Have you ever seen an item sold by an artisan and thought, “That’s so expensive! I can get this for less at Walmart!”? As a small shop owner and cardmaker, I hear this all too often.
I’m writing this blog post to explain why handmade goods are often more expensive than similar items from big box stores. How? Well, I’m breaking down where your money goes after you buy one of my cards.
One of my cards costs $5. Compared to cards from Walmart or the dollar store, it’s pretty pricey. However, you’re paying for so much more than just a card!
$0.10 is set aside for Toronto Environmental Alliance. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to making a greener city.
Around $1 goes to material costs (for one card). That includes:
- pattern paper
- the stamp
- gel pens
- any embellishments
The rest is split between my overhead costs and me! Although, to be honest, I think most of it goes it my overhead costs. That includes:
- my website and domain hosting fees
- social media marketing
- consignment shop rental fees
- market fees and so much more
Of course, I purchase materials in bulk, and I pay an annual subscription for most of my fees. But, this is where your money goes after you buy one card.
Why It’s More Expensive
I hope you understand why handmade items cost more now. Essentially, it’s because we don’t have the capital (money) to give you severe discounts. Why?
- Most small businesses begin from a passion for our craft. We didn’t set out to start a business. So, we don’t have multiple investors who support us, unlike corporations with funding from several sources.
- Our items are handmade, which takes a lot of time and effort to make. While we don’t pay ourselves much initially, we don’t exploit workers from developing countries to create our products.
- Most small business owners source supplies locally and sustainably, which most corporations and big box stores don’t do.
- We don’t have brand name recognition like Walmart or Hallmark. Unfortunately, more people think, “let’s go to Walmart and grab a quick card” rather than “let’s go to a local market and see what’s there.”
Why Should You Care?
When you buy a card, you are funding a business and a livelihood. You’re supporting my financial independence and my dream to go to law school. You control how much money I get for food, rent, clothes, utilities and Toronto Environmental Alliance.
You do something similar when you purchase from other small businesses. So, please continue shopping locally and supporting small businesses like mine. If you don’t, start!
On a budget? No worries. You don’t even have to buy anything to support us (although I would appreciate it if you did)! You can support local makers by:
- following us on our social media accounts
- engaging with us on social media
- liking, commenting or sharing our posts
- leaving reviews and sharing our shops with your friends.
That helps other people see our stuff!
I sincerely hope this helped you understand what it means when you buy something handmade from a local artisan!