Integrity and Quality August 30 2010, 0 Comments
I recently had a meeting with a designer whom we have built quite a bit of furniture for over the years. She was having a difficult time on a project and wanted to discuss options on pricing with me. She is working on a large project and the "decorating" committee consists of several women involved with the project. The problem is that the committee has placed their priority on price. They are not at all interested in the differences between my furniture and furniture they have gone online and found.
Of course they have found furniture that is made for about 1/4 the price of mine. Now we all know that in order for furniture to be that cheap, it has to be of a much lower quality. Here is where we get into sticky territory. How does the designer educate her clients without insulting them? They are not experienced in purchasing quality furniture for commercial use. They are looking at the cheapest price. How do you tell them that they will be replacing broken furniture and will eventually end up paying more per item in the long run than purchasing quality built furniture the first time? The designer wanted to know if I would build a cheaper version of the type of furniture we currently build. My answer was an emphatic "NO". I feel like it is almost a "bait and switch" scheme. People buy my furniture because it is expertly constructed and very reasonable. (OK, I know that not everyone can afford my furniture, but if you are willing to save and wait till you can afford it, then you are spending your money on quality furniture. It has a great value and is the better choice.)
I feel or rather I hope that this whole economic turbulence is teaching or reminding us on what it means to save up and buy the best quality we can afford. It is the art of spending wisely and not frivolously. That is true value!
The other point about shopping online, is the effect it has on the Mom and Pop furniture stores. They are rapidly becoming a dying breed. How can you buy furniture online? You don't know how it feels, sits, or actually looks. And the most important part is how it is made. There is nothing like picking up a piece of furniture and feeling its weight, feeling if it is solid. Are we just too lazy to drive to a store? Have we really missed the lessons of making quality, valued buying decisions? And why are we so slow in learning the lessons, again! I was raised to take care of my things and to value them. We need to be smart consumers and buy quality, made in the USA products!