A BMK, Benson or Robertshaw goes for around $300/£200. In terms of materials and construction they're as good as it gets and they're sewn by the designer.
$500 does seem like some one is trying something
Trying what? You don't have to buy them. Please don't bash the man by saying he's some how trying something. He gets what he can get for them. He loves kites and kiting and he's not getting rich but making his passion available to others.
I am happy with his kites and it makes me feel good when I buy something from him. Knowing that my money is in small way helping support the passion he puts into the design, the build and flying too.
Go up to him at the next festival you're at, talk to him and you'll see he loves this stuff and it shows in the product. Not just the quality of the kite but the quality of the flight. It is funny how many of you like to bash a product that you have never even seen, let alone tried. If you don't like it, fair enough don't buy it.
What makes a 500 dollar kite?
An E3 is a design based on "Looking good in the store" "how many of these can we sell" and "how can we make them cheap enough to so we can include a cool looking bag?" It's a business kite, a kite store kite. Can it trick? yeah it's O K if you like that sort of kite, comes with a nice bag though. If Mark put his effort into the performance of the kite instead of the shelf appeal, it would possibly be a great kite.
A Fearless is a design based on "I want to fly the best trick kite in the world and sell them to others too". It's made by the same man who designs and flies them. Lam puts many hours into the design and then every detail of the kite when he builds them too. It's also a time consuming design to sew. Look at the tight curves in the details around the eyes or the waves. Even given all that, they are still very expensive. Is it worth $500? Yeah, for many it is. I would buy a kite from Lam for 2-3 times the price of a E3 and never regret 1 cent of the money I spent. Why? Because I would fly it more, enjoy it more and get my monies worth out of it!
He also make a less expensive kite that is easier to sew. They're still not cheap but more in line with a BMK or Benson in price.
Lam's kites ROCK! End of story.