Artisan Economy

I’ve never been much of a cook. If you ask my friends, they will tell you that the microwave is my best friend. In fact, one of my best buddies was shocked when he learned that I actually use the stove on occasion.

Well, when I first was out on my own I did not own a single pot or pan to cook with. I cooked using the Stouffer’s method. But when I decided to buy some pots and pans, I went for a set that featured a saucepan, skillet, and larger pot along with a lot of cook looking utensils that was a great price. These little cookware pieces lasted several years and were of decent quality.
However, when I decided to replace them this year, I decided to look around and spend a bit more for something of higher quality. I ended up purchasing a great T-Fal 2-quart saucepan along with their eco-friendly non-stick 12.5 inch Saute Pan.
So what does this have to do with an “artisan economy”?
Well, I got to thinking that I didn’t value the cookware I had, it was disposable because I had only spent a modest sum on it. Then I started thinking about things like the apps in the app store, or office supplies, you know, the little things that are cheap and how if it breaks, you just buy a new one.
Really, when you think about it, can something that costs a dollar or less really cost less than a dollar to produce? In some cases yes, but what about something that is five dollars or even ten? When those items break, we usually discard them too.
But what would happen if we spent more for something of a bit better quality? What if that five dollar toy was ten and was built a bit sturdier and of quality materials instead of cheap plastic? Maybe your kids would value their toys a bit more and want to keep them longer. (Ok it was worth a shot… :P) Or maybe that nice utensil that you bought for $10 that was made of metal instead of plastic would last longer and do better for your needs.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I’m willing to pay a bit more for quality. Maybe if we all were willing to spend a bit more less often for quality items, then our economy would improve as we need to fill positions to make all this cool stuff.
Ironically, soon after I had this revelation, Eric Karjaluoto over at Ideas on Ideas had a great post about the very same topic. Maybe, fingers crossed, it’s the start of a good trend….
(btw, I’m not affiliated with Eric, smashLAB, or Ideas on Ideas other than I enjoy Eric’s posts and once had a fun conversation about design conferences with him on Facebook that he probably doesn’t remember…)