I’ve been thinking about this photo I saw on Jessica’s Instagram all morning.
This is a hat she’s made, and her question was: “How much would you pay for a hat like this?” Many of the responses fell within the $20-30 range, which I think was kind of shocking/disappointing to her when she shared that the hat COSTS about $100 in materials to make. “I’m going to have to send you guys to Target!” she said.
I think this poses an important question: Why are we only willing to spend $20-30 on an item like this one, and $100 plus on others?
This hat, while it is beautifully handmade, has a problem: it does look like something one may find at Target. Without knowing she had handmade it, you’d probably never guess that it was an expensive, unique item.
We’re missing the story behind this hat, and we didn’t see the process. That’s important if we’re going to have a connection to this special item. Tell—no, show me— why I should be willing to give you a lot of money for this.
For me, when I spend $100 plus on something—it’s got to really make me fall in love with it. For example, I recently purchased my first Yoana Baraschi dress (it was one of the more expensive items I’ve ever purchased) but when I saw it, I LOVED it. The color, the lace detailing, the fit—it was a truly unique piece, and I knew I’d have to pay a little more than I’m used to if I wanted it.
I wish this hat made me feel that way. I wish it had a unique fabric band or something really eye-catching that made me say, “Wow, I have to have that.”
This is the danger of the hand-crafted piece in today’s world. If it doesn’t have a story, doesn’t grab your attention right off the bat, or offer something special, we’re probably just going to settle for the Target version and save some money. It’s sad, but true.
I hope she goes on to share the story behind this hat and that she is able to find that niche who can/will support this project she’s obviously poured some serious time and money into.
If I didn’t know anything about making things, or the quality of material that goes into what we buy - I’d agree. But on that point, the hats at Target aren’t blocked, they’re sewn together. And they’re made of paper (check the label next time!) Ditto for hats at J.Crew Factory. So those hats cost about 50 cents and are made in China. I have cheap hats too and heck - I’m happy when I see anyone wear a hat, but the quality of materials and the skill that it takes to make them are a good reason why people pay more, even when things look the same.