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The True Cost Of Producing Responsible Handmade Furniture
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The True Cost Of Producing Responsible Handmade Furniture

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You may have seen our post on social media highlighting us not taking part in Black Friday. As a small business it can be a challenge to compete on price with some of the larger outlets, so we thought we'd pop together a post full of transparency, facts and a true reflection of costs for a independent business trying to navigate in a responsible way. Please feel free to drop in the comments with any questions!

SUSTAINABILITY.. That's right that word we are hearing more and more from various, brands, businesses and even governments. It's fantastic that the word is becoming more prominent and that brands seem to be moving in the right direction, BUT what does it actually mean? What impact is it actually having or is it just another marketing buzz word thrown around to draw us into the hype?

Have you ever wondered how the prices of that dream dining table you’re looking for vary? Are we paying too little by shopping at brands like Wayfair or MADE? Or paying too much for products that sell you a lifestyle over quality?

This side of the furniture industry is mainly kept in the dark. Transparency is important at TIMBER FOUNDRY so we want to share our pricing with you. The below example gives a true reflection of what real responsibility costs, whilst highlighting exactly where your money is going. 

Sustainable Handmade Furniture Derbyshire

Prices Over the Years

Some of you may remember the days when a table was handmade by a professional in a local workshop using traditional tools! Back then people paid for craftsmanship in the knowledge that it would last for generations. What would appear ‘the same’ table now can cost as little as £200 for example.

How Did This Happen?

Many companies moved their production to cheaper locations across the far east, beginning a 'race to the bottom'. Manufacturing costs were reduced massively at the detriment of workers, materials, quality and ultimately the planet.

How We Work

Here at Timber Foundry we only work with local Timber Merchants that are accredited with the FSC and PEFC. This is the gold standard for forests that are managed in a more sustainable way, involving initiatives such as replanting more tree's than are milled. Our steel is also local and forged in the UK unlike many companies that source from abroad. More consumers are recognising exploitation amongst foreign workers and the overall footprint that can come from buying mass produced untraceable furniture. In turn sustainable brands have been popping up. Timber Foundry is one of those brands and we want to be at the forefront of true responsible UK made long lasting products.

So how much should a Table actually cost?

Let us give you some insight into that answer, at least from our perspective here at Timber Foundry.

Handmade furniture in Derbyshire

 

The Cost of producing a Timber Foundry Industrial Dining Table

The price of a table reflects the cost of the material, manufacturing, the cost to run the company that sells it and the companies business model. Finally we need to add the cost of getting that product to you.

The actual cost of those elements varies dramatically depending on the quantity ordered, the materials used and the location we deliver too.

Our Pine is roughly 300% more expensive than conventional ‘scaffold board pine’ and steel 200% more than the far east alternative.

Bulk buying will result in a lower price (for example, if Timber Foundry were to buy material X and Oak Furniture Land were to buy the same material, you can imagine Oak Furniture Lands price will be significantly cheaper).

Staining with water based eco-friendly stains and varnishes is also more expensive than certain waxes or stains with high VOC’s.

As we make EVERYTHING in house Paying wages in the UK is obviously a lot more expensive than paying the same wage in other parts of the world.

The Cost of Running the Brand

This can change dramatically between different brands according to their size and their business model (are they a wholesale brand i.e selling to other shops) or are they selling direct to you, the customer?

For us, we need to take into account the time it took us to design and develop the table, the marketing around it (photoshoot, marketing, advertising etc) and last but not least, everybody's best lifelong friend, the taxman.

The Cost of Getting the Table to You

We’re not just talking about shipping. Consider the packaging, the space required for storage, insurance etc. This is an often overlooked area of cost, but can be a very large chunk of expense.

Hopefully, now you have an idea of what the various cost elements are, but let’s dig even deeper and see an example below:

Price Breakdown for the Industrial Dining Table

Responsibly handmade furniture

The retail price is £650 (20%) of the sale is tax, that’s £108.33.

It cost us £192 (29.5%) in labour and £189 (29%) in materials. Then we need to ship it to you (we absorb the delivery so we can provide for free). This can vary massively dependent on location so we’ve included it at a modest £50 (8%) which is absolute best case. Finally we have the operating costs of the marketing, building, photography, website etc which is £63 or 10%.

This all leaves us a modest 7% profit which we reinvest in the business. A whopping £45 which then Mr taxman takes another 12% of taking to £40.50 left to reinvest.

Our goal is to redefine the furniture market through quality, sustainably produced furniture and homeware. We aim to lead with responsibility and put back more than we take. That’s why we also plant a tree for every single item sold, even if it contains zero wood!

We hope this gives you some insight into our world! You can follow our journey here and we look forward to bringing you further updates and insights as we move forward responsibly. We'd love to hear from you so please pop any questions or comments below and we'll be happy to answer. TIMBER FOUNDRY