Kanye West probably didn't need any further validation as it related to his popular The Life of Pablo pop-ups. In the past, he has gone on record as saying that his lone New York location earned him over a million USD in only two days.
After a little bit of sleuthing, we found out that it was definitely possible given the pandemonium and firsthand accounts which pointed to thousands of people in attendance who were buying multiple pieces.
Specific analysis noted that he needed to sell 2,215 beanies @ $35 USD, 3,500 T-shirts @ $65 USD, 5,000 hoodies @ $95 USD and 1,100 jackets @ $200 USD to reach the million USD milestone.
While West will probably always be a lightning rod for controversy, people seem to be most critical about the markup on the items more than anything else after the Internet began to become aware that the T-shirts were being printed on Gildan shirts along with Cali Thornhill DeWitt’s signature gothic lettering.
Absent of Kanye/DeWitt's contributions, a Gildan shirt costs between $1.50-$4.00 USD if bought in bulk and wholesale.
Our first-person account of the pop-up in San Francisco revealed that the aforementioned Gildan T-shirts retailed for $55 USD, a long-sleeve cost $75 USD, and a hoodie cost $108 USD.
“They could have at least cut that off,” one kid in attendance said in reference to the Gildan tags. “It’s overpriced as hell, but welcome to America.”
“I don’t think anyone would deny it’s overpriced,” another girl shopping stated. “By going to this pop-up, you’re paying for more than the physical thing. You’re paying for the experience.”
Eric, a 19-year-old Bostonian visiting his hometown pop-up, went as far to say, “Kanye is a God. Whatever price [the merch costs] is worth it.”
Based off numbers derived from a streetwear production professional, we've estimated the following price markups for Kanye's merchandise.
Note: FOB indicates that the sale is considered complete at the seller's shipping dock, and thus the buyer of the goods is responsible for freight costs and liability during transport.
Kanye’s average costs for a $108 USD hoodie
Estimated Per Piece Cost US$15 Factory FOB Cost US$1 Sea Freight and Insurance US$2.50 Duty US$3 SG&A — Rent, Staff, Etc US$2 Taxes US$84.50 Profit US$108 Retail Price (5.8x mark-up on the landed cost)
Kanye’s average costs for a $55 USD T-shirt
Estimated Per Piece Cost US$3 Factory FOB Cost US$1 Sea Freight and Insurance US$2.50 Duty US$3 SG&A — Rent, Staff, Etc US$2 Taxes US$43.50 Profit US$55 Retail Price (8.5x mark-up on the landed cost)
To put these numbers in further perspective, when wholesaled, Nike makes $4.50 for every $100 dollar pair of shoes sold and would make $54.50 if they sold direct to consumer according to Matthew Kish of the Portland Business Journal.