Last April, the New York Times ran an interesting article about the costs of producing high end apparel called "Why does this pair of pants cost $550?". While the article doesn't exactly have to do with outdoor clothing, it does outline some of the costs associated with producing apparel domestically. At NW Alpine we are trying to bring to the market apparel made with high quality labor and high quality materials, that is still affordable to your average dirtbag climber. Unfortunately, we don't have the advantages of economies of scale that larger companies do. Smaller production runs mean our labor and materials costs are significantly higher than that of other apparel companies.
There are, however, advantages including: flexibility in what we produce, meaning that we can easily and quickly respond to the demands of our customers, the ability to easily experiment with design and materials, and by selling directly via the web the ability to keep costs low. If NW Alpine clothing was carried at retail outlets, one could expect to pay two to two and a half times our price.
As we move forward, your input is highly valued. Please let us know what you think, your suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated.