Prices for handmade mermaid tails, why so much?

Why are the Mermaid tails I make so expensive? I get this question a lot so here is a full explanation.

Let’s use a basic silicone tail as an example for the math. (I know I hate math to)

Determining the price of a handmade product:

Materials cost + labor cost = item price

Or

Materials cost + profit + labor cost = item price

Materials cost: the cost of materials is calculated (how much money it costs the artist to buy the needed materials) a lot of companies up charge the materials cost by a specific percentage.

Labor cost: how many hours it takes to make the product and how much the artist is getting paid per hour to do it. (Artists don’t work for free)

So let’s calculate pricing for a tail:

A basic silicone tail is made using high quality neoprene fabric and dragonskin silicone (medical grade and skin safe silicone that is durable and stretchy) mixed with skin safe pigments. The tails have a built in monofin (professionally and properly made). A few other materials are needed as well like gloves, stirring sticks, etc. It takes about 15-24 hours to make each tail by hand.

Cost per tail:

Neoprene -$50

Silicone -$200

Monofin -$30-$60

Pigments and Additional supplies - $50

materials cost - $330-$360

Materials cost plus 10% - $363-$396

Materials cost plus 15% - $380-$434

I could work at a fast food restaurant and make $10 and hour so I need to make $20 an hour at the VERY LEAST to make tails. This is something that not a lot of people know how to do and it took me years and thousands of dollars to learn.

So 15-24 hours of work at $20 an hour is $300-$480 (I really should be making more than $20 an hour, if I made $30 an hour the labor cost would be $450-$720)

So let’s add that up:

Materials cost + labor cost = item price

($330-$360)+ ($300-$480) =$630-$840

Or

Materials cost + profit + labor cost = item price

($363-$434) + ($300-$480)= $663-$914

I charge $600-$800+ for basic silicone tails which means you are actually getting a discount at my expense.

Additional costs:

In order to make these tails I had to make and purchase equipment. This is a startup cost and I don’t charge clients for it directly but I do need to make enough profit over time to be able to pay for my equipment.

Basic silicone tails have 2 scale options and 2 fluke options and the sides are sewn. Each mold has to be made by hand and took my months. Each mold cost me approximately $100-$150 to make. My industrial walking foot sewing machine cost $1000. I also have to have space to create and extra rooms in apartments and houses add to my monthly rent/Mortgage.

Would it be cheaper to make my own tail?

NO! This is not a diy project this is a complicated process that requires previous knowledge and experience with mold making and casting. Making the molds costs $300+ and the materials cost $330-$400. ($600-$800 for materials If you are painting it.) Any mistakes you make like broken molds and silicone that doesn’t cure properly (due to humidity, contamination, temperature, etc.) will cost you another $100 or more. It would realistically cost $700-$1200 to make your own version of a tail I charge $600-$800 for.

You can see a video of me making a basic silicone tail here: https://youtu.be/VlV0Zbtt-AU

Full silicone tails take more materials and more time so they are more expensive.

well known tail making companies charge around $3000 for a custom full silicone tail.

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