Why is my work so expensive?!!!

**I apologize in advance for grammatical errors**

I understand my work seems expensive, but I also know it’s worth more. But I do my best to keep it as low as possible.

Some responses to emails are “that’s just for artwork?” Yes, it is. A mixer is additional. The additional cost varies based on the model chosen, or you may provide your own. I tell all my clients if you would like to save a few bucks Amazon sells them cheaper, here in Seattle, and drop ship it to me for free.

I work in a full service shop, not out of my home, not in my garage, so I have overhead. It’s expensive too. A quart of my paint (at my cost) varies from $60 (for one color) to over $140. That also doesn’t include a reducer, clear, catalyst, and other related materials I use.

Next, you’re buying AN ORIGINAL piece of art. Not a stick on decal, not a reproduced piece, not a water transfer. Hand painted for hours. I take a lot of pride in my work and I am a professional. I bust my butt on your project. I want it to be the best I can provide for you and for me.

Another response “I see others out there, I can go to them.” If you’re saying this to me to try to change or lower my prices, then maybe I’m not the artist for you. I stand 110% behind my work. I know these machines, and I am extremely passionate about them. I can guarantee I put more work into some than I get paid for.

Lets take a walk through this design:


Looks simple right? It’s the easiest looking ones that are the most challenging sometimes.

I spent a good part of a day for internet research…because I needed to find inspiration. Finally it came to me. Then I do a digital rendering on a mixer to see if I like the vibe of it and if it speaks to the client. Another hour or so…if my computer likes me, less.

From there, I send the design to Zach our graphic designer. He takes the digital concept and draws it out, sometimes modifies it or changes it etc…to what I need. This design took Zach a few hours to vectorize, space properly and added a subtle pattern in the pattern. He plots it out of our plotter, prepped the masking material for layout. (sticky tape like).

After Zach has started, to save time I am disassembling the mixer, removing the hardware, sanding it down and cleaning it for paint. Reassemble it before I apply the design. Since you are trying to put a flat design on a curved object, it takes longer. This design was another few hours to apply. I am really weird about having it perfectly centered. From the under belly to flow under the neck and over the top and down the back. Then, the design has to be the same around the sides.

Once it’s laid out, I finally get to spray some paint. After I am done adding color I take off all the mask and tape. From there to clean up any flaws. Once everything looks good I prep it for clear, clean it up, and make sure no oils from our hand are there. Again, disassemble it for maximum coverage. Abel cleans the booth to prevent any hair or dirt from possibly falling in the gloss as it dries. He spends 15-20 minutes adding a gloss coat. When he is done it takes two days before we can sand it again, then buff it to a glass shine. After that I hired Dave our pinstriper to come in. He adds the final touch of hand painted stripes (shown in second picture). It dries. I can reassemble it, then I spend time doing a photo shoot. Editing pics etc…Box up the mixer, and drop it off at our shipping company.

Lets go to this one below that requires a whole lot more of freehand work.

This design requires a lot of vector time by Zach, and a whole lot of paint time by me. The rivets alone are 3 stages of taping and painting. And prior to painting even making sure they are spaced perfectly.  Same rules apply to the shark mouth on both sides. Notice the checkered nose? Yes, seamless. The checkers are measured so that even with the head up, it meets together, not overlapping. This all takes a lot of time. And tweaking.

To two-tone the belly is a pain. It has to look centered on a surface that doesn’t really give you a visible marker. So I double-check a taped-off line from the top, table edge, sides and back. Once I think I’ve got it I proceed to cover the entire mixer with tape and paper to paint it.

The pin-up. The pin-ups face is only an inch big. Compare it to the bolt. A tiny face is hard because you’re trying to make something real sized down to the size of a quarter, with all the shadows, highlights, detail that real size has. This can take me from 4-6 hours just on a face. They are really easy to mess up. You still have the body to paint…

And all we’re taking about on this one is the artwork time and prep. Not even calculating the time on research I spent to make sure all is accurate. Or digital rendering time. Remember these are NOT decals, water transfers etc…They ARE Hand painted. And take many hours to do so. From the basic research, to concept, to vector time, to prepping and sanding, disassembly, to artwork, to finishing.

A gallon of clear (that I use) is nearly $500 alone a gallon with reducer etc…I use expensive products to achieve the results I do. I don’t take a spray can to it and leave the hardware on. I don’t paint on top of the existing KitchenAid color. Everything is done in a professional manner. If you take a few minutes and really look I don’t just paint the top, I paint the undersides to. I make all the colors myself, not out of the can. I go the extra mile. Because I love what I do.

BREAK DOWN per job *AVERAGE Project:

Lets say a $500 project

-Internet Research 2 hrs (shop rate is $65 an hour here, some places its more)

-Prep & disassembly 1 hour

-Base coat 30 minutes

-Zach’s time 3-5 hours

-My time in artwork..Days and I don’t just work 8 hours. I put in 34 hours in last two days.

