Harly Kin

Why fursuits are too cheap - or - how to (not) starve an artist

Since "Your fursuits are sooo expensive" and "I'm a student on a budget, can't you make me this cheaper ?" are reocurring comments for every costume maker out there, I decided to make a public price analysis of fursuit making. Yes, it is a lot of number crunching, but if you follow me through to the end, you will understand a lot more about how companies in general, and artists in particular have to calculate their prices, and why technically even 3000 Euros/Dollars would be a fair price for a custom fursuit.

It may also be a guideline for new makers out there, to find their own correct price.


First of all, we have to agree that costume making is a professional business. Meaning the person making your costumes full time needs to be able to pay his bills and make a, by the standards of his country, decent living.

Second, creating costumes is a complex process that needs not only artistic skills, but also practice in handcrafting, sewing, polymer technology, resin working, barbering, metalworking and so on. A work that not anyone can do. ...otherwise you would build your suit yourself, wouldn't you ?
Now, what is a decent wage for a skilled artistic professional ? I think we all agree that it's worth more than mopping the floor at McD, which anyone can do. And we're neither talking about a student wage as well, but a real profession. The maker possibly wants to have a family at some point, like everyone else. Let's start low and set his wage at  20 Euro/Dollar per hour after tax.

Third, fursuit making comes with additional costs. The maker needs a workshop of some sort, machines, crafting materials, insurance, electricity, ... and lastly also taxes need to be paid.

Fourth, how long does it take to make a fursuit ? Or calculated from the other end: How many fursuits can you build per week/month/year ?


In an ideal world, how fast can your custom suit be made ?

1 day   - that's how long it roughly takes to make a professional but basic body suit.
1 day   - for making your hand- and footpaws
3 days - creating your custom head. Sculping, shaping, furring, trimming, eyes, mouth,...
1 day   - texturing. Your suit has markings ? Add a day for sewing or airbrushing all the details
1 day   - Oups, you didn't provide ready made 1:1 paper patterns and materials ? Then your artist needs a day to make those, and do the material shopping, browsing for resources, ordering stuff...
0,5 day - Do you expect the artist to talk to you ? Answer your mails and chat about details ? Actually, that is lost working time for him as well.

So we are already at 60 working hours for a basic, textured full fursuit.

"Hm, not too bad.. 60 hours, 20 bucks.. makes 1200 for a full suit, right ?"  WRONG !
Not only did we forget the materials, there's a lot more fun stuff to be included.
For now, we will memorize that with 60 hours per suit, a maker could probably create 3 suits per month.

A year has 10, maybe 11 months. Wait, it has 12, you say ? Well, like everyone else, our artist is allowed a month of paid vacation, no ? And he needs some time off to attend conventions and meet you in person. So, a 10.5 months working year will create a maximum of 31 suits. And come to think of it, over 30 suits a year IS quite a lot, don't you agree ?


We obviously need a workshop. That means rent. And we need water, heating and electricity there. We probably want to insure the place and machinery. And having a phone and internet there can't hurt either. Your milage may vary, but I would put down about 400 bucks per month. Add 200 per year for whatever maintenance and we have a nice round 5000 Euro/Dollar per year.

A workshop also needs machinery. A professional sewing machine, pro airbrush equipment, many many different powertools, spare- and replacement parts, occasionally some furniture/shelves. Equipment for 5000 money units is easily collected. Unfortunately this stuff ages. A machines lifespan is 4, maybe 5 years. That means we have a statistical machinery cost of 500 Euro/Dollar per year.

These 5500 annual money units need to be covered by the 31 fursuits. Which adds about 180 Euro/Dollar to each suit made.

Now the actual material cost. The materials for the actual costume will cost somewhere between 300 to 600. Good faux fur costs 30 to 60 per yard/meter. Silicones, resins, latex and sculpting materials that we need are very expensive. Buying taxidermy eyes/claws/teeth isn't exactly cheap either.  If you go for superspecial stretch-fur or leather, it's even more. So here we go, adding some (average) 450 bucks just for the material.


Yes, I know, nobody likes them, but as a business, you have to pay them.
And therefor you have to include them in your calculation.
In my country, they are roughly as follows:

- 15.5% Health insurance. (This may be debatable, but there is no way around it here, and to be honnest, asking your costume maker to risk his health to work cheaper for you is rude.
- 20% Income tax and other minor duites
- 19% VAT value added tax.


 1200 for the actual work your artist is doing for you
+ 180 auxiliary costs
+ 450 material costs
 1830 total net cost
+ 284 (this suits share of 15.5% income based health insurance cost)
+ 366 (20% Income tax and duties for this suit)
+ 348 (19% VAT for this suit)
2828 Euro/Dollar total, without shipping.
Yes, this means that a decently priced normal fullsuit should cost almost 3000 Euro/Dollar.


A) Costume artists love their work. But they have bills to pay just like you.
B) More than half of the pricetag is for taxes and auxiliary costs.
C) If your fursuit is cheaper than 2500 Euro/Dollar, your artist is likely working for less than minimum wage.

  • Current Mood
    working working
Harly Kin

Something good, some bad, something annoying.

Returning from my business trip, I have mixed news.

The good: Found a few suppliers for pile fabric that will provide me with a constant supply of nice high quality furs.

The bad: The better quality furs are really expensive and the color range is quite limited. But since I airbrush your desired pattern anyways,  this only affects the more colorfull critters.

