Often as consumers, we want the best quality money can buy while shopping to ensure longevity, in hopes to experience satisfaction with our purchases. Naturally, we determine the quality based on the price of an item, but other times we assume the brand name has a good enough reputation to surpass the potential of alternatives available. However high cost does not always mean longevity or satisfactory and vice versa. When shopping with retailers, it is vital that we also consider where our dollar extends to past our purchase and how it affects us personally or the community around us collectively. Many small brands invest in local communities, food drives for homeless, fundraiser campaigns for several non-profits and more. At the same time, many significant corporations make claims to support local communities and non-profits but are so far removed from society socially that their alleged efforts go unnoticed. Small businesses and brands are capable of producing premium quality products & services and donating a portion of their profits to local communities, fundraiser campaigns, and other small start-up businesses. How likely are we to support these businesses instead of the more significant companies? Seriously?
I emphasize the seriousness because nowadays if a sneaker isn't designed by an athlete or rapper then it's likely to get interrogated by random spectators with the first question usually being strongly expressed as "What are those!?". So again, seriously? I understand that most consumers like myself are part of the working class and are so caught up with everyday life that we seek convenient options every chance we get which is usually the most popular and easiest to access. Is that what gives it value? If so, is this about social acceptance or force-feeding the public by oversaturating the media with marketing campaigns? Ok, I'm going to stop being a conspiracy theorist for a minute but I'm just beginning to question myself while shopping like "why am I buying this?" and "how will this purchase affect others?". For instance, you take a major clothing brand; something prestigious and consider their store locations, manufacturing warehouses, headquarters, etc. As well as how long said company has been in business. What is the relationship between that company and its neighbors? (residential & commercial).
Commerce is the most potent form of politics, and most major corporations have a political agenda or affiliations with shareholders and sponsors who do. Yes, there are too many brands for us to do on-demand research on while browsing organic coffee on aisle 3. I get it but what about that one brand that you've overlooked for years but then decided to try it because your favorites are all out of stock due to some major holiday you forgot to prepare ahead of time for (that moment when...). That'll be the brand you discover and love and become a local spokesperson for but in the back of your mind don't want to tell too many people, so it doesn't end up out of stock like the others, so you find yourself hiding it behind other products on the same shelf. Ok, I'm just saying small brands can sometimes be better than any of its higher-end alternatives but just aren't as popular due to a lack of advertising. Believe it or not, advertising can get very expensive, especially for a small business owner who just invested all of what they've had including a loan toward the production of their brand.
Many times you get better quality from smaller brands for various reasons including their ability to remain distinct in their efforts to be original. Staying original is the key to having a successful small business but conforming to change is the key to having a successful major corporation. More often than not the "change" is part of the corporate political agenda designed for the public. What if the people had their own plans? What if the people could support themselves? What if the people could market themselves? What if the public became individual businesses and consumers themselves and used their spending power to make visible changes in their communities for their families and neighbors? Small businesses give small communities a chance at real change with no underlying agenda.
Small businesses are empowering, inspirational, self-motivating, courageous, brave, and purposeful. Rejecting the quality, beauty, and perfection in a product or service due to its unfamiliarity is borderline insane and obsessive even. One must be obsessed with brand names if you chose that over the quality of materials and/or ingredients.
I for one have been guilty of obsessing with brand names in my past. I must admit that not only was I looking for premium quality I was also interested in social acceptance. You put yourself on a certain level and somewhat transcend 'classes' when you've splurged on that well known expensive luxury brand. It's only about the idea of being able to possess this item knowing that most people cannot afford it. That was cool for a while but what I found to be even cooler was having that attractive brand that was one of a kind and hard to find. When you can get rare premium quality, to me that is where the real value lies. What would make it even better is if the brand offering this was also contributing to my community. Now that is a political agenda that I could stand behind!
Do not get me wrong; I am not bashing any particular brands or major retailers. I am a frequent shopper at many popular major retailers in my local community. I do understand how business works along with fashion and Hollywood. At the end of the day, it is about politics and social influence. Major corporations play a huge role in both. I do not wish for all large retailers to fail, that's not what I'm saying either. However, I would prefer more promotion of local brands on their displays because after all there's no shame in a small brand name.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below.