because they are trying to make a living.
If you divide the time they work hourly on actually putting the material together, it’s almost less than minimum wage.
This original post’s opinion is something I have unfortunately seen people repeat. The gyst of it is that OP believes suits are cheap to make, so suitmakers must be overcharging. Furthermore it suggests the conclusion that suitmakers are charging the prices we do because of greed. I thought I’d lay out a couple points to help people understand why professional suitmakers charge the prices we do.
So, let’s pretend that you want to make professional-quality fursuits for $200 each, in expenses.
1. If you are lucky you may be able to find the fabric and foam you need for $200 (though this is at the bare minimum spectrum of material costs). Now, how are you going to make each suit? In order to make professional-quality suits, you are going to need a few things.
You will need to own a heavy-duty sewing machine ($400+), airbrush ($100+), airbrush compressor ($100+), electric drill and correct bits for making eyes ($50+), professional-quality electric clippers ($100+), silicone moldmaking and resin kits ($25-50 per kit), titanium scissors and sharpener ($25+), new shoes for feetpaws ($20+), rubber matting for soles ($20+), electric carving knife for thick foam ($25+); this is indicative of the tools used to create a typical fullsuit, but many suitmakers use other tools that also add to the expense (like dremels, vacuum-form tables, etc.).
You will also need to take into account your thread, needles, pins, polyfil, airbrush paints, lacquer, gluesticks, garbage bags, adhesives, sharpies/chalk, razorblades, zippers, eye plastic, buckram, machine oil, elastic, sandpaper, resin, and patternmaking material, which I won’t calculate here. You will eat through hundreds of these necessities every few weeks. And if you want a website, you must pay annually for your url and monthly for your website server.
So, a modest estimate for tools alone comes to roughly $900 NOT including any of the things that actually go into the tools to make them useful, which you will need to restock regularly.
2. It would be fair to want to be compensated for your specialized labor. A professional-grade fullsuit should take you about 2 weeks of work. The average professional suitmaker produces 2-3 suits a month. Suitmaking of course is a very specific set of artistic skills that takes years to develop, and only a handful of individuals in the world can make suits professionally. So, if it hypothetically only costs you $200 per suit for materials, how much do you charge for labor? At minimum wage ($8.50/hr), 80 hours of work (2 weeks full-time) will come to $680.
This means if a suitmaker’s material costs are $200, and they are paid minimum wage, they will on average be left with $480 for every 2 weeks of full-time work. This comes to $960 a month. This is barely enough to pay electricity, water, food, and rent, let alone cover the restocking of basic materials. Unfortunately you *probably won’t* want to go out and get a second job if you are making suits professionally, because you already work 40 hours a week.
3. You must pay taxes on the suits you sell. That’s right, self-employed people like fursuit-makers in the United States have to pay self-employment tax (15.3% in 2014) AND income tax (another 15%). That means if you make that $960 a month, you must pay almost $2000 a year in taxes.
Suitmakers like me charge what we do in order to compensate for the financial investment we participate in every month, in order to produce a high-quality, lasting piece of original wearable art for you. We spend dozens or even hundreds of hours on each costume, lovingly rendering it to match your design. We strive to make our customers happy with their costumes, not only because of how they look but because of how well they are made and will hold up over time. We do *not* get rich doing this. We dedicate our lives to this craft; it is our career.
Do you still think we charge too much?
I may not make full creature costumes, but a lot of this applies to wing making as well. It’s something to consider when thinking of opening for commissions…
RWT Results #26 - MORE HONCHKROW
Black & red bird pokemon FTW (aka for-the-wings)!
First 6 images are by piplup8910 [dA], made and work for A-kon 25. I love how big & full the feathers are, they make the silhouette very impressive, yet still fold down as unimposing as a bird ninja about to strike. :D Props to her mom for taking such awesome photos!
Next 4 pics are by GailFreebird [dA], not sure which event (will post more info/pictures if they become available) but this stylish gijinka has a more angular wing shape that works nicely with the corset.
A word from the costumer:
"I spent a total of 50hrs on this thing, and countless trips to Walmart and Hancock Fabrics. It uses about 4 yards of black felt, 2 yards of red felt, 3 yards of black magnolia fabric, 2 yards of suede red fabric, 3 yards of white ribbon, one 9 in zipper, one wool hat given to me, and 7 black feathers."
Want to see more images/originals? Click through the links below:
- piplup8910 - [Cosplay Image Gallery]
- GailFreebird - [Costume Image Gallery]
Made using my Realistic Wing Tutorial
RWT Results #25 - Nature Spirit
I figured it was finally time to upload my costume wings~ Here featured in a bird/nature spirit costume, they are still a work in progress, though I’ve worn them several times already. The credit for the concept goes to sunnybrook1. Without her realistic wing tutorial I would never have even known to try something on this scale!
Glad to be of assistance, these are awesome! :D Original designs are always welcome, since the wings can be whatever they want w/out being compared to a source.
