Pop Quiz: what are the costs of a white tee shirt?

In the process of doing some research on Joseph Bozich (Knights Apparel), I stumbled across a mention of an entrepreneurship award he won in 2005. Buried within the text was this tidbit:

KA’s model allows it to understand and control the cost components. For example, a plain white T-shirt with no collar or buttons has more than 20 different cost components. A hooded sweatshirt might have more than 100. Understanding the components and costs and how they affect the end product gives KA a strong competitive advantage as its price to produce is significantly lower.

20 cost components for a white tee shirt? Really? At first I thought that claim sounded crazy but doing a rough count on my fingers and toes, decided there are at least 20.

So the challenge today boys and girls, is to list as many factors or components that comprise the cost of a plain white tee shirt as you can. Good luck!

(p.s. this will also be helpful for an upcoming post on how to cost your products)

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  1. Wendy says:

    pattern, pattern-maker, marker, cutter, cutting machine, sewer, thread, scissor, needle, sewing machine, fabric, finishing (finisher?), iron, main label, wash label…

    hahaha i tried to include as many as I can think of… I’ve nothing else… =)

  2. Sabine says:

    first pattern
    first sample
    fast forward to final pattern and final (show) sample
    marker layout
    calculate fabric use
    order 2 types of fabric, labels for all sizes, thread, seamtape (if used) packing material
    inspect materials
    laying wax paper, fabric, marker
    double checking with the cutters must to account for all pieces.
    bundling (if the factory is set up that way)
    assembly of 5 pieces of fabric using a serger (8 seams, 2x shoulder when attaching front to back, 2x sewing on the sleeve, 2x from sleeve down the side, closing neck, attaching neck, slightly different assembly with shorter underarm seam when dealing with tube knit bodies but same amount of seams)
    finishing seams on sleeves etc with a coverlock (4 seams) (unless there is a one-step process to attach the neck, then it would be that instead of one serger seam and one coverlock seam)
    not to forget the label which is either heat pressed on before assembly, attached on the left side seam during assembly or on the neck during finishing.
    getting it moved between different sections of the production floor, which would be miscellaneous labour cost along with general tool/equipment/machinery wear and tear)
    (the different work steps should include the wages/benefits/healthcare costs/workers compensation/ payroll deductions for the people doing those things)

    ok, I ran out of peas, i also think i listed too many components.

  3. Mike says:

    20 components? Honestly I do not think so for a basic white t-shirt. Let us see what are they?

    I assume we buy knitted and bleached fabric, so we can eliminate fiber, knitting costs and wastage, bleaching cost and wastage, tenter and wastage (if we’d like to have open fabric rather than tubular), etc…

    1. Regarding fabric quality I see few components based on fiber quality: Open end, cardet, combed and mercerized.

    2. Consumption. It depends on size specs of the t-shirt as well as width of the fabric.

    3. Trims: 100% cotton rib for the neck or some elastane in it?

    4. CMT costs: Cutting, manufacturing and trimming. Since it is a basic t-shirt this component do not change at all and thread, label, etc costs including to this component

    5. Packaging: In a polybag? or on a hanger? etc.

    All I can find roughly 5 components? Do I miss anything?

    Or, if you want to increase components, you can add cleaning guy salary, electric bill, depreciation amortisation of the sewing machines,… :) But all of this calculates at CMT cost.

  4. April says:

    Please define cost component. I assume that it is more than just the raw materials/inputs, but have no idea what else would be included!

  5. Andy says:

    well lets see the cost?
    (amusing this is a 300piece order, or else i would not go threw all is work for $4.82 a piece)

    self:40single 100% cotton $1.80per yrd
    contrast: 2×1 ribbing 100% cotton $1.30

    fabric yield:
    self: .70
    con: .02

    fabric cost $1.26+$0.26=$1.52

    send out cutting service $.30

    send out sewing service $1.00

    design fee $1.00

    pattern/packaging fee $1.00


    so i would sell it for 30% more $6.26 a piece

    $6.26 x 300pcs =1879.80

    cost $1455

    profit $424.80

    minus tax and all that crap $127.44

  6. Peter says:

    Mike’s list is what I would normally consider cost components. The only things I might add would be:

    6. Is there a garment wash?
    7. Fabric weight/yarn size/width which would affect fabric cost
    8. Shipping/logistics cost of fabrics/trims to the sewing factory
    9. Preticketing (if not already included in packaging)
    10. Regulatory and quality testing (if required)
    11. Inventory carrying costs/fullfillment costs if stocked

  7. Barb Taylorr says:

    inventory managemant
    overal bussiness managemant
    body fabric
    packaging material (bags, cartons, shipping labels…)
    laundry or finishing
    trade shows
    office / computer
    overhead for factories etc

  8. Just the basic garment components:

    Garment: Front, Back, Right Sleeve, Left Sleeve, Rib Neck, Locker Loop
    Trim: Thread, Neck Tape, Shoulder Mobilon Elastic
    Labels: Main Label, Care/Content Label, Size/Country of Origin Label (or some combination of these)
    Hangtags: Main Hangtag, Secondary Hangtag
    Packaging: Polybag, Polybag Sticker, Tissue or Cardboard, Carton, Carton Labels, Tape

    And then of course the other items listed in the posts above!

    Though typically when setting up a cost sheet it would be closer to Andy’s list:

    Fabric + Wastage
    Trim + Wastage
    Labels + Wastage
    Tags + Wastage
    Packaging + Wastage

  9. Reading the article, they seem to be referring specifically to garment components, i.e. the raw materials to be sourced, rather than associated costs. Also, to jump from 20 components for a t-shirt to 100 for a hooded sweatshirt is puzzling.

    In either case I can only think of a few:
    1) Main fabric
    2) Ribbing
    3) Thread
    4) Labels
    5) Printing ink/sequins/other decorations

  10. Marie-Christine says:

    Notice Kathleen didn’t say -plain- white t-shirt, so you may add stuff like pockets, gathers, rhinestones, what have you? Since it’s white you wouldn’t need some specific color stuff like subscription to a color service or dyeing costs. But wouldn’t you need to pay for each size of pattern? And for laying out the pattern differently for each size?
    Y’all forgot something to stabilize shoulder seams and/or neckline in the t-shirt, I get much better long-lasting results with those and we didn’t say this was a cheap and nasty t-shirt.

    For a sweatshirt you might need more different types of fabrics/trim, more than one kind of ribbing for different places for instance, some twill tape to neaten up the neck seam or stabilize seams, like at pocket edges. Zippers or some other sort of closure. Drawstring for the hood and/or the waist. Rivets to pull through the drawstring. Maybe elastic for the sleeves if you don’t put ribbing there. I can well imagine a sweatshirt being a whole lot more complex, even if you don’t pay attention to the fact that Kathleen never said it was white too.

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