I wrote an in-depth article for Cloth Pad Shop on pricing of pads. Read that here – www.clothpadshop.com but to summarise here…
Why are some brands more expensive than others? Part of that is reputation, they have worked hard for a long time to build up their reputation, and their quality. They may be using more expensive fabrics, their sewing method may take longer. Part of it may be that an “expensive” brand is actually making sure they are paying themselves a decent wage for the work they do. So while some cloth pads may seem expensive, you wouldn’t go into a shop and ask the shopkeeper to give you some of their wages – and expecting cloth pads to be cheaper is not much different.
The obvious expenses in a cloth pad are the fabrics it is made from. But that is actually only a small portion of what it actually costs to make a pad. There is also the “labour” component. Just like a worker anywhere else wants to be paid a wage for the hours of work they do, cloth pad makers should be adding on a charge for the time it takes to actually make the pad. Sewing pads, listing them online, dealing with customers, packing orders all takes time. Some of that also consumes electricity, as does prewashing all the fabrics before use (fabrics like hemp and bamboo need to be prewashed more than once), tumble drying. There are sewing supplies, sewing machine repairs, printer ink, the cost of driving to buy more fabric or to post orders. Then there are listing/website fees, paypal fees, business registration fees, insurance. The list goes on and on.
So ultimately padmakers should be working out the actual fabric costs, adding on the cost of wages for the time it takes to make, and add on an extra charge to account for a portion of all the additional costs of being in business.
Overall, most cloth pads are actually priced less than they ideally should be if the padmakers were paying themselves a decent wage. Most padmakers would earn more money by working a low paying job – and still a lot of customers expect discounts and consider prices to be too high. Which is sad.