WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE, AND WHY
As a longtime certified living wage employer, Diamond Brand Gear is committed to maintaining ethical, equitable employment practices. At the same time, we’ve been navigating the same supply chain obstacles — and expenses — that so many small businesses have been up against during the pandemic.
As a company, we believe in transparency. That’s why we wanted to share that, on April 2nd, the prices of our tents and gear, crafted here in the Blue Ridge foothills, will increase by an average of 19%. It’s our hope to share this with enough time for folks to take advantage of pre-increase prices, as all orders made before April 2nd will be honored at their existing prices. (Meaning, if you’ve been eyeing one of our legendary canvas wall tents, now’s a great time to snap one up!) And, in the interest of transparency, we also wanted to spend a little time unpacking why our prices are going up in the first place.
Sustainably made, sustainably paid.
Sustainability is about more than just the materials you use. It’s also about how you treat your people. We pay all our craftspeople a certified living wage for Henderson County, North Carolina. But we try not to rest on our laurels either. Between 2019 and 2021, our craftspeople’s wages went up an average of 16%, and we’re forecasting another 8% wage increase in 2022.
Beyond fair pay practices, protecting the health and well-being of our team members during a pandemic requires mindful action, too. In 2021, we reduced our employees’ health insurance contributions by 10%, absorbing more of the cost ourselves. We want good-quality healthcare to be accessible to more of our employees, especially in light of the past two years’ events.
And, on the subject of team member well-being, we’ve been very fortunate to avoid a COVID outbreak in our manufacturing facility since the pandemic started. Some of that, we think, is due to our policies that enable workers to take immediate precautions and seek testing after a COVID exposure or if they’re showing symptoms, without a risk of losing out on compensation. We’ve continued to pay our employees who are out for COVID-related reasons, helping us protect the health of all our workers. It may drive our overall labor costs up a bit, but we think that’s a small price to pay for employee safety during a pandemic.
Navigating supply chain costs in a post-COVID world.
At the same time as we’ve been striving to do right by our workers, supply chain challenges have driven our overall costs of business up. Lead times for the raw materials we use have increased, on average, three to five times, with some items not available until 2023. Meanwhile, we’re often in the position of learning that shipments to our factory were delayed on the day they were expected to arrive. That forces us to shift our production from one item to another much more frequently, increasinging our production costs.
Driving up costs even further are the price increases we’ve been seeing on raw materials. The price of the premium, heavy-duty canvas we use for our wall tents has increased by 32%, and cotton has gone up by 64%. Meanwhile, metal prices have risen significantly, too — steel is up by 23% and aluminum, when we can get it, has gone up by 56%. Overall, we’ve seen the prices for most of our raw materials increase between 15 and 30%.
Continuing to offer you premium, USA-made tents and gear.
In 2021, knowing that our customers were experiencing sticker shock across so many areas of their lives, we did our best not to increase prices. Now, given the ongoing state of the supply chain world and the role that inflation is playing, it’s time we adapted our pricing model so that we can continue to offer beautifully designed, Blue Ridge foothills-made tents and gear at the best possible quality.
With lifetime warranties and product repair assistance — not to mention the money that durable, sustainably made tents and gear can save you over their lifetimes — we want to do our best to continue respecting our customers’ wallets while meeting the needs and expenses of this new supply chain world. (And, on the budgeting front, hopefully the fact that we now offer financing options with Affirm — allowing for payments to be paced out over three, six or 12 months, or for four interest-free payments to be made every two weeks — helps, too!)
To get Diamond Brand-crafted tents and gear before our new prices go into effect, be sure to put in your orders before April 2nd. Those interested in placing bulk orders, too, can block their pricing by expressing interest by April 2nd or sooner. Questions about bulk orders or about the price change in general? Shoot us an email or give us a ring. And thank you for continuing to support an est. 1881 craft tentmaker like us.