Buy It For Life – Part Four: Cost

More expensive products are not always the best products, but how expensive an item is, is usually an indicator of quality. Cost is another hallmark of quality. Just because something costs more though, does not mean that that something is better, or does it?

There certainly is a relationship between cost and quality. It is impossible to make something very well, if the materials and the skill of the craftsman are poor. Highly skilled craftsman demand higher wages. The best materials naturally demand higher costs. If you buy a leather wallet for $20, you can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to last very long and may not even function like it should. I’ve bought my fair share of $20 leather wallets, which inevitably I throw out over time, because they eventually started falling apart. Comparatively, I purchased a well constructed wallet 2 years ago, and the wallet has only seemed to improve with time. The wallet cost me just under $60. At approximately 3 times the cost of more mainstream wallets, this new wallet is comparatively expensive. Considering that this wallet will most likely last my entire life, it is actually comparatively inexpensive.

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Does this cost/quality scale continue indefinitely though in a linear line? Is a $600 wallet, ten times better than a $60 wallet. There certainly are diminishing returns after a certain price point. Determining what that price point is, is difficult to do, and of course depends on the product category. With leather goods, there are four price points as they relate to quality: 1. Cheap 2. Decent 3. Great 4. Exceptional.

1. You can buy an inexpensive leather product and it will be cheap. It won’t last long, won’t look good after a little use, and will eventually fall apart.

2. A decent product will last longer, function better, but will be lacking in certain areas. It’s like buying a $20 belt at a department store. This belt will look good for a while and will do a good job, but you’re not going to have this belt longer than a couple years.

3. Great quality is the $100 belt. This belt can last last a lifetime if properly cared for. It is built with the best leather by skilled craftsman. It can improve with age, and you didn’t have to go into debt to acquire it.

4. The exceptional price point also provides for a great quality product, but at a price point so high that few can afford it. This is the $700 Hermes belt. Is the $700 belt that much better than the $100 belt? In some cases, perhaps, but in many cases, no. The vast majority of these products will also last a lifetime, they are made of the best materials and by the best craftsman. They are unique mostly because they cost so much. A deliberate attempt at pricing out the majority, in order to create exclusivity.

read more in the Buy It for Life series

Buy It For Life – Part One: Durability

Buy It For Life – Part Two: Aesthetics

Buy It For Life – Part Three: Design

Buy It For Life – Part Four: Cost

Buy It For Life – Part Five: Cachet

Buy It For Life – Part Six: Buy For Life Every Time?

Buy It For Life – Part Seven: 6 Rational Reason to Buy An Expensive Leather Bag Instead Of An Inexpensive Bag

Buy It For Life – Part Eight: What You Should Find In A Long Lasting Leather Bag

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