Thursday, May 1, 2008

Indie, DIY, Green, Local = Better Variety, Better Quality, Better World

My Philosophy Behind M Design Boutique (in part)

Talking with a couple of M Design Boutique designers today, I found some inspiration to tell you a little bit about what is behind my passion for truly unique, one-of-a-kind, and handmade items in the face of the "BIG BOX" consumer world.

As you may know, I sell jewelry, clothing, handbags, scarves, culinary items...and more. I know you can find "similar" items cheaper at Walmart, but they're not the same.

Here's why:

1. All of the things in my boutique are designed and made (or at least designed and subbed out for fabrication) by a person who is an artist who is able to express themselves -- and is working to, or already succeeding at making a living doing what they love to do.

2. The materials are higher quality, the workmanship is better and more interesting, and it supports a culture of community when people experience the human side of consumerism.

3. When customers look at something at an event and ooh and aah...its fun to tell them..."That's designed by my friend Angi in Los Angeles. She's a mother of two, and her business allows her to be at home with her kids... or whatever details...because then people can find meaning in their purchase so that it becomes special ad coveted.

I think so many people use shopping to numb themselves from boredom or whatever pain or stress they have in i hope to shake up the mix a little bit by informing and hopefully inspiring my customers.

Every two weeks, on Fridays, I take a selection of my inventory to Life's Simple Pleazures (a spa down the street from where I live) --the women there are great because they are there to chat and pamper themselves anyway...some Mother/Daughters getting pedicures, teachers, real estate agents, and whomever else happens to be in that day. They're very encouraging about convincing each other they "deserve" a special treat! They want me and my business to be a success! It demonstrates to me that people appreciate the truly unique, if only they encounter it!

It gives me hope that big box stores will be an affordable option, but they won't drive creativity and individualism down. I think the big DIY movement is a natural swing of the pendulum against the "sameness" of what is available in the world. Think of New York...its changed a lot too, but you can still find little mom and pop businesses everywhere. If the pizza place on one block isn't that good, you have 10 other close-by choices...your only option isn't Pizza Hut or Dominoes. Quality goes up because people have choices!!

I realize that consumerism and the economy is way too complex for me to slice and dice into a convenient presentation to prove me right...but I also like doing what I'm doing because the economy is so full of people and things that exist solely to drive profit up...often at the cost of quality and variety. I say "NUTS TO THAT!" and up with indie, DIY, local and green consumerism!!

Now I'll step down from my soap box and thank all of my awesome designers for inspiring me and for choosing to accept the invitations to be represented in M Design Boutique! Today, in talking with Carolyn (of Carolyn's Kitchen) and Jennie (of Jennie Wu Handbags, which will be available in one week!!!)....I was delightfully inspired and encouraged about my business. Thanks to both of them!

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