In our search for the world’s most unique brands and stunning products, we come across a huge range of prices. Regularly, the price for the things that we consider to be “stylish” is higher than what you spend at any discount shop, global fast fashion brand or replica store. And this is a huge problem, not only for the designers but also for us as consumers.
I believe this dilemma raises two questions to be answered: firstly, why do designer pieces cost more? And secondly, why would I pay 10x more for an item when you can get something similar for less?
We could but should we?
My family is neither poor nor rich when it comes to money. We can afford to buy organic foods, new clothes and good shoes. We subscribe to Netflix and have private health insurance. With our kiddies we go out for dinner once a fortnight and have a nice holiday once a year. Life is good and there is nothing to complain about.
When it comes to purchasing art, designer clothes, furniture or other special interior items though, we do often shy away as the investment seems too big. Spending that money can feel like a waste if you compare it to the knock-offs and mass-produced copies you can get anywhere. Plus, do we really need a designer piece as much as we need other things? The immediate answer would be no, right? But is it?
Going Cheap Can Get Quite Expensive
Over the past year I have met many makers, artists and designers. I love connecting with them, hearing their story and seeing the world through their eyes. It’s one of the main reasons why I started StyleCarte in the first place. StyleCarte was never about increasing one’s life’s quality through expensive purchases but elevating our spirits through connecting with something more meaningful than just the item itself. Something that was created based on somebody else’s purpose and passion. An item that carries a lot more power and tells a story. A piece that has soul and connects you with another human being.
The other week I met Caren Elliss, an Australian furniture designer who designs and hand crafts amazingly beautiful stools and tables. When she showed me her Instagram page something clicked. I had seen her work before. I had actually considered buying it. That was until I saw the price tag… I remember thinking that at this stage of our life we could not spend close to $400 on a bar stool, especially not when we need 6 of them.
But wait, here is the twist: have you thought about how much money we are all wasting every month on “stuff”? How many purchases do we make week after week to fill a void to try to make us feel good? Let me put my hand up first. Yet, the older I get the more I realise that those small fixes only work temporarily. Those impulse purchases never really create a spark and fill me with passion. They are just plasters and occupational therapy. I am sure if I were to keep a household book I’d find the necessary $2,400 within a year. Wasted on things that I never use, that have broken down in the meantime or that I don’t even like.
When A Saved Penny Is Spent, An Excitement Is Earned
It was important for me to meet and talk to Caren Elliss AFTER I had “met” her designs. It made me again realise that often the price asked for handmade (designer) pieces is not expensive due to greediness. I heard how Caren first designed her chairs, how she continues to craft many parts of her pieces herself simply because she loves the process. I saw how asking for money is less her thing and that it merely is the medium she needs to keep following her passion.
Yes, sometimes when we pay a high price for designer pieces it purely is to cover extensive marketing cost and to create a sense of exclusivity. But on StyleCarte we focus on designers who charge for the quality they provide, for the endless hours of research, trial and errors and labour that go into creating something great. We pay to fill our lives with some of their passion as it touches us. And we also support them in their quest to revert the industry back to local, sustainable and fair. Yes, sometimes these things are an investment or may seem expensive. But what could be nicer than bringing something delightful into your life while acknowledging the person who created it.