As a store owner, it is a joy to see more people seeking out original product design. They want to know more about a product’s designer and where the product was made. Customers now want the story of the product’s origin and want products of higher value, not necessarily at a higher price. This new trend includes scrutinizing a product’s originality, material, manufacturing quality and, increasingly, its sustainability. Most importantly, customers want to know the product is the original and are prepared to pay more for it.
This new questioning of product integrity is a decided shift against the growing number of “replicas” or outright copies with poor quality on the market. Consumers are tired of experiencing the disappointment that comes with buying a product that has a certain “look” only to discover that you get inferior quality at a lower price.
Additionally, leading brands are keen to protect their product design investment against copying that in other industries might be viewed as counterfeiting. In a recent landmark case, Gucci was awarded $150 million dollars in damages from online retailers knowingly selling counterfeit product.
As retailers and customers, buying less and buying better is a decision we can all make that contributes to society. Saving for something adds a level of excitement and achievement.
Personally, there are many pieces of original product design that I aspire to own and am saving up for at the moment. Some people have forgotten how it feels to yearn for something and plan to acquire it. When I eventually can afford an Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, I will cherish it forever and will one day hand it down to our children.
I often hear the complaint that an original is “too expensive.” Good quality materials and craftsmanship create a product that will last and be part of your life. In the long run you will spend less purchasing a better quality item rather than replacing a cheaper product multiple times over the years. Additionally, these pieces are often worth more by the time they are handed down than when they were purchased.
And sometimes buying an original design from a talented young designer or up and coming label isn’t as expensive as one might think. As the brand is just beginning, price points are usually lower and you can experience the thrill of owning an original and actively support the next generation of designers.
Encourage your customers to save for original designs. It may take them a little while longer to acquire an original item but the quality and value will be worth the wait. To help their customers, retailers can create a lay-away program and encourage customers to use this good old-fashioned method for buying something a little more extravagant. It is a forgotten delight to want for something, to earn something. You may be surprised to find you enjoy the feeling.