All of the remarks regarding quality like slim fit, 100% Cotton, side panels with stretch are not unique to American Giant. These have all become "standard fare" for most of the market who would buy a $75. Nor are they somehow unique insights to a former industrial designer.
Made in USA has become a trend (.. or maybe just a fad) in the apparel industry, for a variety of reason and direct to consumer is nothing groundbreaking.
I've heard of American Giant, and I'm sure there are some valuable lessons from them, but it baffles me how shameless the post is.
The article doesn't provide any information about American Giant's manufacturing or retail processes except that it's all done in the US.
Why is this hoodie so amazing? First, it’s made of heavyweight cotton. Most other sweatshirts on the market today are made of some kind of blend, usually cotton and polyester.
> * American Giant pays the factory about $25 to $30 each, and then it sells it to you for $60 and up. Compare this to a model under which you’d buy standard sweatshirt at the mall—say, this $58 Levi’s crewneck. The department store likely buys that shirt from Levi’s for about $30. Levi’s, in turn, pays the factory about $12 to $15 for it, and the factory likely makes it for $6. So you’re paying 10 times what the shirt costs to make, and Levi’s is earning $18 per garment. With American Giant, you’re paying five times what the shirt costs, and American Giant is earning $35. Since there’s no retail middleman, everyone does better under the American Giant model—the clothing company, the factory workers, and you.*
Seems like a lot of cost-savings are actually from throwing out the middleman.
Also, I doubt this is the best-sweatshirt known to man...There must be better ones out in mass circulation. $80 is not very much for a heavy-duty piece of clothing...In NY, high-end stores sell plain white crews for as much as $200 (though admittedly some of it has to do with superficial branding).
I'd expect an upscale mass-produced hoodie, in terms of durability, comfort, look, and neat features, would be at least $200, if made in America.
May I ask why? where's the cost coming from?
Assuming great quality US grown organic cotton; best quality YKK zips; US minimum wage workers; good quality control; distribution and taxes - I still can't get it to $200 without huge markups. (There's nothing wrong with huge markups. Added value is great if you can get it.)
However, the author gushes so much about the quality of these shirts that the article feels like advertising. Does anyone have any experience with the brand? Are their products as good as the author makes them sound?
American Giant might do fine, but high quality online-online direct-to-customer clothing stores is not groundbreaking.
What a great way to put people off. The "shop now" button just brings to login window again.
Off-putting to say the least. I don't expect high-quality brands to force a membership check before I even examine their products.
Put a 10 year replacement warranty on it and maybe.
Otherwise I am sticking to my $8 sweatshirt.
I tend to agree, but spend a few hours on Fifth Avenue in NYC, or even on sites like gilt.com and you'll see that there is a huge audience (including lots of men) who spend serious money on clothes.
I don't know a thing about the product, but the market is definitely there.
I thought the high cost of fuel was supposed to bring manufacturing back here because of shipping costs, but apparently all it's done is bring record profits for fuel companies to export fuel from america.
EDIT: Whoops, nevermind! Hadn't seen the news.
> But there is really no comparison between American Giant’s hoodie and the competition. It looks better and feels substantially more durable—Winthrop says it will last a lifetime.
But I don't know if that's a legally binding statement of any kind. (Though I imagine that if I bought one, and it fell apart, and I made a big-enough stink on a blog, they'd send me a new one just to shut me up.)
I'm up for a new hooded sweatshirt. I plan on giving myself one of these for xmas. My 40 dollar versions from Gap, etc, usually last two years, so if this lasts 4, I'm even, if more, I'll be more than happy and would not feel 'cheated' out of the 'lifetime' statement.
Here are some t-shirts at that price. (http://www.bbcicecream.eu//category/t-shirts)
I don't think there's anything other than the logo to make them that expensive. There's no fair trade or made-in or organic or anything else. Just a logo.
I am an advisor to a company that enables this very model, and it works very, very well. Essentially we provide the website, marketing, customer service, and logistics from manufacturer-to-customer.
It appears that is what American Giant has found as well. Good for them.
I don't have time to get into specifics, but there is a REASON why channel sales exist. There is a reason you may sometimes want to outsource this to people who specialize in marketing, customer service, or logistics.
As these companies you advise grow in size, you will see why. I'm not saying you don't provide value - I'm sure you do. I'm just tired of hearing this on HN - that a startup can do it all and all these other companies are fools that aren't in on the secret.
I think you read more into my comment that was really there. We certainly are not a fit for every manufacturer out there. But this much is true - Like it or not, the internet beat a path to the manufacturers' door. Many of them are still not prepared to handle that. It never fit their model. That is where we fit in.
If the customer is already st your door, then why not capture the sale? Why send them off to a re-seller? That is a bad consumer experience.
Direct might be good for repeat orders for stuff that tends to wear out like socks, but if their sweatshirt lasts forever ... :]
My current hoodie is the Katahdin Iron Works Heavyweight:
It retails for a similar price and was worth every penny. The AG hoodie is not designed for such cold temperatures, but I would probably be getting one if I lived in NYC (and may still get one anyway, as a liner or just for warmer temperatures).
who needs a sweatshirt to last a lifetime? when was the last time you wore a 10yr old piece of clothing outside of your own house?
you buy $79 hoodies/shirts for the brand and current trendy design, not to pass on to your children.
Some good quality wool sweaters (bretagne or faroe) can be expensive, long lasting, and without current trendy design.
Most modern clothing is not made to last. See also cstross's comment about clothing cost and quality here (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1622503)
I happily agree that 'added value' is mostly nonsense in the form of brand names or trendy design, and not in excellent quality materials and manufacturing.
Based on the article (which does seem biased), these sweatshirts are a throwback to the days when you would buy things and expect them to last. The fancy Kitchenaid standing blenders used to be durable as hell and just keep working. The newer ones are made a lot more cheaply, and while they last longer than some other kitchen appliances, they're a far cry from their original model... without any significant improvement in features.
Our manufacturing mindset was originally about durability and quality. Cheap labor and cheap materials led to a shift into replaceable, cheaper goods. But as materials/labor get more expensive, hopefully we'll see more of a shift to making quality, lasting goods again.
I hope I clarified my opinion a bit, I'm not against quality, I just doubt it will work in the long run for the reasons above.
Exceptions are for things like food and toilet paper.
Personally, I'd rather pay $80 for a hoodie that lasts 10 years than $8 for 1 hoodie a year. Less waste, less exploitative labor, shorter shipping distances (not riding a cargo ship from a Chinese/Taiwanese/etc factory), and a better looking and feeling garment.
And then I'll realize that it's because I'm not going to pay $80 for every piece of clothing I own.
Then again, even I don't really understand the quality difference of clothes made at discount places. How long will an Old Navy sweatshirt last? Or pants?
"He also used heavy-gauge thread for all the seams, creating connections that won’t fray."
First, who doesn't? Second, heavy-gauge threads are not more or less expensive than regular, this isn't thread count.
$80 for a zip up hoodie is prohibitive. Make it $30 and we're talking. That's still almost double what you'd pay in Walmart or Old Navy, but if it's good, I'll take it. $80? No way.
I enjoy wearing them for reasons that have nothing to with function. Does it keep me any warmer than one you get at Walmart? Of course not.
There are certainly people that will pay $80 to make a statement that they wear 'the best possible' clothing.
Everyone except the retail workers.
They add no value whatsoever.