Cheap turns expensive at Urban Outfitters

$24 posters at Urban Outfitters, six times the price as a Slope store. Photos by Sarah Bibi.

The buzz about whether Urban Outfitters allegedly makes a habit of stealing artisans’ work has been roaring recently. I recently unearthed one more reason to look elsewhere for my eclectic goods: Cheap wall coverings available for $4 at local paper stores, which cost six times as much at Urban Outfitters!

A year ago, I discovered the huge money saver of buying vintage imagery gift wrap to use as wall art. Last May, I blogged about some of sheets I bought Scaredy Kat, a local Park Slope store, and at the chain Kate’s Paperie, mostly from a line called Cavallini. I found beautiful textbook and vintage anatomy prints for about $4 each. Add a $5 Ikea frame and you have a lovely piece of ready-to-hang art for less than $10.

Same prints available for a fraction of the price at Scaredy Kat


About two months ago, I was in Urban Outfitters and saw several of my favorite images for sale as “posters” in the home section. For the same piece of gift wrap, with the addition of a slab of cardboard and shrinkwrap, Urban Outfitters is selling sheets like the “A Picture of Good Health” Phrenology poster for $24. The same sheet at Scaredy Kat is $3.75.

When I stopped into Scaredy Kat this past weekend, I almost expected the prices to have increased dramatically. Owners Damon and Nora were not aware Urban Outfitters was selling the wrap at a huge markup. Their extensive stock of Cavillini gift wrap remains at the reasonable price of $3.75 per sheet. (My “Les Champignons” mushroom specimen “poster” is also available for the same price, as opposed to $24 at UO).

If you aren’t near Park Slope, Cavallini directs you to an online site that sells the sheets for just a bit more ($4.50 each plus shipping).

Do you have a favorite store in Brooklyn that sells Cavillini wrap? Let me know!

Follow Sarah: @Sarahbibi.

6 Comment

  • I got a gorgeous 1940’s map of Brooklyn last year at Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Boerum Hill. It was also wrapping paper, printed by another company, and was less than $4. They also had vintage subway maps of New York too. Hopefully Cavallini and the other companies won’t feel the need to start raising their prices because of Urban Outfitters.

  • I have a few Cavallini maps that I bought at Fred Flare before they closed down, but certainly not for as cheap as at Scaredy Kat. Thanks for the tip!

  • How did anyone not already know this? Urban Outfitters is the Readers Digest of retail. They cram whatever trendy 100%polyester/acrylic/plastic scenester commodities they can into some garish, over-designed space, mark it up for 1000% and unload it on those too ignorant/lazy to support independent sellers. How anyone condones or patronizes this behavior is perplexing to me.

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