-Clear, wet sanding and buffing 1 hour

-Assembly 30 minutes

-Actual cost of materials used per this project $134.00 This includes clear, paint, masking material, etc…

=$654. I didn’t even add my time.

Why don’t I charge this, well, because it’s on a mixer. I love what I do. If I charged shop rate people would think I was crazy. They don’t understand how much time and money it takes for each project. Now if I were to do this on a truck or motorcycle, you’re talking thousands. I would get paid for the time too.

So, if you want a $50 paint job, I am ok with that, but I am not your girl. That is why we are also working diligently to provide full color decals of my artwork at a fraction of the cost of custom paint. The decal site is http://www.customkitchencouture.com

And I do a custom painted KitchenAid giveaway twice a year, so keep an eye for those too!

I just wanted to provide insight and paint a picture of what I do. And with all of this, I am still answering emails and doing your renderings. Sorry for the super long blog, but it is the only way I know how to share with you what  I do, and the time it takes me.


32 responses to “Why is my work so expensive?!!!

  1. That was a very nice reply… not that you should have to justify your work.. it is amazing! One thing about the internet now is that a person can find every range of anything they would like…. your market are not interested in anything but what you do no matter the price 🙂 By the way.. trucks and motorcycles.. you pain them too? Big trucks? Motor homes?

  2. My husband surprised me with one of Nicole’s mixers for Mother’s Day of this year. It’s black with tropical flowers and butterflies. It is a piece of art made by an artist. Very professionally made. If you’re looking for a “one of a kind” piece, then Nicole is your girl. DEFINATELY worth what she charges, and then some!

  3. My father is an artist and he constantly gets asked to do peoples’ portraits for free. He explains to those folks that they wouldn’t ask a carpenter, a landscaper, or a caterer to do work for them for free, so why is an artist any different? My dream is to one day own one of your original Kitchenaid designs. In the meantime, I will admire your work from afar or buy your decals, which are a viable option for those who aren’t willing to pay for your original designs or just can’t afford them (that’s me!). Your work is AMAZING and worth every penny and more. I’m the daughter of an artist, so I appreciate artists more than most people would.

  4. Honey, YOU are worth every penny you charge for these paint jobs. I drool every time I look at your work. I will own one, one day. I am just not sure of a design and color. I would love Tink but I think not because of the copywrite thingy. The horse one you did, my youngest daughter fell in love with. My oldest daughter fell in love with the sunflowers on yellow, and my middle daughter LOVES the underwater dolphins one. Me, I couldn’t pick just one ha.

    Have a question though, QVC has awesome deals on KitchenAid mixers several times a year. You get extra and so on for a deal that is awesome usually. Question is, if I decide what to do with one, could I have it shipped from QVC directly to you to do? Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

  5. I can’t imagine why anyone would even question the price you charge after seeing the incredible work that you put out. The designs are just outstanding and the attention to detail is clearly obvious.
    As a designer and artist myself, I am thrilled to see when someone takes such pride in their work. There are far too many shabby artists that just do enough to get by and far too few real craftsmen or craftswomen.
    Keep up the good work! One day, I too will own one of these wonderful mixers. Of course, I would love to be able to afford to give one to every cook I know!

  6. Your artwork is worth every penny! I can’t afford one yet, but one day. Just keep sharing the pictures so I can live vicariously!

    Thank you for every ounce of love you put into your art!

  7. I love this post! I understand art and loving what you do (and also the part about not charging “shop rate” because you do love what you do!) I design and make custom cakes…not the kind you get in the grocery store. I don’t spend 15 minutes on a cake; everything is baked/made from scratch and I take extreme pride in every cake that goes out the door. I applaud you taking a stand for your art! Not many people believe that much in what they do. Someday, I will own one of your beautiful pieces of art on one of my 3 mixers! Keep up the awesome work!

  8. Wow, I always kinda knew it was art for love! I saw my first, up close and personal, painted KA last summer at a bread baking class. It was the flame design, done at a local motorcycle shop. Very cool, but not very girlie. I’m a girl. Plain and simple. Doesn’t mean I’m a push over, though. Knew I wanted my KA baby painted ~one day~. Just wasn’t going to settle. When I saw the PW design and stumbled over to Nick’s web site, I was completely blow away. Speechless, really. Although these works of art are “customized” for each person, each and every one is unique. I need unique and I wanted something girlie and that felt like “me,” so I’m going with Nick’s talents. No question. Simple. This isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. I’m just thankful that Nick shares her gifts with the rest of us. Art work is personal, just like the price we choose to pay for it. Nick has really listened to me to develop her design for my KA, even “heard” things about me that I didn’t even say. 🙂 I’m so excited to see my baby when she is finally all painted and pretty! I probably said too much today…

  9. I own the sunflower mixer… It was a a gift… But I have seen Nicole work here at our facitly, and I know the time and the effort and the LOVE that she puts into these mixers… WELL worth what she is charging… I would gladly pay if I was to get another one… because… I JUST LOVE THEM!! Kari

  10. I grew up helping my uncles paint custom corvettes & boats (countless hrs learning how to wet-sand, mask & hand pinstripe) AND I also do sewing & upholstery…people really don’t understand the process involved unless they’ve actually done it…the attention to detail, making sure the graphics line up on different parts to flow together, the layering…it really is a lot of work & the time involved can be hard to keep track of, if you enjoy the job you’re working on.

