There is a famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi
“Its a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
we used to be an industrial nation
We made the world’s goods after much of it was destroyed in the Second World War. The result was an economy that thrived, and a citizenry that appreciated quality made goods. This resulting prosperity has somehow blinded most of us to the economic destruction happening around us. Many of our skills and industrialization has been exported to other cheap labor countries. This is not to say that all international trade is terrible, nay. In fact many countries do an exceptional job specializing in certain goods. What America has done so fatally is export what we are good at. Instead of having a culture of innovation we have a culture of innovation outsourcing.
This is catching up with America in dramatic ways. Our education standards are remarkably low. Once common skill sets such as machinist or leather worker are becoming much more rare and the standard of excellence has fallen. The cost of this innovation outsourcing has been a lost appreciation for quality made goods, being a throw away society, and becoming complacent about the durability of our products. But it hasn’t fallen everywhere. There are still great makers of quality goods with a passion for their trade. These are the people we must encourage, buy from, and promote.
consider the cost of cheap
Consider, if you would, the personal cost of living with a cheap item; the quick replacement frequency, the unenjoyable and meaningless experience, and fact that you just paid someone who cares only about volume rather than quality. You are just a cog in a giant money making machine that dispenses only junk destined for a sky scraping landfill when you buy those cheap flip flops.
What is the cost per use of something you use for one year and throw away versus something you can use for the rest of your life and pass on to your children? Think not only in terms of cash, but also enjoyment. 5 cheap items cost $50 apiece and one quality item costs $250. What is better to buy?
thanks be to the market
A lovely factor in this cost/benefit equation is the self balancing markets of competition. You may, like many do, suspect that you are spending your hard earned greenbacks on “name brand” when you spend the extra for “quality”. And sometimes you are right. However, in industries – such as the leather goods industry – there is a strong atmosphere of competition to make the best goods at competitive prices. When I first learned about quality leather goods I thought Saddleback Leather was one of the only (was one of the only companies producing high quality leather goods) companies because that was all I had been exposed to. Now, after running this site for a year and a half I have learned about hundreds of great companies who are competing ferociously for your dollars. And make no mistake, they all make great leather goods. Many just as good as Saddleback Leather and some better.
If you see an industry you think is overpriced and like to grouse about it then you should enter that market and compete with the companies who you perceive to be over-priced. Likely you will find doing business at that quality level is more expensive than you realize. Think Louis Vitton (who is not endorsed by BestLeather.org) is overpriced? Consider how expensive it is to market in the places they do to the people they do. Everything is expensive. The market has a way of punishing those with extravagant prices with competition ready to take just a little less margin. The result of competition in the leather goods industry is that there are many options of high quality to choose from, at very reasonable prices).
it is wise to spend the good money to buy the best
If you spend extra money on good products you will be repaid in several ways.
You will gain a product you can be proud of and use for a very long time.
It will do a good job and you will enjoy using it.
You will promote that maker who prioritizes quality and sophisticated skills.
- And you will not be spending money with a company simply looking to deposit your money while you deposit their product in the trash.
with some research you can find incredible value
The nature of competition and innovation has motivated some companies to find ways to present incredible levels of quality and prices not much higher than that of disposable goods. Consider that A Simple Leather Belt Co. will sell you an incredibly heavy 12oz veg tanned leather belt custom sized to you for $59! You can get their Cinch Belt (very unique) for $49. This is a belt that will last you for the rest of your life and it’s less expensive than many cheap belts out there! Only a loon would buy a genuine leather Dockers beltwhen options of much higher quality are available!
The conclusion you have reached now is simple. Buy better. Do more research. Spend that extra money for the product that will endure ten times longer and go to the pocket of the passionate craftsmen.