You tell them, EP! And here is another area that costs increase dramatically:
When a Plushie Maker HAND SEWS their plushie AS I DO it takes 2-3 times longer than someone who is sewing everything on a sewing machine. For an 8" Plushie it takes me at least, depending on whether its an inside stitch or a traditional outside craft stitch, anywhere from 15 to 20-hours just to hand sew all the pieces together and another 10-15 on the mane and tale depending on the difficulty which includes hand embroidering the detailing. Then, add in:
HAND EMBROIDERY - I HAND embroider my plushies because a) I can't afford an embroidery machine, b) I like to make sure my gussets and body sections match in all the right places, and c) Hand Embroidery gives a dimensional look to it...it makes the eyes and cutie marks have that 'pop' factor. HAND EMBROIDERY IS TIME INTENSIVE. To do 1 eye for a 12" Pony Plush takes approx 3-Hours EACH (or more depending on type of eye as some are more detailed than the normal style). Hand Embroidering the Cutie Marks can take anywhere from 3-5 hours EACH depending on the difficulty of the CM. I'm currently making a 36" Applejack that has an eye that measures approx 8" in length and took me 8-hours to complete. I charge $15.00 an hour when I hand embroider (according to websites should be more). $15 x 8 = $120.00 just for doing 1 eye!
Also, per research Hand Embroidery is far more expensive as far as selling costs because of the time intensive labor involved and it is considered an 'art'.
We are 'Fabric Artists'. We aren't making toys here to play with (we can if you request it but it will be made different than our regular plushies), we are making 'fabric art' and some plushie makers even pack the stuffing in their 'plush art' to the point where its really fabric covering a stuffed sculpted body inside.
So, if you want the $25 plush that is 'MADE IN CHINA' and NOT 'Made in America with Pride' then I suggest you stick to Walmart, Target, and other stores of that nature, My least expensive pony plush are my "Adawwables' which measures approx 6" Hand sewn w/vintage button and either a simple hand embroidered cutie mark or a fabric CM (printed onto fabric and glued onto pony with Fabric Fusion glue) and that costs 35.00 depending on the difficulty & it most certainly takes me longer than 3.5 hours to make it...more like 6 which means if I charge the normal $10.00 an hour it should cost $60.00.
Now, do you really think its fair that we plushie makers are in most cases working for less than minimum wage? Sometimes its as low as $2.50 an hour! So, no its not, but sometimes our heart wants some of you out there to have something that is 'special and unique' from the commercial store bought ponies and so we cut our price (and any profit) in half.