    I just recently found your websites, though I’ve admired your work in the past without knowing it (Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, owns one of your pieces, I recognized it in your gallery)…if I had the money, I’d buy one in a heartbeat & never blink at what you’re asking for these one of a kind, personal expression pieces….they’re gorgeous!!!


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  12. I just found your site because of Pioneer Woman’s custom mixer. I fell in L-O-V-E … LOVE with your work. I have a boring silver Kitchen Aid mixer (KG25H3XSL). Don’t get me wrong, I love the mixer, but the color leaves a lot to be desired. I would soooo love to have you make it beautiful, but am afraid to ask how much it would to get it done…. but then again… it would look sooo amazing in my kitchen. I love PW’s mixer, but it started out orange… mine is silver… favorite color is hot pink. Now you see my dilemma?;)

  13. your work is worth every penny and more! i’ve been looking around the web, and yours is far and away the best. as a professional makeup artist with more than a decade of time spent on the job, don’t get me started on being questioned on your rate. i’ve come to adopt a very zen attitude about knowing my worth and kindly telling those questioning clients to simply go find another artist that better fits their needs. (they always become the most annoying clients anyway!) keep up the amazing work!!

  14. No question, you get what you pay for! I don’t mind paying for quality. Anyone can throw some paint at a project or stick on some vinyl decals, etc.

    What you are purchasing is ORIGINAL ART! That’s what attracted me!

    NOBODY has a guitar like mine, nobody! I’ll be able to say that about my other guitar as well, once it comes back!

  15. Well who ever pissed you off I’m gald !!! Let them know what you do & you shouldn’t have to explain yourself. What you do is true art !! I am saving as I write !!! It may take me a while but this will be my one guilty pleasure !! I bake pretty much everyday and love what I do. So to be able to rock at what I do with the tools that I love will be even better !!! Glad you stood your ground !!! Have a wonderful week

  16. You are an artist and these are beautiful, functional pieces of art. The fact that you even felt you had to explain this to folks is SAD! I doubt folks asked Monet to explain the cost of his work, SHAME on those that asked you WHY! Your art is worth every penny you charge and much MORE, someday I hope to own a piece of your art, but like any other quality piece of art, this is something I am saving for ( I really am) and that I will showcase in my home! I LOVE your work and think it is worth every cent!

  17. You should never have to explain why your work is “so expensive”. Anyone who’s asking that — is the same type of person that will ask for a discount at your cost. Anyone who doesn’t understand what original artwork is what it takes to do that and why it costs that, Needs to simply enjoy the photos and let it go.

    “It’s an object that also handles food. It has to be done correctly”. That should be enough to suffice.

  18. When I looked up your prices I was surprised how affordable you are! I think you can and should charge more. I know a lot of artists so I understand better what is going into the project. You are worth it. You are incredibly talented! Keep up the good work 🙂

  19. Your work is amazing and worth every penny, I can’t wait to own one of your One of a kind masterpieces. True pieces of art are an investment and can be handed down for generations and only go up in value. That’s how many, many people view your artistry and if others can’t see that then its their loss. Keep up your amazing talent and keep making people happy with your blessings.

  20. Very nice way to put it. You do great work. Everyone artist goes thru “I can ge it cheaper down the road”, I’m a photographer and artist and I get people wanting it cheap. Most of the time I just send them out the door. I charge $3,500 just to restore a vintage bicycle and that’s the basic starting price.

    Keep doing the great work and send my greetings to Mike.

  21. Thank you for bringing us through the process, it’s really interesting. Though I am sorry that you felt you had to do that and that people are trying to make you feel bad about your prices.
    Happy (rainy) Monday!

  22. I have one and never considered it overpriced or too expensive. Expensive, yes, and so are diamonds, fine food and fine art. If you want to collect those things, you know there is a price attached. I love my mixer and it was worth every cent and more!

  23. I attempted to airbrush once and got so frustrated I literally screamed…And I am quite crafty and artistic. Airbrushing, IMO, is WAY more trouble than it is worth, so I commend you on these gorgeous works and if I ever can afford to have something like this done, you’ll hear from me because I am CERTAINLY not doing it myself. 🙂

  24. Hey there,

    I’d like to have yoi do a mixer for me, but there’s no contact info in your write up.

    Do you have a Website or maybe an Instagram page?

    If you do, DM me on IG @g3carbon to tall about the project.

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