Sometimes people ask me “Why are your clothes more expensive than those of other activewear brands?”, or even “Why are your clothes so expensive?”. It’s questions like these that made me aware that there is a big lack of knowledge and transparency around pricing in the fashion industry - and that the fashion industry has programmed most of us to believe that clothing must have a low price.
Let’s be honest, many of us are used to seeing T-shirts for 10 or 20 EUR, and we often fall for another Tshirt when it comes with a good discount! We think we made a bargain and feel good about the savings - at least for a short while, until the T-shirt shows its first signs of poor fit or discomfort, or its color and design is simply no longer in trend.
Who we are up against & how (ultra-) fast fashion is setting the bar low
Clothes were not always that cheap and of poor quality. They used to be more pricey, but at the same time made of high quality materials, with great design and fit, and made to last for a really long time - and they were made locally and not in far away countries. As the saying goes “poor people can't afford to buy cheap”. I remember my grandma was always the most neatly dressed woman, wearing her beautiful and well-maintained clothes for decades.
It was with the Industrial Revolution and the discovery of synthetic materials like polyester as well as the outsourcing of production to much cheaper countries with low or no worker’s and environmental rights, that made it possible to produce clothes for a fraction of the price. Nowadays, fast fashion brands produce about 52 “micro-seasons” a year—or one new “collection” a week
Brands like H&M and Zara are the hallmarks of fast fashion and some of the older ones, copying styles from the catwalk and making them cheaply available to the masses. And with the rise of e-commerce more and more fashion brands appear all the time, making fashionable and cheap clothes.
But fast fashion has not slowed down. Quite the opposite - we now have so-called “ultra fast fashion brands” like Shein that are accelerating the speed of releasing new products.
To “green” themselves, these companies offer “take-back” schemes of their products and promising recycling, while the reality is that only 0.1% of all clothing collected by take-back programs and charities is actually recycled into new textile fibre.
So how can they sell their clothes so cheaply and make a profit that they then can reinvest into aggressively marketing their products to consumers? The short answer is - using the cheapest, most (unsustainable) materials, producing cheaply in countries with low or no labor rights and in very unsafe working conditions, tempting consumers into buying large quantities to increase sales volume and making them feel they are more valued and “accepted” by wearing their clothes.
But it’s not only fast and ultra-fast fashion companies that need to do better, there are also brands that have an “in-between” model - those that are not as aggressive in terms of producing new products and which have slightly higher price points than fast fashion brands, but they are still producing under untransparent working conditions in countries with low or no labor rights and use unsustainable fabrics that are often filled with harmful substances and that pollute our oceans. And there are a lot of these brands out there.
How are we doing things differently at Tripulse?
Compared to the previously mentioned companies, we basically do everything radically different, from the very core.
1. We have a radically different business model
Whereas fast fashion brands’ primary goal is to produce as many new products and collections as quickly possible and go with the latest (apparent) trends, Tripulse and that of many other truly sustainable fashion brands is based on a model that puts quality and sustainability first and that includes creating timeless chic designs that still look good and classy in a few years from now.
Our model is about creating true value to the customer by creating a really good product that the customer will truly love and want to wear.
We also put the planet and people in the equation. Instead of chasing the cheapest location to produce our products, we are choosing the location based on skillset AND environmental and social standards. So that no one had to suffer because of our product, but rather the opposite. Fast fashion only looks for the cheapest location, disregarding any ethical or environmental standards.
Lastly, we don't overproduce and don't heavily discount or burn the clothes that have been produced too much - since we are creating timeless products and a more permanent product collection, we don't have to.
We’re also using a pre-order model for our new products to gauge the demand and to ensure we won’t produce too much.
Lastly, we don't burn clothes that have small blemishes like fast fashion brands do. Instead, those clothes that have small blemishes and are not “perfect” to sell for their full price, we offer at friendly prices in our ZeroWaste Shop.
2. We make less, but better products
For us it is not about launching many new products and collections a year, but to focus on creating a permanent activewear collection and clothing that will always be desired and needed, and improving these products with every generation.
Instead of producing totally new products all the time, we invest strongly into product development by gathering feedback from our customers and then implementing this into the next product version to make it even better.
