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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Buying Priorities

A couple comments recently have made me think about the idea of priorities when it comes to buying things.

I was talking with my mom today, and she mentioned a certain pair of boots that she wanted — but she was going to have to pass because they were $270. "They're a brand called Pikolinos. I don't know if you've ever heard of them," Mom said. "Um, I have actually. I have a pair," I admitted. "I bought them 10? 12? years ago. And I wear them all the time."

I paid less than $270 for mine because I bought them so long ago. But I did spend $200+ per pair for two pairs of La Canadienne boots maybe 5 years ago. One pair has since been re-soled. But I still get great use out of both pairs.

Contrast that with the time I was looking at a $55 pair of shoes. "How long will this brand last?" I asked the store owner. "Oh, you should get a full season out of those!" she said — as though getting a single year out of a pair of shoes is longevity. I immediately took a pass.

If you can't afford expensive shoes — and I recognize that even $55 is expensive for many people — I'm not saying you should buy them anyway. (Don't worry, Mom! I'm not questioning your priorities.)  But a lot of times, you get what you pay for.

The other comment (from some weeks ago) was this: "Kristin, you make beautiful hats ... but nobody I know can afford them."

Yes, my hats are expensive in the sense that they can be over $100. Yes, my hats are expensive in the sense that they are priced higher than a mass-produced hat bought at Macy's. And, yes, there are people who truly cannot afford them. But I guarantee that the same person who said she doesn't know anybody who can afford them does know people who spend $100+ on jeans or shoes. So why not spend that money on hats?

It's all about priorities. I know that hats are considered more of a fun, optional accessory. Personally, I've never spent more than $100 on a pair of jeans. I have spent more than $100 on a hat, though.

This post isn't about trying to say people should buy my hats. I want my customers to want my hats; I want my customers to love my hats. I don't want my customers to resent me or think "Ugh, why did I spend money on this?"

So buy, or don't buy, things as you see fit. It's your life. It's your money. It's not for me to judge how you spend it. You get to set the priorities.

For my part, I prioritize spending more on something I know will last for a long time and that I will continue to enjoy.

And a hat made using traditional millinery techniques — as opposed to a mass-produced hat — is meant to be something that will last for years to come. (All the delightful reasons why will be coming in a future blog post.)

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