The title of this blog post is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that is emblematic of why we built MADE TO LAST.
We believe that there are reasons behind all prices and that current consumer culture with the focus on buy cheap, use, discard and replace in a constantly accelerating cycle has to end.
If we are to achieve simple value for money, but more importantly basic human rights for all and a planet that is sustainable then we need to look at the products we purchase in a multi-faceted way rather than simply focusing on price.
This video shows a simple and clever way to communicate to consumers that there is no such thing as cheap – someone always pays the price:
At MADE TO LAST our key concern is not low product prices but rather value for money (although of course there is a relationship in many cases). We want to make it easy for people to understand value for money.
We know many people do wonder why a cheap product is the price that it is.
However, a low price often removes the perceived risk in purchasing a product. This encourages people to NOT think through a purchase deeply enough. The thought of why it is cheap is fleeting and soon is overcome by the perceived value in the low price.
When we started out planning MADE TO LAST we wanted to find a way to simplify the communication of quality and value for money so that it kick starts a deeper thought process in the mind of a consumer.
For example; why would you choose a £395 coffee table over a £29.99 one?
This is a coffee table on Argos:
And then this is one of our coffee tables:
Obviously the design is much nicer on the Bee9 coffee table but is it 10 times nicer? What else makes it worth paying 10 times as much?
We can use the product description, images and a video to communicate the design, the materials used in the construction of the table as well as the thought on behalf of the designer but in reality this is still not enough to persuade most people that it is worth 10 times more.
Our solution to this problem is product guarantees.
Most products that you purchase will come with a 12 month guarantee/warranty so that as a consumer you are covered under the eventuality that your product breaks within that time frame. But nothing after that.
In the case of a £29.99 table a 12 month warranty is probably about right but when you have companies like Apple selling premium priced computers for £1000 and then charging for any kind of warranty beyond 12 months it somehow does not feel right.
At MADE TO LAST we decided that everything we sell must come with a clear guarantee of at least 1 year and in most cases our suppliers give much longer guarantees than that.
Using product guarantees enables a few important things to happen:
- It gives each product 2 easily comparable values – price AND guarantee length.
- It gives the consumer peace of mind that the company that made their product are proud of it and are willing to stand behind it with a clear promise.
- It begins a thought process in the consumers mind that takes them deeper than simply focusing on price and whether or not they like the look of a product.
For us the third point is key: We want consumers to understand what they are buying and to read the product descriptions fully and to appreciate the work and the heritage that goes into many of the products that we sell on MADE TO LAST.
Once you start thinking about the real utility and pleasure derived from using a good quality product as well as the value for money over the long term then buying poor quality cheaply makes less sense.