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Why do people charge so much?

Oct 12, 2007

    1. I've been wondering this for a long time, now as lovely work as the people do I can't understand why they charge so much.
      I've seen clothes for BJDs go for twice as much price for clothes I buy. And same with esthetics, I've seen a lot of different prices and I don't know what is a GOOD price...
      Is it because the person is talented and really good at what they do?
      I'm not trying to start anything heated, just really curious.
    2. A person's time is worth a lot sometimes. This work isn't done en masse by machine, it's the object of one person's work and time. Let's say that person makes $15 an hour at work. They spend two hours making something or another for a doll. Stands to reason they'd want to charge at least $30. A lost of people probably charge less than what their time is worth just because they like doing what they do.
    3. Mainly what matters too me is quality and personality. If over pricing is an issue then i think a person should focus on trying to make their own clothes and doing their own face-ups.
    4. I don't know about seamstresses, but I do know why some customizers charge so much. Materials are expensive and it's extremely time consuming. It takes me about 14 hours to paint a head for $40. 14/40 is approximately $2.86 per hour if I did my math correctly. That is not including the cost of materials either. At the end of the day, it's really my passion of painting dolls that keeps me going, because I'm sure as hell underpaid XD
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    5. Like everyone else has stated, it's not just the cost of materials, you also need to figure in an hourly cost. Especially if it's something that you're doing for a living instead of just for a hobby. I would never sew full-time unless I could make the same that I am at my current job. Which would mean charging way more than anyone would actually be willing to pay. ^^;
    6. It took me years to develop my skill, and the time I put into improving my sewing is worth something to me. I price my time out at about $25 an hour, because it is skilled labour.

      I'm doing alright with my little business, so I suppose there are at least some people who agree with me. :)
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    7. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the input!
      I really didn't want to sound snotty or anything ^^;; Just really curious.
      I love everyone's work that I've seen and their prices won't stop me from getting their work done. I guess I've just always been curious as to the reason behind it all.
      But please continue to give me your input! =^_^=
    8. Painting a tiny dolls head not only takes skill, talent, patience and good eyesight but also the ability to paint on resin. It isn't easy by a long shot, and an artist should be paid for their talent and time, just like you pay for any other service in life. Like another said before me, if you don't think it's worth it, try doing it yourself.
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    9. Very true, I know I could never do as great as some people. I've tried a face up and it was hard!!
      I guess this was a very silly question *feels embarrassed & runs & hides*
    10. It's not a silly question. I wondered what made people charge so much myself -- right until I tried my hands at painting :sweat
    11. Yes, the doll items are "small," but if you really consider it, that makes it that much more difficult to make. There is so much tiny detail that goes into such an item, and the craftsmanship is greater. As the level of skill needed is greater, that naturally results in a higher price. These prices really aren't just determined by materials; they're determined by labor, and also the fact that not everyone can create such things.
    12. Seakings it is not a silly question! It's perfectly valid. We've all had "sticker shock" at dolly things, it's not just you!
    13. The only thing that really bothers me is the price of some eyes. I saw some BEAUTIFUL blue 12mm eyes going for $80! I'm sorry, but I could get the same color eyes for $20 from a different person.
    14. This is actually a pretty good question about market forces in a limited economy. The easy answer?

      The market will bear it.

      An example: if Company X sells a doll t-shirt for $30, Company Y, who has just come out with a similar t-shirt line, will say, "Ah, I see the market price for these is $30. To be competitive, I will charge $29." And Company Z, who also just came out with a set of lovely t-shirts, says, "Looks like people will pay about $30 for dollie t-shirts. I think our t-shirts are way cooler than theirs, plus they're made with organically grown sustainable cotton. Let's charge $40. People will pay extra for quality." Company X sees that people will buy cool t-shirts for $40, says, "Why aren't we getting $35 for our shirts?" and brings out a new awesome line with, I don't know, glitter on them for $35. All of the sudden, Company Y's $29 shirts go from "comparable price" to "a bargain" and start selling like hotcakes.

      DoA sellers A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko decide that they will sell their own handmade doll t-shirts. They look at what the companies are charging and say, "Our t-shirts aren't professionally made, but we put the names of awesome bands on our shirts and carefully predistress them. Since companies get about $35 average for their shirts, let's charge $28. Our materials cost $5, plus we spend a couple of hours on each shirt, so we think that's fair. Besides, people will save on shipping since we're in Tallahassee instead of Korea, making us an even better deal."

      At no point does the thought, "Man, someone could buy a people-sized t-shirt for $18," factor in.

      Doll clothing and accessories are a limited market, with a handful of companies setting most of the prices. There is no dolly Wal-Mart practicing economics of scale ("I sell a lot of something, so I can sell it with a profit margin of 1% and still make lots of money") to lower prices on the rest of the market. Also, to be frank, these companies know most of us have serious disposable income. We buy resin dolls for hundreds of dollars. It does not matter that some people had to save for years to get that money, it matters that it was present in the first place. Most companies look at the price of a doll and go, "Well, damn, compared to $500, $50 for a jacket is a steal!" DoA seamstresses and tailors look at the overall market price and how much value they put on their time when setting prices, so although there are some serious price variances, most of the prices fall within the range of "average market price."

