I have a question for you…
What constitutes a lot of money?
Obviously, every single person reading this will have a different answer as expense is relative to each and every individual.
To complicate matters further, I could ask a more specific question…
What constitutes a lot of money to spend on a handbag?
This will give an even wider array of answers as it is not simply a question of monetary cost. It is also highly dependent on how much importance an individual places on handbags. In practical terms, this might mean that a handbag fanatic would be happy spending £500 on a handbag no matter what their income was, whilst a millionaire who had no interest in handbags might feel that £50 would be their limit. Here, you can interchange handbags with anything else in life such as cars, watches, coats, shoes, guitars, sunglasses etc etc. Basically, any given commodity has a different price limit with every single individual. There can never be a single answer.
To answer this sort of question then, instead of looking at the money being spent on a product we must look to the product itself for an answer.
Instead of looking at a product in terms of ‘expense’, we must instead look at it in terms of ‘worth’.
A £400 handbag is not ‘cheap’ by anybody’s standards. It may well be more affordable to some, but it is not a ‘cheap’ handbag. Now, this is where a lot of people might fall down. Many would simply assume that if something is not ‘cheap’, then by default it must be ‘expensive’. I am firmly of the opinion that this assumption is quite simply, wrong. Let me explain…
For this discourse I will need a yardstick that remains fairly constant to all of us. A yardstick by which we are all fairly equal and which we all deem to be a fairly normal expenditure. For arguments sake I will be using the idea of wining and dining. This can be anything from a drink in the local pub with friends to a full meal in a restaurant with family.
For this particular example, let us imagine a night out with friends. None of us would flinch at paying around £3.70 for a pint, £9.00 for a cocktail or £20 for a bottle of wine. If you’re buying a large round of drinks, £30 would not be questioned. A taxi or two might set you back another £15 or £20 if you’re lucky. Are you seeing how quickly these things add up?
Whilst we must hope it does not happen every time you leave the house, I doubt there are many reading this who would deny that once in a blue moon, a particularly raucous night could escape the £100 thresh-hold. What do you have to show for that £100 ?
A bruise on your arm and a wine stain down your front?
Granted you may have some priceless blurred memories, you might even have some priceless clear memories, but still, you won’t have much else to show for your money. It’s a £100 hangover.
Now lets put this into some kind of perspective. The money you save by skipping one of these nights out would almost buy you a Bridge purse such as this
. It is made from the finest Italian leather and will get better with age. It is a quality investment that will stay with you for years and years. Now, many of you may not care for purses, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's up the ante a little…
Imagine, for example, that you skipped just three of these nights out, you could have..
This Classic Bridge Tote. An Italian leather handbag made from the finest materials and designed to last a lifetime.
This Kidd Cashmere Tunic. Highest grade long strand Mongolian Cashmere. The very pinnacle of luxury and warmth. Again a piece that will last decades
Want to think bigger?? Skip four of these nights out and you really start having some fun. You now have £400 to play with and that sort of money can really buy you something beautiful such as...
These top of the range Bridge handbags. Up in this price range the choice really is yours. They are all fantastic quality and they will all last you a lifetime.
One of these Josephine Coats, A classic piece that will always be a style icon and once again, will last you a lifetime.
Starting to see what I am getting at??
If you change your perspectives from “money being spent” to “item being bought” everything starts to make more sense. From this new perspective, a £400 handbag does not come down to ‘cheap’ or ‘expensive’. It comes down to a matter of respective value. What is worth more, a string of hangovers or a handbag you will have for life?? From this perspective, that £400 handbag starts to look like a bargain.
Like I said, wining and dining was just an example. This change of perspective can be implemented on an even simpler level when comparing like for like. Consider, for example, two handbags, a run-of-the-mill high highstreet bag or a Bridge bag like this
The high street handbag will easily cost £80. Three months later, it is tattered and looking a mess. Time for a new one.
Is that, or is that not, the falsest of economies??
If you do that four times and you could have bought yourself the other handbag, a Bridge which takes 40 years in its stride and gets better with each use. Buying cheap rubbish that wears out quickly soon becomes a very expensive habit.