This process can take months to a year to perfect it - for instance, to develop our very first collection it took 2.5 years and our sports bra took 1.5 years in total. That is a stark difference to the average six weeks it takes a fast fashion brand like Zara to develop a new product.
Fast fashion brands are dependent on selling big volumes to make sufficient money and profits - and that is by producing cheap and fast-to-make products that a lot of people will buy constantly. Keeping people “hungry” to buy new clothes all the time is their main goal.
3. We invest in innovation and high performance natural fabrics that can biodegrade & avoid microplastic pollution
Most brands use cheap petroleum-based fabrics like polyester particularly for their activewear range. Some brands also offer recycled versions of polyester or using natural fabrics for some of their activewear products. The problem is that they are made from crude oil, shed microplastic through the air and washing, and they do not biodegrade for centuries. And using better fabrics for only a few products of their entire product collection is far from being truly sustainable.
Our mission from day one was to get away from plastic and use the best of what “nature has to offer” instead. And we are almost fully there - only the elastane or Roica V550 used in our leggings is not yet 100% natural - but also for the stretch we are seeking the most sustainable and functional option and keep on improving.
We are using some of the most innovative and advanced natural performance fabrics that exist, TENCEL™ lyocell, for ALL of our products. And this comes with a cost for us. One meter of TENCEL™ lyocell fabric can cost us up to 27 EUR per meter, whereas 1 meter of (recycled) polyester fabric often costs one fifth or less than that. We are basically having around 500% higher fabric costs.
And we don't stop there. We are constantly innovating together with our partners and are setting the bar higher and higher by improving the performance of our fabrics with every generation - all to ensure we make high performing, functional activewear free from plastic and powered by nature.
Trust me, this is the “road less travelled” and not easy as innovation always means “being first” and “lots of trial and error until reaching perfection”, testing and improving, but it is the one we chose as we want to shift the industry to a better one and don't accept the status quo.
4. We put planet, people and health in the center
Our mission is to make quality activewear that is not only super comfortable, functional and timeless but that is also kind to our health, our planet and the people making them. This means that ALL our products are free from toxic substances, we choose the most sustainable fabrics and trims and we have our supply chain in Europe and produce in a factory in Portugal that puts high standards for the environment and people and is GOTS-certified. Maintaining high standards and ensuring certified quality costs money, but it's a must if you want to make a responsible product.
In contrast, and not as a surprise, many fashion brands basically do the opposite. Their clothes are often full of nasty toxic chemicals, they are made from unsustainable petroleum-based fabrics like polyester, and made in countries that have low or no labor rights. Needless to say, these products harm our health, our planet, and the people making their clothes.
5. We team up with suppliers in the EU that have high social and environmental standards
I’ve mentioned this in the previous section, but just to highlight this once again. We make an investment and pay extra to ensure that the people who are involved in our entire supply chain, are treated fairly and according to the ILO standards. All our fabrics are made in the EU and our products are also produced in the EU - the region of the world that has the strictest standards for workers’ wellbeing.
We are aware that even “black sheep” are present in the EU, and that is why we partner with factories that have certifications like GOTS and we visit them regularly. Our fabric suppliers and production factory workers all work in fair and safe working conditions and get above living wages, there is no child labor. Read more about our working standards HERE.
6. We take climate action seriously & go beyond compensating our CO2 emissions to zero
We are aware that by making and selling physical products, energy is being used. So we make all efforts we can to achieve low CO2 emissions from the get-go by choosing fabrics that require less energy to make, and to choose partners that at least partially use renewable energy.
Since our ambition is to “give more than we take”, we compensate the remaining CO2 emissions through the respected and strongly vetted NGO “The Change Climate Project” by investing in nature-based climate solution and overcompensate by planting one tree for every product sold and every product review given with NGO Onetreeplanted. With that extra investment, we are giving more than we take and overcompensating our CO2 emissions.
Also this extra-effort comes with a cost for us. We need to spend significant time preparing and going through the certification process and spend money to compensate for our remaining CO2 emissions.
Our price break-down and why we can’t (and don’t want to) discount
Now that you know how we are radically different from other (fast) fashion brands that are operating on a very different model than we are, I now want to share with you the costs that go into making our product.