      Believe me, if there was a dolly Wal-Mart selling high-quality doll clothes for $15, you wouldn't be hearing, "Well, I think my time is worth $25 an hour, so I'll charge $100 for this pair of jeans." They wouldn't sell. People would look at them, go, "I can get similar/better for cheaper somewhere else," and buy from the Dawl-Mart. A seamstress' time being worth $25 an hour means jack-all if the product doesn't move. The sad jeans-maker would look at their stock of $100 jeans, go, "This isn't worth it," and close up shop. This is how Wal-Mart drives small stores out of business in towns they move in to.

      Fortunately for the dolly economy, there is no Dawl-Mart, so our Marketplace is the wonderful tapestry of hundreds of working artists that it is. :) I know this doesn't feel particularly good right now when your doll's sitting around naked, bald, and faceupless because it'll cost you $200 to get the clothes, wig, and faceup you want, but believe me, it's better than the alternative.
    15. I agree, I was going to get a certain pair of eyes, but saw how expensive they were and then I saw a user on here selling beautiful eyes (it was even a better color than what I was originally wanting) and for a great price. So I was happy that I looked around for a bit. Still doing the same for a wig, even though I'm really set on a certain one... If I didn't have to pay so much for shipping for ONE wig :-( that's the only thing that's bothering me.
    16. What bothers me, as a customiser is that the market is often brought down by people who are unaware of the value of their time and effort. This is not to say that people should all sell their goods at unreasonably high prices. There is a general standard, such as proffessional touches in sewing and esthetics, IMO that is, not to offend anyone. It's hard to find the happy medium, but it also makes things difficult for others to "dare" to charge a price they deem reasonable. As the forum rules state, no one should be a price police. So I guess it's just about finding the right person to do the right job at the right price. Timing is often the key too:sweat

      Though that being said. Shipping has always been a Pain in the A**. Because I'm located pretty far from the majority of BJD owners, people may think twice before commissioning, because shipping will be an extra burden for them. While I do feel for them financially, it isn't up to me to lower the price of my service just to get jobs. It simply devalues what I do.

      Another way to look at this is that, people who became customizers or seamtresses, are often those who are unwelling to spend big dollars on mass produced ready-made items. After discoverying the joy of the state of self-maintainence, they may feel the need to share it with others. They provide custom services where every creation is unique and satisfying for both parties. It's puts a smile on everyone's face (getting a little mushy here, but it's true). That experience alone should be priceless. So putting a definitive figure on such experiences is but an tangiable form of gratitude.
    17. Filovirus, well-said!

      As a doll seamstress, I would like to emphasize the point about smaller things being harder to make. If you're off by an inch on a human garment, no one will even notice, but on a doll garment, that inch will mean you have a scrap instead of a coat/shirt/pants/whatever. Trying to serge tiny doll things is insanely hard O_O. A MSD sleeve is about as big around as your thumb, so sewing a set-in sleeve is just...*_* . Presicion, attention to detail, and accuracy are all hard enough on human clothes, but on doll clothes? OMG. There are some people out there who AMAZE me with their mad skills in sewing. To me, $200 for an awesome outfit is cheap.

      There ARE cheap outfits out there, but they are usually on beginner level. The old addage "you get what you pay for" really applies to doll stuff. I would rather pay $100 for an amazing and realistic jacket than $10 for an uneven, fraying one that looks like it was hot-glued together in 5 minutes. Ugh, I'm sounding so mean here...I don't mean to discourage new seamstresses. :o
    18. But I doubt you get the same quality eyes for $20. With eyes, you are paying for quality, as the super high quality glass and urethane eyes are all handmade by people who have worked to master that particular art. With the limited production coupled with how hard it often is to buy them - my favourite eye maker only releases 5-10 pairs of eyes at a time on their website every few months - the prices go up. Whether or not you feel they are worth it is your call, but their prices are just as affected by the time and effort put into them to make them as clothing is. You get what you pay for with eyes - it's not just the colour, but the depth, clarity, and ability to catch the light.
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    19. Not speaking for all glass eyes, but I think the reason certain glass eyes are so expensive is that they're handmade. I have never made them myself, so this is what I understand from the experience of those who have. Usually, the person who makes them ends up with a lot of failed eyes before coming up with a perfect pair of eyes. And we're not talking about a factory that makes them..usually those who sell handmade eyes are individuals or a small team, so the time, effort and cost required are quite high. There're a lot of other factors involved, including temperature control. It is not easy to get the exact same colour for two eyes while making sure the the alignment of the pupil is right in the middle, etc.

      Edited to say: Agreeing with what Kim said about the clarity and depth of some of the more expensive glass eyes ^^
    20. For everything, I find the more expensive it is the better the quality. I've bought some things for cheap and they there just not up to my standards. Then I've paid over $100 for an AMAZING outfit on which the quality was better than some of my clothing.

      With eyes, I wholeheartedly agree with Kim and scube. My personal favourites are Zoukeimura (normally sold over $100) or Ethereal Angel eyes (or along those lines, which are normally $60). I have a pair of Souldoll eyes, and while they are very nice they just do not capture the same depth and beauty as the Urethane eyes do.
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