The annoying: Due to some strange contracts and law regulations my company landlord has, he is legally obliged to replace all the windows and the main door with brick wall, because there will be a new building built on the neighbouring ground.
This will likely result in us needing to relocate and move the workshop someplace else.
  • Current Mood
    disappointed disappointed
Harly Kin

Away for the weekend

I will be away for the annual Eurofurence meeting.
To make the trip a bit more productive, I will try to make a few detours to france, belgique and back to germany on the way back, visiting a few fakefur mills beggining on the week.

Next week is commission week again then.
  • Current Mood
    determined determined
Harly Kin

Autumn Queue 2011

We are back from Eurofurence and setting up the workshop for the new batch of commissions. It was great to meet so many old and new friends, even if being stretched between maintaining the lounge, running fursuit support and events, being at my table in the dealers den, keeping contact with city partners and trying to meet people kept me on a tight schedule. I will be busy most of september away from the workshop. So this months schedule is:
  • finish tiger fullsuit - Luckytiger
  • upgrade hindpaws - Zunami
  • work on sets of claws, teeth and pawpads
Here's the current queue, in no particular order, starting october 2011:
  • Fox fullsuit                          - Harlequin
  • Lizard plush sleeper        - Talon
  • Phoenix plush sleeper    - Coco Eagle
  • Foxtoy mask                       - IrateFox
  • Dragon tail                           - GlaceusFrost
  • Puma tail                              - Jay Paw
  • Raccoon tail                        - Pepsi Pooch
  • Skiing Mask                          - Pegla
  • Fox tail                                  - Chubby Cruso
  • Tigergryph tail                   - Amurtigress
  • Hare ears                              - Briareos
  • The purple vinyl thing    - Felinius
New commissions: Small items like tails and alike get squeezed in between suits. New suits will be added to the end of the queue. Undersuits and spandex costumes back in stock: For fursuiters, we have spandex undersuits in several styles available, along with an assortment of furry spandex costumes of our own designs.

Winter/Spring queue 2011/12 is open and starts to fill:
Fursuit Sleeper  - Hysi
Partial Fursuit    - Kaarlo
Fursuit Sleeper  - Hegdish
Dragon Head - Stich-Mimulus
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished
Harly Kin

Emergency survived.

If you are reading my private LJ, you know that a medical emergency sent me to hospital last week.
Well, I am happy to say that I survided surgery and that I am back home recovering. I should be back to work this week. :-)

Harly Kin

Copyright statement

Since people tend to give me reference pictures to work from when creating costumes for them,
occassionally even ask me to copy a certain design, I want to make clear that I will not be
involved in any kind of copyright infringement. I will not steal a design for any client.

If you want to order a specific costume or design from me, unless it is my part of the contract to design something for you myself, it is mandatory that I have your written assertion that you own the copyright of that character/design, or you have legal permission to use and have reproduced said character/design.

If a costume design is created by me, the buyer has the right to use it non-commercially. Reproduction  or commercial use rights are not included. If the design is to be used commercially or copied, my written consent is required, including the field and duration of use.

I respect the work and creativity of other artists, and I ask for the same in return.
Thank you all for understanding.
  • Current Mood
    working working
Harly Kin

I'm back

Wow, february really was not working with me. Sickness knocked me out for the entire month.
I'm now back to good health and returning to the studio.
Just spent a couple of hundred Euro on fresh epoxy, sculpting clay and other materials to work with. :-)

So, first things first:
- Set up photo area
- Mail out a few furry caps
- Take pictures of Hysi Coyote, then ship him to Finland
- Slushcast Tiger mask
- Sculpt new fox mask

- catch up with everything else
  • Current Mood
    energetic energetic
Harly Kin

Long term email accident

It is very possible that I did not receive your emails or you did not receive my replies !

This mainly affects my mystic-creatures account, but might include other mail accounts.
If you sent me an important email during the last weeks and/or are still expecting my reply, please resend your mail. I will try to catch up in the coming days, while recovering from Influenza

What happened ?
Some time after new year my domain provider moved accounts to new servers. Unfortunately without informing me. They set up a new mail account for mystic-creatures, but at the same time keeping the old, now inactive account alife.

So what happened was that any incoming mail was sent to the new account, that I didn't even know existed,
while any mail I sent out was directed to the old account, that wasn't forwarding things any more. An ideal setup to stall everything without creating any failure notices.

I only noticed this about a month later now, when I was trying to send myself an e-mail.

My apologies, if this possibly caused any inconvenience on your side.
You can now safely reach me again through info@mystic-creatures.com
Harly Kin

Help wanted --- We need web design.

I came to realize, that I will never have enough time to bring our website to life as nice and professional as it should be.

Thus I am calling for you artists and web designers out there.
www.Mystic-Creatures.com needs a complete webdesign and we're looking for artists / web designers to help us.

We can't throw a lot of money at you. To make up for that, we are offering trade and costume credits. ( I will explain how that works, as soon as you contact us.)

So by all means, if you are interested in helping us out, do not hesitate to contact us.
If you can, please include some refence works you did before.

E-Mail us! info@mystic-creatures.com

Messengers are not reliable, but if you want to give it a try:
ICQ: 619595857
AIM: MysticCreatures
MSN: Mystic-Creatures
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    hopeful hopeful