At least not in the last several decades. Consumers have always relied on disposable labor for maximum profit but somewhere along the line we started shipping from distant continents, from people with no vested interest, sold by people with no vested interest to people with no connection to the end product. It used to be a decent product for a decent price given to me in a box meant to protect it, now the box is meant to display it, show it off just so. The friendly display item is so strapped down you have to rip the package apart and put the plastic in the bin. It really is amazing what our society has been conditioned to settle for.
In creative practice over the last many years we have seen it all, and through it have remained custom builders above all things. No matter if it’s a fully integrated rack space, a showcase of fine furniture, or an omni-directional business strategy, we have collectively turned out some impressive work.
When a client approaches us and to see if we can work together we give them a short checklist of three items. The client can pick two:
For years consumers have been choosing Fast and Cheap until it seems the market has sacrificed Good. Factor in the current supply chain slowdowns and you no longer have cheap or fast. Which begs the question why are the supply chains slowing down? For decades now we have been accepting a lot of waste in those supply chains. Whether it’s the 5000 mile shipping routes or the plastic packaging, or the general disinterest in how it is made, we just accept it as a cost of consumerism.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. You see, by giving up Fast and choosing Good, it would still be Cheap and the stuff we buy would actually be Good! The people who make things Good are the artisans, the specialists, the craftsmen. Those of us who take the time needed to find good, better, best rather than fastest, cheapest, and by the metric ton.
It's the $5 shoe vs the $50 shoe conundrum. Buying the $5 shoe means buying 10 pairs of shoes in the lifetime of the $50 pair so it actually ends up costing more in the time it takes to replace them and the burden on the waste chain. If we could get you the good shoes and locally sourced, sure now you're paying more upfront but it’s costing less and at least you are walking around in comfort with the support of someone local who cares about what they make.
There are many great examples of this artisanal style of manufacturing right here in New Jersey. With companies like Advanced Power Technologies, who set the standard in their industry, designing and assembling their monitoring equipment in closeby Randolph, New Jersey. Or the Manufactures' Square in Bloomfield NJ where crafters from every discipline work together to take on bigger design, build, and production challenges, it’s the stuff of reality TV shows. Look at rutherfordnj.town to see the great lengths the Rutherford Chamber of Commerce are going to bring cybershoppers to their Digital Main Street. The Rutherford Chamber of Commerce has built a site that showcases all the businesses in the community, and there is even a convenient page highlighting all the current Holiday Deals. Keeping consumer dollars local is a boon to the economy for everyone!
There are greater gifts you can bestow when you buy locally, support the community around you, then hold them accountable for their supply chain and packaging waste. When we spend our dollars consciously we make better choices for ourselves, our progeny, and ultimately for the greater good of the economy like the exceptional capitalists we are. Think of it like voting, casting an informed ballot is far more desirable than if everyone just voted for whoever the sweaty guy on the corner with the cardboard sign told us to. All the Best!