Why does handmade cost so much compared to retail shops?


I'm not one for justifying my prices, after all..... if you like my products, then you'll buy.... and I won't start now. but, I know people can look at handmade items and think... why so much????

I'm not greedy when I price my mugs at £9.50... when I know you can go into a pound shop and get one for a couple of quid. But I wanted to share with you all the costs that are involved so you can see why handmade or small businesses like Inkterior Art are more expensive than cheap high street shops. 

My mugs are a great example to use for this purpose . I'll not go into details of exact costs... but give you an idea of the outlays I have, so you can better understand and appreciate that we don't just pull the prices out of our arses.... well, at least I don't anyway ! ha ha

Initial design

As an artist, you probably know that I, me... Laura Gray of Inkteriar Art, paint all of my pictures from scratch. They're watercolours, and are not easy to do. I can proudly say, that I have worked hard and studied to gain the skills involved in producing all of my watercolour paintings. Watercolour and other mediums, are a lot more time consuming than digital work too. I'm not knocking digital artists.... or people that provide digital images..... but what I will say is... anyone can learn to use a computer and the design packages... but not everyone can paint. That's just a fact. 

So the first element in the cost.... is my skill and time as an artist. 


handmade Death head moth watercolour painting


Once I have the original watercolour painting of my death hrad moth that I'm happy with, I then have to pay to get it scanned and edited (although I have just purchased photoshop.... an other expense) to do the editing myself. So, although the cost of this has been reduced.... my time is not free.... be thankful I don't work out what my earnings would be on minimum wage by the hour! Up to this point it's taken hours and hours of my time to produce the artwork that's print ready.

Watercolour paper warps naturally, and you lose details when scanning, so I can't just used the scanned image... I have to edit it quite a bit

handmade Moth scan
Moth edited


Many handmade companies have machines that cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds. I do not. Firstly it's actually not cost effective to do this.... for a few reasons. Maintaining the machinery etc is very expensive, so when you see handmade small businesses selling their mugs for a fiver, I can guarantee you, after all the elements are taken into account, they're not making money. That's their issue not yours.... but it's food for thought.

Because of this, I get all my products professionally printed. It means I have a set unit price, and quality control over the print. If the print isn't right, I go back to my printers and get them to do it all again, which means you get the best quality product.

Death head moth mug


If you'd like this little beauty for just £9.50.... you can purchase it  here

My fees

Built into the prices of my mugs is all my additional fees. You may not realise what fees have to be paid... but it all adds up I can tell you!

Firstly there's website fees, which I have to pay to provide you with my products... then there's payment processing. Generally the processing of fees is a % of the cost price. 

Lastly, as a business I pay tax. A lot of small businesses aren't above board and aren't registered/don't pay tax... which is very naughty! I am.... so 20% of my profit goes straight to Mr Tax Man.

Large retail shops v's small businesses

Retail shops buy in bulk.... they're generic designs, printed on mass to offer you the largest discount when purchasing. So yeah... if you're just wanting a mug that does it's job, one that 10k other people have, go for it. I shop in these places too for a lot of things, but I also value handmade. The time and effort that goes into all the designs, the customer care you get, the high quality product that's come from the heart, the fact than not every man and his dog has the same design AND a biggie for me... supporting someone that's making something of themselves... going out there and building up from nothing... I salute you!!!

In a nutshell, us small business get penalised for, well..... being small and daring to break the mold when it comes to creative products.

After, designing, editing, time, materials, payment fees, tax..... I actually only get a small amount of this ... but I'll tell you what, I'm eternally grateful for every penny you guys spend on me and my products. It means I can continue my art therapy, developing my skills, coming up with new products and generally go on creating awesome shit!

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thanks for your support, and your faith and confidence in me, thanks for making the difference to my life by buying my products instead of going to high street shops.

Signing out for now..

Keep being awesome!

Laura Gray

Inkterior Art

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