton gets sent to the Co-ops, which would take 15 more days.
This roving cotton is ambara charaka spun into the desired quality of yarn, which takes 10 days.
The spun yarn gets dyed, dried, & starched. Add another 10 days.
This starched yarn is wound on the required reel, & this takes another 8 days.
The reeled yarn is wound on the warping drum, & the weft reels get ready. Add 12 more days.
100 meters of handwoven fabric could take 20 days to weave.
The finished fabric that comes to Bengaluru gets washed in 5 days.
This washed fabric is checked, tagged and ready for consumption, & this process takes 3 more days.
The ready textile is cut, tailored, finished, & ironed into a garment in 2 days.
The finished garment is photographed, price tagged & listed on our website in 5 days.
By now, we know this garment is 350 days in the making. I have skipped a few steps, stayed away from being too technical & have not included Sundays, festivals, weddings, funerals, falling sick, etc.
What is important is not the garment cost but at what cost the garment is made.
In this case, it has taken us nearly a year & more than a dozen families to bring an ambara charaka handspun & handwoven cotton garment to you.
So after all, how much should it cost!?