The other day I saw someone asking on Twitter about why curtains are so expensive. They may have asked to just get engagement but that was an interesting question. The truth is curtains are generally quite expensive. It is not just in Zimbabwe but worldwide. I then realized that this is a subject worth discussing. The purpose of this article will be to benefit two sets of people. One is the customers who purchase curtains. I want you to appreciate the bases of why that is so. Two are prospective curtain business owners. This will help you appreciate the dynamics behind why curtains are expensive.

Material Quantities And Quality Characteristics

You know very well that lots of materials are needed when making curtains. That applies when we are looking at it from an objective standpoint. , this regards generously considering the dimensions of the windows in question. If you are not cutting corners or being economical, the appropriate curtains require lots of material. This is exacerbated by the need to drape the curtains in folds. Thus, for instance, 3 metres in window width may require up to 9 metres of curtaining.

The same goes for the height; it overlaps the window area. Consider also that there usually is a need for more than one layer when making the curtains. All those details show that large material quantities are needed for making curtains. You then throw in the type or quality of the material. The material used e.g. linen, silk, velvet, tapestry, or cotton is usually costly to procure. Put these together and the layers keep thickening in terms of the costs of both making and you buying them.

The Need For Customization And Skilled Workmanship

Curtains that are expensive are often customized to certain specific applications. That customization aspect has a bearing on the amount of time spent making the curtains. As in, it takes some time to get those curtains done. Note as well that customization entails the addition of more items on the curtains. Those additions e.g. laces, add to the costs. Additionally, most expensive curtains are made by hand by skilled craftsmen or artisans. That again adds to the time needed to make them. After all, skilled expertise entails significant costs, amongst other costs.

Bear in mind that making curtains is quite complex though you might think it is easy. For instance, some materials e.g. silk and linen are extremely difficult to work with. No wonder specialized skill sets are needed. Realize also that curtains are usually multi-layered and typically big. That means lots of labour time is put in leading to more labour costs. When selling the curtains the price must be such that the operating costs are offset leaving a profit. Thus when you combine these elements they have bearings on the ultimate cost of the curtains.

Transportation Costs – Materials Or Completed Curtains

We already established that fabric will typically be costly. Lots of fabric is also usually needed. Next up is transport costs; transportation costs depend. For those selling curtains, they could be sourcing completed ones for resell. They could be sourced locally or they (in most cases) will be importing them. For others, it might be that they are making the curtains themselves. That would mean they have to source material or fabric. It can also be locally sourced or imported.

Whichever the case is, there will be significant transportation costs. Especially when importing. Why you may wonder. It is because be it fabric or curtains, they will occupy lots of space. More quantities, and more weight, lead to more demanding logistical arrangements lead to more costs. This leads to significant shipping costs and duty payments. Ultimately these expenses lead to high enough prices being charged to attain appreciable profitability.

NB: Note that these same dynamics will affect the wholesale or retail domain too. For example, there will be a need for lots of space for storage or display in-store. This means you will usually need a big brick-and-mortar facility to operate from. That means more rental or construction costs (whichever applies). You may also need more hands labour-wise. Transportation will still be a cost item that comes into the mix here and there. As you can see, the associated costs keep being numerous and significant.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is there are too many costly aspects along the curtains value chain. At every node, there are costs to be offset so as to make a profit. The burden is passed onto the next node by charging high. The last node along the value chain is the customer. Unfortunately, they are the ones who will have to bear the terminal burden of all the prior costs. It should not surprise you because of the reasons we discussed. More often than not all of these reasons (and more) will be at play.

These are some of the reasons why curtains are quite expensive. Granted, there may be curtains out there that are cheap – usually poor-quality ones. This reminds me of something Benjamin Franklin once said, The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. If that is the case chances are the reasons we discussed (or some of them) will not be at play. Otherwise whenever expensive it is highly likely the reasons we discussed are the bases. If you are to start a business focusing on curtains these reasons are pertinent. Some of them can actually be the basis of your value proposition. For instance, if you are selling curtains that were handmade that speaks expert craftsmanship. There are many people who would prefer that as opposed to something hurriedly made using some machines(s). Just one example but that is the idea. As for the consumers now you know why.