1. Our costs directly associated with the product
These can vary by product but on average they amount to the following:
2. Our costs indirectly associated with the product and required for our product to come into existence
The remaining costs are costs that cannot 1-2-1 be attributed to one product, but occur because of the product’s existence and to keep the product and company (in with that our mission) "alive". These costs must be covered by our product margin. If they are not, our business is not financially sustainable and we won’t be able to make products or exist as a brand altogether.
These indirect costs include in order of size:
- Product development
- Raising awareness & marketing (incl e.g. product photography)
- Sales-related costs
- Team salaries
- Office rent
- Admin and tech
- Climate Neutral Certification including CO2 offsetting & investing in nature-based climate solutions
- And more
Whatever profits we make, we are reinvesting it mainly into product development and changing and changing the fashion industry.
Believe it or not, at the end of the day there is no money left for anything else than what is mentioned above. We don't pay outrageous wages - in fact, as a business owner, I only pay myself a miniscule salary.
Now, I hope you understand that there is no way we can offer discounts. We only do this in rare cases and after thorough evaluation. Discounting our products would not do justice to the real costs associated with our products and business and we would have to pivot to more of a fast fashion model - but also, this would mean we have to go out of business. And for us that is not an option - we want to keep on challenging the activewear industry and shift it to the better, and we don't want to let you, our dear customers down, who are so supportive and loving our products.
Tripulse clothing is an investment into yourself, the planet and people
While many fashion brands' products solely serve the purpose of a short-lived pleasure and to satisfy the need of feeling accepted but at the cost of one’s health, our planet and people, Tripulse products are an investment in many areas:
- Your happiness & satisfaction: They make you feel good and comfortable due to their superior features like high breathability, odor-resistance and user-centric functional and flattering design.
- Your health & wellbeing: They are free from toxic substances and hypoallergenic keeping your body healthy.
- Our planet: They are made in the most eco-friendly way possible thanks to our holistic approach to sustainability (link to it)
- Fellow humans: They are made by people who earn above living wage, ensuring that they can feed their families and can have a good life.
- Small & female-founded business: Owning Tripulse products means more than wearing a superior product. It also means that you are voting for a small business that is founded and run by a woman and this way support honest and authentic business practices that can inspire other women and small business owners to follow suit.
- A more wholesome and sustainable fashion industry: We fight every day for shifting the fashion industry to make it truly ethical and sustainable. We do this by creating not only amazing sustainable products but also by putting a lot of time and heart into educating and inspiring people around us to adopt more conscious and responsible shopping choices and working with partners who share our mission.
How you are actually SAVING money and time with Tripulse gear
And this is how you are actually saving MONEY with our clothes:
- Reducing your energy costs: All our clothes are naturally antibacterial and odor-resistant meaning you have to wash them much less than synthetic clothes and with that save huge amounts of water and energy - and ultimately money to run your washing machine.
- Reducing your money spent on buying less clothes overall: All our clothes have a timeless and versatile design meaning you can use them for all kinds of activities and for a long time reducing the need to own a lot of different activewear clothes. So you can own less high quality, but better items. This also translates into spending less money overall on clothing, and freeing up mental space for the things that really matter in in life.
- Reducing your travel costs by traveling lighter: When you go on a casual trip, you don't need to take lots of clothes with you. If it’s a casual trip, all you need to grab is a pair of our leggings, a T-shirt (and bra, shorts and tank top if you’d like), and you already have 70% of your clothes. You only need to complement it with shoes, a jacket and a sweater and there you have your outfit for the trip. Thanks to our clothes being versatile, light weight and not having to wash them often they are the perfect travel companion. You don't have to pay for check-in luggage, but can travel lightly with simply carry-on - saving money and time).
- By having a money-back-guarantee & great customer service: Should you ever be unhappy with our products, you can always reach out to us and we’ll find a solution for you that will make you happy. Our 180 days money-back-guarantee takes all the financial risk from you.
And this is how you are actually freeing up your TIME with Tripulse clothes:
- Spending less time in choosing your daily outfit thanks to our versatile & timeless product design: Our clothes give you more mental headspace since you can simply pick our gear from your wardrobe without having to think what to use it for and what (other) kind of clothes you may have to pick for your day. A study found that on average women spend 17 minutes a day choosing their outfit to meet their activities for the day. With Tripulse you can simply pick any item and it will work for a lot of occasions: They are designed so that you can work out in them, but even use them for work and leisure - to seamlessly accompany you throughout your day and keeping you fresh and comfortable. No need to change clothes throughout your day unless you really want or need to.
