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Welcome to the first blog post for Dezign Concepts, an interior design firm in Chester, NY started nearly 30 years ago by my mother, Dorian DeHaan. Like many small business owners, she has always struggled to compete against “big box” chain stores. Today I’m going to share two experiences with you that hopefully change the way you think about buying American-made products from local vendors, for good.
Choosing the cheaper option
Recently, my boyfriend offered to buy me a set of golf clubs. So we went shopping around for the best deal. We found a local sporting goods store near our home. The owners were helpful and courteous, and the clubs were a decent price. We thought it prudent to continue shopping elsewhere to compare. Ultimately, we found ourselves at Sports Authority, a large sporting goods store chain, and bought the first set of clubs we laid eyes on. A good starter set for me… and they were cheap.
We returned to the local sporting goods store to have the clubs resized and my boyfriend looked at one of the employees and said, “Sorry, these were so much cheaper at Sports Authority.” The employee sighed and responded, “Yeah, unfortunately we just can’t compete with the prices of those big stores.” I felt a little ashamed. In retrospect, the prices weren’t that different and I could have saved for another month and given the business to this local store. But I wanted the clubs now. And I wanted them cheap.
A friendship rekindled
This brings me to my more uplifting story. As a young adult, I have been slowly turning my house into a home. I decided it was time to purchase some nice dinnerware and part ways with the plates I received in college as a hand-me-down from a friend’s mom. I looked in Pier1 and found lots of things I liked. Many had the word “handmade” stamped on the bottom. I thought, “Handmade by whom? Where?” Then I remembered something. A close friend I grew up with became a potter like his father. I hadn’t seen or talked to Andy in years but immediately fell in love with his work (here, take a look on Etsy). I decided to save my pennies. It took me AWHILE but I finally had enough to purchase a beautiful dinner set.
My experience working with Andy to get what I wanted was amazing. When I went to pick up my plates we reminisced about our childhood and he showed me around his shop. I took a tour of his kiln and he taught me a little about the hard work it takes to produce his art. I was not only amazed, but so happy that I waited and saved my money. I didn’t just buy plates. I rekindled a friendship and purchased art that has a story.
The moral of the story
Can you see where I’m going here? Think of an item in your home that has special meaning and how it feels to retell the story of how you came to own it. That’s the feeling you get from buying local goods made in America from small business owners. You get higher-quality products, you support the American economy, you build relationships, and you get a story to tell. You may have to save and pay more, you may have to wait while the goods are made, but it’s worth it every time.
So the moral of the story is… Good things come to those who wait. Good, beautiful, unique, and cherished things.
~ Fallon ~