Tamarind chutney products- scarf, t-shirt, pant and cushion cover. Price transparency and breakdown in background

Discussing price transparency with Tamarind Chutney

Should brands reveal their price breakdown for their consumers to know? This clothing brand thinks we should.

By Sanjoli Arora

Price transparency refers to a situation wherein both the seller and the buyer are aware of the price breakdown of a product or service. It is done when the seller reveals all costs and the buyer cross-examines them with industry pricing.

The phenomenon sounds easy, and yet only a few brands dare to declare their costs and profit share. We came across a brand that is brave enough to take this road – Tamarind Chutney.

Tanvi and Charanya started Tamarind Chutney out of a desire to support artisan livelihoods, preserve India’s craft heritage and sell distinctive products. It is a unisex clothing and accessories brand that was launched in 2019 to be an ethical and inclusive organization. 

We got in touch with one of the founders- Tanvi to dig deeper into the brand’s values, particularly on price transparency.

Q.Why the name ‘Tamarind Chutney’? 

We wanted something vibrant and spunky. Something quintessentially Indian yet universally relatable. And both of us are foodies :). It is also a total coincidence that the initials of Tamarind Chutney match the initials of our first name – Tanvi and Charanya. We’re making full use of that now.

Q. How important are the ideas of sustainability and community building to you? 

They’re the core of our brand. The fashion industry is facing a sustainability crisis. We are here to show that it’s possible to be stylish while being environmentally thoughtful and in sync with the natural ecosystems we inhabit.

Sustainability is not just about environmental protection but also community development. Thus, we work with artisans and help improve their livelihoods. We also let our consumers know who made their clothes by sharing artisan stories.

Two artisan images and their speciality described.
Artisan stories on Tamarind Chutney’s community section.

Q. Do you think a sustainable lifestyle is only for the rich? 

Not at all. Yes, we do need to move away from cheap fast fashion, and many sustainable brands are often expensive – which is a challenge.

However, being sustainable means moving from a linear paradigm to a circular paradigm. There are many ways to do that that are not heavy on the wallet. For instance, shopping less, thrifting more, using our clothes for longer, supporting local artisans.

As Indians, many of the practices we grew up with are sustainable – we need to return to those practices, and stop aping the west in terms of consumerism.

Q. You are probably one of the few brands who are transparent with their pricing model. Is that something you as a brand always wanted to do?

Yes. From the day we launched, we’ve had the price breakdown of all our products on the website. One of the reasons we started Tamarind Chutney was to nudge the apparel industry toward more ethical and responsible standards. Transparency is key to this. Customers should know what they’re paying for – this also helps keep brands accountable.

Price breakdown of a simple t-shirt by brand Tamarind Chutney

A snapshot of price breakdown for the brand’s Bahaar unisex block printed t-shirt. The selling price for the same is Rs. 749.

Q. Is being a transparent brand a challenging task?

From an intent perspective – not at all. I think it helped that we started with transparency – so now it’s not something we have to account additionally.

However, it is challenging for anyone to be 100% transparent. For instance, while we give information about how much we pay our artisans, we do not have information about where the cotton we use is grown. Getting to last-mile transparency is challenging, and we continue to make small steps to improve in that direction.

Customers should know what they’re paying for – this also helps keep brands accountable.

Q. Do you think other brands should be more transparent? If yes, then how? 

Absolutely. Brands can start by providing information about where their raw material comes from, who makes the clothes they sell, how much they are paid. When big brands claim to be sustainable, their claims are not often backed by data. If a brand doesn’t give you the information you ask for on their supply chain – that’s a cause for concern.  

Q. What has been your customers’ review of your values and transparent pricing models?

It has been positive so far. Many of our customers tell us it’s refreshing that we stand by what we believe in and walk the talk.

Q. Finally, what would you tell an individual or brand who is trying to be more sustainable and ethical in their approach?

Moving toward sustainability might seem like a daunting task if we try to address all aspects of sustainability together. I would advise brands to start with one thing  – for instance, waste or raw material and focus on that. That’s not enough but will help get the ball rolling before they can take other steps.

Similarly, individuals can start with small changes. Shopping for second-hand items or giving up one single-use plastic are easy ways to integrate sustainability into our life.

If this interview got you excited, then head to Tamarind Chutney’s website to shop and explore!

Feature image created using pieces available to shop from Tamarind Chutney.

Sanjoli is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Fashion Journalism. She has contributed to publications like MensXP, Mindless Mag and Sustain: The Mag in the past. Sanjoli enjoys writing and reading about fashion. She is currently trying to live more sustainably.

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