Why Investing in Quality Pieces Beats Bargain Hunting
If you’ve been a part of the Urban Southern community for a while, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “buy less, choose well” and know we’re *just-a-smidge* obsessed with incorporating timeless, high-quality pieces into our everyday life. It’s kind of our thing, you know?
It’s not just because that’s what we create in our workshop (although we do love our full-grain leather bags!). More than a sales gimmick, this emphasis on quality is a value that extends to every part of our lives.
For Urban Southern, our love of handmade, high-quality items is steeped in tradition. But you don’t have to have Amish roots or be 3rd generation leather smiths to prioritize choosing well. There are lots of great reasons for shopping with intention.
Benefits of Choosing Well
- Usually feel and look better, bringing more delight to your everyday
- Are less likely to break or wear out
- Can usually be repaired - if a craftsperson made it, a craftsperson can usually fix it (and often at a reasonable cost!)
- Last longer (see above)
- Save you time and money you’d spend shopping for replacements
- Create less pollution (compared to fast fashion production)
- Create less waste in the landfill by lasting longer
- Are basically a piece of art and art is great for your soul!
Intention Over Instant Gratification
In today’s world of online shopping and instant gratification, it can be difficult to resist the temptation of fast fashion and other industries that keep costs low at the expense of quality. But there’s a different kind of satisfaction that comes from investing in pieces that will last for years, becoming well-loved favorites.
So how can you shift from a fast-fashion mindset to one of more intentional buying? We’ve outlined the most important points to consider when making a purchase below.
Know Your Reason(s) for Kicking Fast Fashion to the Curb
Fast fashion can be a hard habit to break. Knowing your personal WHY makes it easier. Check out our list of benefits above and figure out which point(s) speaks to you.
Some people may be motivated by a desire to reduce waste or improve conditions for garment workers. Others may simply be looking to incorporate a simpler, more mindful approach. Or maybe you’re like us and know firsthand the love and skill that goes into creating handmade goods.
Whatever your reason, keeping it at the front of your mind when shopping is a great way to fight off the temptation of cheaper, low-quality items.
Will You Love It For a Lifetime?
How much use you’ll get out of an item is the cornerstone of determining its actual cost to you.
A $30 dollar purse might feel like a great buy in the moment but 6 months or a year down the road will you still be using it? Will it have held up well? Will you still love the style? If you don’t, can you resell it?
This is exactly what we’re talking about when we say that bargain bag will cost you more in the long run. Here’s why:
Low-Quality Materials & Construction
That impulse-buy bag you grabbed while shopping at your fave big box store? It’s likely made out of plastic or other synthetic materials, with construction commensurate to its price tag. It may look cute on the rack but after 6 months of heavy use (because we all know our go-to bags take a beating), it will likely be fraying or worn.
We’re not saying following trends is a bad thing. Trends are fun and keep things interesting! But they’re also, by their nature, constantly changing. For your everyday staples that see sustained use, like handbags, erring on the classic side of style is a better bet for your buck.
So where does that $30 purse go when it’s either worn out or no longer in style? Right in the trash, while you’re off to buy a new one and the cycle continues. After 3 years you’ll have bought 6 purses, give or take, and spent about $180. If you had invested that $180 in a higher quality bag, you’d likely still be using it.
Even if you don’t wish to keep using it after several years, a high-quality bag should be in nice enough shape that you could find it a new home. And you’ll have kept 6 cheaper purses out of a landfill!
Make Sure You’re Paying for Quality, Not a Name
One final thing to remember when shifting to buying less and choosing well is that a higher price tag isn’t always a guarantee of quality. A low-quality item may cost more simply because it sports a label that carries cachet.
That’s why it’s important to use other methods, besides price, to judge an item’s quality, like reading reviews, learning about material standards, and getting to know the business you’re buying from.
As a general rule, if a company brags about high-quality right upfront, their products usually back up those claims. Buyers today prize authenticity in their favorite brands so if a business is thought to be misrepresenting themselves, their audience will likely be vocal about calling them on it.
Are You Ready to Buy Less and Choose Well?
Now that you know everything we consider before making a purchase, are you ready to shift to a slow fashion mindset? We love being intentional in our purchases and want other people to see that they could love it too.
If you’ve already made the switch to slow fashion, we want to hear about a time you chose well! What did you choose and why? Are you still loving it today? Tell us about it in the comments below.
To read more about slow fashion, check out our post, What is Slow Fashion
To learn more about high-quality, full-grain leather, check out our post, 3 Key Differences Between Authentic Leather and Vegan Leather
To find out how to treat your leather so you can love it for a lifetime, check out our post, Urban Southern's Simple Guide to Loving Your Leather