Four years ago, on November 1, 2011, Everlane launched out of a small office in San Francisco. We hadn’t a clue what would come of it. All we had was a motley crew with a simple set of values: Make beautiful products. Treat people well. And tell our customers the story and cost of every product we make. It turns out, that was pretty novel.
Four years later, we’re still at it. It’s grown a bit. 300,000 customers instead of 300. And 70 of us around the table, instead of 5. Oh, and we make pants now too. Sorry, that took a while.
We have a long road ahead of us. And a ton of ambition. We know we’ll expand our line and enter new markets, but the truth is, we don’t have an exact destination in mind. What matters most to us are values—and ours won’t change even if we end up designing homewares, furniture, or even building an Everlane hotel in twenty years. (It’s true, we’ve talked about it).
So here’s to an adventure. Thanks for being a part of it and we’re looking forward to the next year. (And twenty more).
not that we’re short on them, but: cpu binning, as a practice, is a pretty vivid demonstration of how distortionary the profit motive is in capitalism.
made-up numbers: let’s say you’re a cpu manufacturer, and you have a pretty good idea that you’ve got 300 customers. 100 have a budget of about $50 for a new cpu, 100 have a budget of about $200, and 100 have a budget of about $500. you wanna sell CPUs to them and avoid leaving money on the table.
if you price your CPUs at $50, you’ll sell 300 for $50 each. $15,000, not bad! But you missed out on all the money the people with bigger budgets would have spent if your product had been priced higher. If you price it at $500, you’ll sell 100 for $500 each, and earn $50,000$–but you’re missing out on all the potential sales from the people with smaller budgets.
so you introduce three CPUs, budget performance and enthusiast class, and sell them for $50, $200, and $500 respectively, and you’ll make $75,000. but to do this, you need to have three product lines. and it turns out that one of the most cost-effective ways to do so is to produce 300 CPUs that are $500-quality, then selectively downgrade them until they’re $200-quality or $50-quality. this actually happens!
but if we look at the firm as seeking to make CPUs, not seeking to make revenue, this is an absurd, wasteful outcome. with the same amount of parts, labor, infrastructure, etc., you would have been able to make 300 $500-quality CPUs, but instead you spent just as much productive factors to create a worse aggregate output, because if you’d made the better CPUs you’d have made less money.
it’s a very vivid illustration of just how distortionary and wasteful organizing around the profit motive can be, i think.
Todo: EHHHHHHHHHHHH??? (WHY ARE YOU JUMPING? ARE YOU AN IDIOT?!)
Atsu: … [? / something about the jump…]
Todo: ARE YOU AN IDIOT?! THAT SUIT WAS EXPENSIVE WASN’T IT?! (HAAA!? [?] Even though it cost so much…!)
Atsu: Everyone’s the same when it comes to dirtying clothes. Plus, I have lots of money to burn anyway. [*] (I can always buy another.)
Todo: …… Wow…
Todo: You really piss me off!
Todo: Atsushi-kun, you’re filthy~! Atsu: It’s because of you! Todo: Atsushi-kun, let’s go to the bath house. Atsu: Oh, sounds good~ kinda like a commoner! Todo: Atsushi-kun, you are a commoner. (angry)
[*] Atsushi repeats this line from the beginning. [?] sorry i can’t read the handwritten part… (cry)