Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Brands: Why They Matter, Why They Don't

I love shopping at thrift stores, especially Goodwill because everything is priced for what the item is and not what brand it is. For example, all sweaters are typically $5.99, and shirts are $4.49 as opposed to some thrift stores that price based on condition and brand of the item. Goodwill is like the great equalizer of clothing. You can find a Calvin Klein silk dress next to a cotton sun dress from Old Navy and they're both $7.99, unless they're the color of the day which makes them about $4, or 99 cents on Wednesdays and Sundays! You really can't beat that.

What I love most about thrift shopping is definitely the prices, but I also love that I am forced to buy what I actually like and what looks good on me instead of what I am enticed to buy by fads and clothing companies. It forces me to be creative with what I buy because there are no mannequins or models giving me outfit ideas, there are no coordinated sections of style, and the brands included are enough to incorporate an entire mall and more, ranging in time from 1959 to 2015. This unbiased view of brands has made me, in some ways, loyal to none. But in other ways loyal, nonetheless. I notice that when thrift shopping, I look at the item first and the brand second. The brand still might be a factor in deciding if I buy that item or not. Why? If brand names aren't important to me, why does it matter?

The brand will tell you a lot about the item's quality. Most brands cost more because they are made better and, therefore, will last and look nicer longer. However, this is not always the case. Some brands know that they can cut quality corners because they are what I call "status brands". Status brands are brands that are typically covered in the company's logo so that everyone knows what you are wearing and how much it cost and, therefore, are valued by their name instead of the quality of the product produced.

Quality brands are typically recognized for their unique style or niche, are usually made better, and need only a small tag or logo recognizing the brand. There are exceptions and some quality companies still go branding crazy. This is just a form of profitable advertisement for the company. In short, you are paying them to advertise their brand. But there's nothing really wrong with that. Coming from a business standpoint, it's a great idea. Just be sure to put quality over brand name when you are shopping. You and your wallet will be glad in the long run.

It's okay to want or have nice things. It's okay to love a brand. Just remember that the things that you own don't make you a more important person. At the end of the day, it's only a name.

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