ME: Was there any part of the tutorial you had trouble following? Did you “wing it” for any part? Or otherwise do your own thing to make it work?
raafling: I found it easy to follow and pretty much followed the steps as you showed them. I only put secondary feathers on the inside because of time/weight constraints. I think I’ll add single-layer secondaries on the outside. I’m planning to make coverts, but I’m not sure how yet. I’m probably going to do something a little more simple than what you’ve shown in your tutorial, and I’m planning to go through the pictures of costume wings you’ve reblogged for inspiration. The crocodile clips that connect the wings to my back have come loose from the ribbon a few times, so I’m still looking for an alternative for that.
ME: How heavy did the wings turn out to be? Where they difficult or tiring to wear?
raafling: The wings are fairly heavy (I don’t have scales or anything) but definitely wearable for an entire day. I tire easily if I spread them, but when keeping them low a lot of the weight is on the elastic, so it’s pretty comfortable mostly. They are really sturdy: I’ve worn them to a LARP camp, and even though I did not do any fighting, I still wore them two full days while doing normal things. I get a bit tender (not quite a bruise) where the buckles from the harness weight on my shoulders, but that was after two full days of wearing the wings.
ME: How was the reception? :D Did people like them?
raafling: People really like them! I keep showing them off, and people react really well. One of my friends is also looking to make them, so I pointed them to your tutorial. ^^
ME: What is your favorite part of making/wearing them? ALSO think you’ll ever add coverts?
raafling: I really liked the stringing, even though it was a quite a finicky task. The harness was a lot easier to make than I thought (I bought most of the supplies on a sail-making website) and I quite enjoyed bending the frame for the screw and bolt, even though I ended up with blisters. I’m going to paint my wings some more, and am thinking of adding metallic bronze highlights, so I’ll see how that turns out as well.
With wearing, I love spreading them fully or using them to point at things.
Etienne Lavigne was born in Montréal, Québec. He trained at L’École supérieure de ballet contemporain de Montréal in Québec. He joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1997. He was promoted to Second Soloist in 2003 and to First Soloist in 2007.
This dancer & these wings are perfect together! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ ~ ♥
Not bad, not bad, but take a look at these wing/feather drawing tutorials, I’m sure you’ll find some useful tips to improve this even more!
[ download link ]
[ Source ]
[ Source ]
RWT Results #24 - Long-legged Firebird
Didn’t mean to hold onto it for so long, this is an awesome original costume made by BethanyFirebird and her husband for a parade in April. :D It’s still a work in progress, but it’s still pretty cool looking, and I’m impressed that she wore these on stilts! It’s hard enough to have your hands occupied, but to be suspended up in the air too? Only for the most experienced stilt-walkers~
Though this would allow the wings to be longer without dragging on the ground, but would definitely require a handler for assistance - still, possibilities! :3
Made using my Realistic Wing Tutorial
Practical wings created as a starting point for the CGI ones on Maleficent!
I want to try and create a pair of wings of this size (personal project ;) ) These photos are a great inspiration!
Hey ya’ll, haven’t seen one of these in a while, yes? Well I’m happy to say that more are on the way now that some major conventions have run their course. You guys are AWESOME, by the way~ ❤ Keep it up!
RWT Results #23 - Medli (the third)
So we have another Medli from LoZ:Windwaker, this time by Megankaro over on deviantArt, worn for Anime North 2014. She won won Best Notice Wings in the masquerade competition, congrats!
I like how the painted-on coverts look, not as feathery as actual coverts but, as she told me, MUCH easier to make. The faux fur sleeve seems to work well in most of these photos - another point for faux fur - and as for her experience making & wearing them, here’s a bit from the costumer:
”I never constructed anything like this and it seemed like a big project at first but if you follow it step by step it turns out awesome. It is one of my favourite cosplays I have done to date. Many people took my photo and most people didn’t even realize they were able to spread out. I thought they would be heavier and more uncomfortable but I didn’t find it much different than having your arms out which is uncomfortable too. I do not have much strength in my arms either, I was able to wear them for three convention days at Anime North 2014. Mobility was difficult to bend down so I had a friend help me but that was about it. I was pretty confident and not worried about them breaking, they were constructed very well, and I foresee myself wearing this costume again in the future.”
I think my favorite costumes have surprises that aren’t always easy to spot, and these types of wings certainly deliver going from zero spread to WINGSPAAAAN! XD
Thanks for sharing these Megankaro!
First two © Lex Sibul from AnimeNorthPhotos.com [bonus pic!]
Next 3 © her friend haylau, aka the Link in the 2nd Photo
Against the curtain © Peter Wu
Watermarked image © Joe Huang of ViewtifulDesign.com
Remaining WIP pics from the costumers instagram account
Made using my Realistic Wing Tutorial
Laetitia Casta, Cannes Film Festival (May 26, 2013)
I normally try to reblog only wings, but feathers are a part of wings too & this is too floofly-cool to pass up! :D