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Thread: Price Increase Question

  1. #1
    Registered User thephotomatt's Avatar
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    Price Increase Question

    5 years ago, a TB Tri-Star cost $200.00:
    2009 Tri-Star Page

    Nowadays, that same bag costs $315.00:
    2014/Present Tri-Star Page

    First off, let me be clear about what this is not -- and that is a bashing session. I have multiple TB bags myself and very much appreciate the quality craftsmanship (so please don't get too defensive).

    What this is, is my curiosity and perhaps needing to understand economics a little better. How does an item see a 60% price increase in the span of just 5 years? Is it demand, that us TB fans are willing to shell out the money for quality products? Or maybe it's manufacturing/production costs? Or might it be the cost of raw materials have increased?

    My guess is it's a little of all of those factors contributing...

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Feb 2006
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    All of the above have risen.

    In truth it is only $150 more, so divided by 5 = $30 per year. A year is 365 days so 30 divided by 365= 0.082191781.

    315 divided by 365 = 0.863013699

    One would need to save 86 cents a day for a year to afford the Tri-Star.

    The Tri-Star seems to be one of the most labor intensive TB Bags, you know all those fun pockets!

    And, at TB, labor isn't "cheap" because the Crew has many many many years of sewing experience, which is reflected in perfectly sown bags, inside and out.

  3. #3
    Registered User PaulT00's Avatar
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    It's difficult to be absolute about it without knowing precise materials cost data, target profit margins and labour charges, plus any applicable duties and taxes involved.

    A quick calculation based on inflation at (say) 5% over that period would inflate the $200 to $255 anyway, which means that one could argue the 'in real terms' increase as being 'only' 23% using those numbers. But that's based on retail price inflation at a back-of-an-envelope rate, and has little to do with the true costs increases likely faced by the TB team. There are all sorts of variables in there - what's the duty rate on importing custom dyed dyneema/nylon ripstop from Japan, for instance, and has that material experienced a larger rate of price inflation or a sudden cost increase per unit? And a posse of experienced, skilled seamstresses based in the Seattle area don't come cheap, I'll bet.

    Ultimately, TB is a small(ish) niche manufacturing business which doesn't rely on cheap labour in China to make their (extremely high quality) goods, but provides steady jobs to domestic citizens of its home country. That's rare enough these days, and means that the company has costs others don't (you don't think it really costs $2000 dollars to manufacture that Louis Vuitton handbag, do you?). They have a global reputation, a business model which means they're not paying intermediaries but dealing direct with the consumer (thus reducing costs on one side) and what appears to be a very canny marketing strategy has allowed the company to grow fast enough over the last few years to start a spin-off (Skookum Dog), launch a bunch of acclaimed new products (5 this year alone) and encounter growing pains (all those backordered bags). All of that needs investment. I have no idea what the profit margin is on a Tri-Star but I'd be willing to bet that nobody is getting filthy rich as a result!
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  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Darcy wrote a wonderful post about the factors contributing to the price increases. That said, I'm new to TB and I'm astounded by the build quality of their products, especially when I compare it my Tumi bags.

    As a comparison, I recently received the Everett Essential Tote as a gift. It is truly a gorgeous tote and retails for $365. Now, it does have leather accents in the grab handles, strap, ID tag, and luggage tag (love those tags). I really love this tote. There are lots of pockets for organization and it can fit a ton in its 16x10x6.5 frame. It really is one of the best bags I own.

    I received the A30 last week (I wanted a bag to carry on my back and slightly bigger than the tote, which is considered a personal item). Wow! I am knocked over by the workmanship and quality of the materials of a bag that was a fraction if the price of the Tumi. This, with a better warranty, made on site, superb customer service, etc. I can definitely see the "cost" of a TB bag, especially in comparison to my overpriced Tumi.


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  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    As an aside, I have never seen the TS listed for $200. I have only seen it listed for $240 when it was introduced:

    Tom Bihn now accepting orders for the new Tristar

    So, I might question the accuracy of the $200 pricing on your first weblink. Perhaps the link is to an old beta site or test site?


    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 08-05-2014 at 09:03 AM.
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