custom stationery: why does it cost what it does?

This week I've had more than one comment on "Why does your stationery cost this much?", "But it's just paper", "Wait, that includes the RSVP and Details card too, right?" or "I can buy this from this company and it's cheaper." ...

There are two main things I take into consideration when I give you your pricing proposal for custom stationery:

  • Cost 

  • Time

Firstly, to anyone who says - "I can buy this from a company and it's cheaper" - that's great! But, it's not custom. This is a design that has been made to sell to the masses. This means the company is making a profit from one design multiple times. When I create custom stationery it is a one-off. I create it especially for you and no one else.

In this, there is time involved. I spend time with you figuring out exactly what you're after, drafting pricing proposals, phone calls and emails. There's time spent speaking to suppliers and printers to get quotes so I can give you a correct estimate. Time is spent on providing multiple options and then revisions. This can go back and forth for months. This is why I've had to put a limit on the number of revisions (5), or it is an additional cost. Then there's time preparing the files, creating handwritten type, hand-drawn illustrations and communicating with the printers before production. 

Then there's assembling and often finishing by hand. I may cut invitations a certain way, or add gold leaf to each piece of wedding stationery in a suite. This is a very time-consuming process when it's only me doing it. 

Basically, I have multiple jobs - admin, project manager, designer, and a logistics manager. 

I've also been questioned about the cost of paper - "But why is it that expensive - it's just paper?" or "Why is that paper more expensive than this one?". The paper I use is from a gorgeous printery in Western Australia. They source their paper from all over the world - France, Japan, India - you name it. 

This takes not only a lot of time sourcing, but the paper also has to travel to Australia and the printery company has to make a profit too. With this comes a cost. The paper you use for your invites really is special - you won't find it in a craft store.

I've done a bit of a breakdown as to other factors that contribute to my custom stationery costing what it does below:

  • Education - I'm always trying to keep on top of wedding trends - which means I have to always be upskilling - whether it's through attending events or taking online classes. This comes at a cost.

  • Tools - The design software I use has an annual cost. Around $800 a year. Then there is the computer I use, the hard drive/s to not only save work, but also ensure that my computer is running fast enough as design software applications can be a huge drain on computer systems. Then there's the maintaining of tablets, scanners, printers, guillotines, etc. 

  • Fonts - The fonts I use did not come with the computer I use. These have all been purchased. I have to purchase a commercial license in order to use them. A font can range from $10 - $2000. What about free fonts?  Free fonts require the purchase of commercial use licenses before they can be incorporated in your designs.

  • Research - While I generally use one printery - if it's a job that requires a different supplier - I have to go and find them, and make sure it's within the budget. This can involve a lot of trial, error and time!

  • Cost of Supplies - Paper, ink, gold foil, letterpress, etc all cost money. Most suppliers have minimum order quantities. So if you're ordering 30 invitations with gold foil vs 50 it's going to cost much more, and this is why I have to charge more for smaller orders. 

  • Running costs - I have to cover the costs of running my business - tax, rent, postage, packaging, transport to and from client meetings etc. 

In my eyes (ha, I may be biased), but custom wedding stationery really is a great investment. Why? It helps set the tone for your wedding to your guests before your special day. It gives them that first glimpse into your vision and only builds excitement! I absolutely love creating unique pieces that you can cherish for years after your wedding day. 

If you're thinking about custom stationery for your day, please don't hesitate to give me a message.

Hannah x