Photo courtesy Flickr
On a turn through the Great Big Hiking Co-op, I overheard a dialogue between a veteran clerk and a thirty-something woman who was looking for under-layers for her regular wardrobe. Layering from beneath is a very smart move. The clerk showed the current generation of fine wool tops, one of which was recently sported on-camera by a BBC newsreader.
Several times the customer mentioned her limited budget, and the clerk went on to show her current big brand synthetics. She decided on nothing, and the clerk withdrew. I noticed her cruising the next section of the store and took a chance to offer some comments about the stock she’d been studying.
Wool is the better value at twice the price. It wears longer, washes and dries just as easily, and respects body chemistry. Wool will never require high tech fixes for the stench it generates. The price of wool is discounted in ways that are not obvious: it feels good against most people’s skin, it protects the heating budget, offers thermal security during a civil emergency, and will not turn to napalm or generate poisonous fumes in a fiery transportation crash.
Economist Paul Hawken, one of the founders of Smith and Hawken of blessed memory and a pioneer of commercial organic food, observed that the amount of what he called intelligence in a product affects its value. Canny design makes more than the most of the raw materials and energy it takes to produce it. Pomme computers are obvious examples, as are Striped Pole rain wear, Corporal Punishment tights, and silicone travel containers. Search the ten principles of design defined by Dieter Rams to find insight into value.
-30-More after the jump.