I remember one particularly memorable bag that came into the shop. Having heard about my passion for The Bridge a lady had brought in the oldest bag from her collection. After a bit of digging we managed to date back to the early 70s. This handbag was about 40 years old. We worked out that in today’s money she would have payed about £400 for it which works out at £10 a year. So how did it look?. Honestly, it looked absolutely stunning. I went over it with some polish and the patina from the years of use just shone through it. The leather was soft and supple and just beautiful with character. It was still a shining example of exquisite leather work after 40 years of use. The lining was intact and not a single stitch had gone. As she filled it back up with what must have been half a tonne of belongings she gave me a knowing smile and simply said
"Buy well, buy once."
It is a phrase that resonated with me. The initial outlay on a quality product is quickly offset by the fact that it not only looks great, but that it lasts a lifetime. Some people will forever want things cheap and now. In the long run these people will spend more than you and have nothing nice to show for it.
Surely it is better to have a smaller collection of excellence than a vast quantity of mundane.
Of course, this concept could, and should, be applied to anything, such as cars, watches, home furnishings, kettles etc etc... Basically, any commodity will have good versions and bad versions, cheap versions and more costly versions. You must simply ask yourself whether a product is a more productive expense than other outlays for your money or if a more expensive version of the same product is going to be better value in the long run?? More often than not, a higher initial outlay can easily be justified in these terms.
Of course, there is one flaw in this plan. Many prospective buyers may simply not be able to afford the initial outlay for any given reason. This is a problem we all face in life. Nearly everybody in the world has a few things out of their price range. Now, the word "saving" is such a simple word to say and such a difficult concept to adhere to. We've all been guilty of promising ourselves we will save for something but the money just seems to leak out of our banks on other expenditures. We always end up regretting not sticking to our resolution and we almost always end up having nothing to show for our wasted savings. This is where the glory of small independents really shines. At Douglas Attire we can take a deposit on whatever it is you wish to purchase. We then put it aside for you and let you pay it off as and when you want. For example, say you wanted that £400 handbag. Maybe put £100 on it, we'll wrap it up and put it aside for you. Then pay another £100 in 2 months time.
Keep following that system and in 6 months you have a beautiful handbag that will last a lifetime and your bank balance has hardly noticed.
Have you seen a coat you love but live further afield and don't come to the area often? Not a problem, we can take the payments over the phone and post the coat off to you as soon as the balance is payed. That is the the beauty of independent shops, we can offer services that chains simply can not.
For those with a love of clothes, shoes, bags etc, a widespread change of perspectives such as those discussed would have incredibly far reaching effects. The obvious and most interesting of these effects would be those made to our high streets.
So many shops are a testament to the fact that people want things cheap and they want them now. It is this mentality that has flooded the market with poor quality, mundane throw away pieces. It has got the point now where not a week goes by without at least one customer in our store pointing out that independent and individual shops with quality pieces are getting harder and harder to find.
Everybody blames the 'high street' for killing this quality and individuality....it's NOT the high streets fault.
We must remember that the high street exists solely to provide for the needs of the customer. It is NOT geared towards dictating what the customer can buy. Quite the opposite, it is simply aimed at providing exactly what the customer WANTS. If the customer wanted quality and individuality, the high street would provide it. It is therefore not the high street that needs to change, it is what people want from it that needs to change. The day that everybody says they want quality goods that last a long time will be the same day that the high street starts providing exactly that. Changing our perspectives on value and the worth of items would be the first step towards this.
Anyway, I digress, to bring this article back to my original questions, let us change it and ask it a slightly different way.
What would you think of a £400 handbag that will last a lifetime and get better with each year??
Is it cheap?? No.
Is it expensive?? No.
Is it worth it?? 100% Yes.
With a simple change of perspectives, an expensive prospect can soon start looking like a productive expense.
January 27, 2017
I have just been amazingly impressed by a £700 Bridge briefcase and left Douglas Attire at Llandeilo discussing with my wife whether we’d spend that kind of money in a bag. My wife loved a coat too and we’re discussing that in similar terms. So to come home and find this blog has been a joy to read! Our discussions will continue- I am now thoroughly preoccupied by that briefcase. What beautifully made items you supply!