While trading at a craft fair before Christmas I struck up a conversation with someone who looked very interested in my rings. They had tried on every one multiple times and still looked torn.
It came to light they already had a 'favourite ring' that they bought cheap from a high street store, but it had lost its lustre, turned brassy, and was grubbing up their finger when they wore it. So they no longer wore it.
They kept it though, and although they loved all of my ring designs, they kind of just wished they could wear the one they had, that they know they love. The design sounded super simple and like something I would make anyway, so they tentatively asked would I be up for re-creating it for them in solid recycled silver?
You might be thinking 'hmm is re-creating an existing design some kind of copyright infringement or something?', and the truth is I don't have a clue where the copyright stands for such a simple design that's obviously been mass produced and re-produced numerous times.
What I do know though is that it was an absolute pleasure to sit and make something for someone knowing that they love it enough to invest in it not once, but twice.
All I could think of when I was making it was something I remember my Furniture Making tutor at Leeds Arts University telling us real early in my degree...
Buy cheap. Buy twice.
I was in my early 20s at the time, and weirdly I think it might have been the first time I heard that phrase in my life. Or should I say, it was my first time remembering hearing it and actively thinking about the consequences of my decisions as a consumer.
I didn't really agree with it in the context to be honest. It was a conversation starter for sure, that cracked open some heated debate about whether or not IKEA was destroying the world.
I did not, and still do not think that IKEA are destroying the world by the way and I'd actually LOVE to work in product development for IKEA (especially now I've heard whispers of them promising to only use renewable and recycled materials by 2030!) much to the disgrace of my course mates I'm sure.
At the time it felt like a way of looking down upon businesses who were interested in democratising good design, and I don't think that 'affordable' and 'cheap' are the same thing.
In this instance though my lovely customer did in fact 'buy cheap, buy twice', but it brings me great pleasure to know that this time around they can enjoy something they love with confidence that it can withstand the wear and tear of their daily life and beautifully last their lifetime and beyond.
I'd love to hear what you think.
Do you agree with 'Buy Cheap, Buy Twice'?
Am I going to get sued for re-creating this design?