addressing an envelope: why you might want to do it yourself.

Image by  Brittany Mahood

Calligraphy envelope addressing isn't cheap.

Okay, fine, maybe it is if you look on Etsy and find people charging $0.33 CAD per envelope. Seriously, feel free to take a look. It's true. Anyone charging that is losing money and doesn't value their time. I want to give every one of those people a pep talk and let them know that they are worth so much more than $0.33 an envelope. 

As a point of reference, I charge $4 for addressing envelopes.

Yes, that's per envelope. And no, that's not high, but actually fairly average for the industry. 

Some people start with lower prices and charge more for dark/lined envelopes, or for extra lines, or for printed return addresses, or for different ink. I've opted to include all of the above in my base price.

Let's break it down. Why does addressing an envelope cost that much?

We'll create an imaginary order of 100 envelopes and explore it. 

Cost to client: $400. Plus the cost of the envelopes. 

Cost breakdown:

LABOUR: Let's say that on average, the calligrapher can address 10 envelopes in an hour. That's 6 minutes an envelope, and just shy of 10 hours of work to just address the envelopes. Add an hour for set up and clean up. Add another two hours for emailing back and forth with the client to get all accurate details and information, send proposals and invoices, and send a calligraphy sample or two. Add another two hours to check every envelope to make sure that you've written the correct name and address. Add another hour to digitally print the return address onto the envelopes. Now we're at 16 hours of work at $20 an hour, and we're already at $320. (Side note: Does $20 an hour seem steep? Remember they'll be taking off around 30% for income tax and purchasing their own health insurance. So we're down to less than $14 an hour.) Let me emphasize, these are conservative numbers.

MATERIALS: Costs aren't high here. About $10 for the nib and ink used. This doesn't include the things that are one time purchases, like nib holders and laser levels for straight lines. 

PROFIT: Now we're left with $70 "profit" to go towards various business expenses like office rental, marketing and social media promotion, endless hours of emails, further education, website developing, and subscriptions for design platforms, web development, and so on.

Cost of envelope addressing overview:

  • $320 in labour

  • $10 in materials

  • $70 profit for business expenses.

= $400 for 100 addressed envelopes.

So, is calligraphy envelope addressing worth it?

This is up to you. This is a big expense to add to your wedding invitation budget, and I'm not here to convince you that it's worth it and necessary. For most of you though, I don't think it is. 

If you want want pretty envelopes for your guests, I have another suggestion for you.

Why not learn to address your own envelopes?

After teaching basic calligraphy to many people throughout 2017, I've opened up a new course all about addressing your own envelopes. 

The best part? The workshop costs $80 (and not $400). 

You'll learn about envelope layouts and etiquette, practice alphabets, and get lots of instruction from me. PLUS you'll get a bunch of different pens to address your own envelopes with. We won't get into traditional pen and nib calligraphy here (it takes a lot of time and practice to learn with those tricky materials), so it's perfect for everyone who simply wants to learn the best ways to address their own envelopes with some extra flair. 

Not getting married this year? Maybe you have a friend who is that you'd like to help out, or maybe you'd like to uplevel your holiday cards for the end of the year. It's so fun for everyone to learn! 

The Details

When: Thursday, March 15 at 7pm
Where: The Store Next Door (530 Waterloo St, Winnipeg)
Cost: $80 (PLUS there are treats included. Like baking and lattes kind of treats!)

Find out all the details and register below!