- Not having to wash our products (and waiting for them to dry) after every use: Since our clothes are naturally odor-resistant you simply quickly can air-dry it after use and then it’s ready to wear again - and again. We have some customers who are training in our shirts 10plus weeks in a row and 6 times per week - and their Tripulse shirts are still feeling fresh.
- Not wasting time having to purchase more clothes frequently: A study found that an average women spends three years of her entire lifespan shopping. Since we design quality and multifunctional activewear you don't have to occupy your mind constantly looking for more clothes. Instead, you can have peace of mind and use your precious time doing the things that truly matter to you.
Let’s talk numbers - comparing Tripulse with your regular activewear wardrobe
Now, to make it even more concrete on how you can save real money with Tripulse gear compared to owning fast fashion or gear made from synthetics, below you see how many of our customers are using Tripulse and what they used before when owning other (synthetic) activewear.
The main reasons for why they owned so much more activewear before using Tripulse was because of poor fit and design and having to purchase more because of their clothes not fitting any longer, their clothing losing shape very quickly or having to purchase different clothes for different activities due to lack of versatility in design. These and below insights are based on conversations with our customers.
These numbers show you how owning a few quality and versatile natural activewear pieces compared to many cheaply produced synthetic pieces free up valuable head-space, and ultimately save you tons of money.
The hidden costs in buying cheap & why believing “cheap saves money” is a fallacy
I get it. It’s easy to jump on the next discount or to buy a cotton T-shirt that costs 20 EUR, believing you truly saved money when you compare it to a similar looking T-shirt that costs thee times as much.
But here are the hidden and true costs in buying cheap clothes from fast-fashion brands:
- They have a much shorter product life span that makes us buy more and more often: Fast fashion brands often have poor quality and clothes deteriorate much faster than good quality clothing, requiring you to purchase many more clothes and spending much more money over time altogether. And if they don't deteriorate they go out of trend very quickly making you not want to wear the clothing piece any longer.
- Supporting unethical treatment of workers: Purchasing cheap products typically means supporting a company that exploits workers and where workers don't work in safe conditions, and can't feed their families.
- Allowing toxic chemicals lurking into our bodies and air: Buying cheap also often means buying products full of harsh and toxic chemicals -in the long run, your health has to pay the (much higher!) price for it.
- Making quality and small business brands go out of business: By not purchasing from brands that do hard and genuine work to create truly good and sustainable products and that work hard to shift the fashion industry for the better, they are no longer able to sustain themselves financially. If no one purchases their clothes, they don’t have money to create their wholesome products and need to close down. We are left with a world full of (ultra-) fast fashion brands ruining our planet, people and health.
Now that you learned all this and keeping all of the above in mind, don't you think the 60 EUR Tripulse t-shirt is a better deal in the big picture? It’s not just a t-shirt, it’s a vote for a better and more wholesome fashion industry - and all the hard work that goes into it. Every day.
My call to action - take control & vote with your wallet
Now that I’ve shared how we and other truly sustainable fashion brands are radically different from other fashion brands, giving you insights into our pricing breakdown and showing you how Tripulse is an investment and how you can actually save money and time with it, I have a big favor to ask you.
Next time you consider making a purchase from a fashion brand that offers cheap or highly discounted products, ask yourself :
- Is this likely to be a fast fashion company?
- What are the hidden costs when purchasing that product? Am I ok to pay for these?
- What does it actually mean when they discount their products?
- Is this a brand that shares my values and do they support a system that I want to see in the world?
- Have I understood that I’m making a vote and an active investment into that company when purchasing their products? Is that a company I want to support?
Do you want to see a world where brands flourish that bring billions of toxic and unsustainable products cheaply to the market giving short-term satisfaction, or a world where brands bring fewer, higher quality and sustainably-made products to the market which support us, our planet and our wellbeing in the long-term and give lasting joy? My wish is surely the latter one.
We all have the power to choose. The time for action is now. Let’s vote with our wallets for a better future.
To help you navigate through your shopping decisions, we even created a conscious shopping quiz HERE that helps you evaluate whether to buy or not to buy a particular product.
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