With the price change we announced recently, I wanted to write more about the reality of pricing our candles through two separate lenses: the philosophical and the practical.
[Editor's note: This is the philosophical post. See this other post if you want to learn more about the practical costs of making candles.]
It’s hard not to become philosophical when asked to think about pricing. We interact with hundreds of prices each day, and yet we tend to think very little about what prices mean and what affects how much we’re willing to pay. Captured in everyday prices are deeper ideas we share as individuals and a culture: expressions of hopes, aspirations and dreams, personal preferences and needs. In almost every product category you can find a plethora of options — from the cheapest to the almost unfathomably expensive. Each option has a story attached, whether implicit or explicit, and we each get to decide what we support.
At Keap, our pricing philosophy is underpinned by our purpose: to prioritize connection and to help regenerate ourselves, our communities, and our planet. In order to do this, we need to invest in better ways of doing business both now and for the future. This means taking responsibility for more than just the ingredients in our candles (although, of course, that’s critical). We want to demonstrate that we can treat our customers, our team, our community, and the environment well, all while running a successful business. This inevitably creates tension as, typically, the more we invest, the higher our costs are, and so our prices will be too. We certainly want our candles to be accessible to as many folks as possible, but we also have a duty to charge enough to be able to make long-term investments in our product, people, and the planet.
Some examples of decisions we’ve made that have represented financial investments in our vision:
- We’ve been pioneering the use of Mushroom Packaging for the past four years.
- We increased our starting wage to $24.50 (full-time) / $20 (part-time) at the beginning of 2021.
- We launched a monthly zine focused on rituals of connection for our candle subscribers.
- We have spent the last five years investing in a new, regenerative wax to soon be used in all our candles.
- We only use a variety of compostable packaging materials designed to return to the soil.
Our prices reflect the deeper purpose behind our work and the costs associated with living up to that purpose, both now and into the future. If you’re into finance and numbers, and curious about the current margins and costs of making and selling our candles, we’ve separately published another piece looking at the practical aspects of our prices.
The iconic companies of the next hundred years will be revered for the way they nourished the communities and environments they touched. In order to get there, we will need to change the way we run companies and support those who take a stand for a better future.
I hope this provokes some interesting thoughts on this topic. I’d love to hear from you at TheLab@KeapBK.com if so.