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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
American Giant
Here's an interesting new business model from American Giant clothes.  

I like the idea of cutting out the middlemen, doing the work locally, and paying factory workers a decent wage.  I love the idea of designing clothes from an engineering perspective and making them to last.

Unfortunately the online-only model is a dealbreaker for me when it comes to clothes and most other products.  If they had a storefront, I could watch for one and try on the clothes.  But most things, I won't buy unless I can touch them, unless it's an exact duplicate of something I've already handled.  That's because few products meet even my minimum standards of performance ("Will it get the job done?  Is it non-hazardous?").  The only things somewhat less subject to that barrier are things I can test equally well online, such as text or images, which is why crowdfunding works well for me.

I'm concerned about the trend of commerce shifting to cyberspace, because for me, that usually puts things out of my range. I don't like the way society is becoming less participatory.  Take bookstores -- I've seen the industry go from a zillion small individual stores plus a few chains, to the era of chain stores and the marvelous megastores, to the fucking book desert we have now where the nearest bookstore is an hour away from me with a shitty little magazine section, almost no music, a shrinking collection of books, and a massive ereader booth right in front of the door.  To me this doesn't say "Come in and fall in love with some books!"  It says "Buy our gadget and go home and read ebooks."  Fuck it.  If I'm going to read on a screen, I'll support bite-sized crowdfunding.  If I'm going to pay for a paper book, I want to hold it in my hands first, and I'd like to have a nice place to browse the shelves.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
lyonesse From: lyonesse Date: June 24th, 2013 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
i had a roommate with difficult-to-fit feet, and he found zappo's cybersales model (they send you everything you want to try, you send back what you don't like) far superior to the brick-and-mortar stores, which had less selection that had the remotest chance of working for him.

it's not the cheapest option, but it may be cheaper than brick, and it enables one to try on items in one's own home, with stuff like privacy and the rest of your wardrobe to see how it goes, &c.

so although i like rl experiences for browsing and looking for not-sure-whats, i do think there are plenty of things that are at least as conveniently buyable with cyber mechanisms. your interpretive mileage may vary :)
cissa From: cissa Date: July 4th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree, as long as they have a decent return/refund policy. I HATE RL shopping. I don't much like to browse, except maybe for books... but as the bookstores got more and more reduced inventories, even that wasn't any fun.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 26th, 2013 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)


>> I've had really bad experiences buying T-Shirts this way, tho. They were theoretically identical to the ones I'd gotten of the shelf, same Brand and Product Line and Cut and Size, but they ended up fitting totally differently. <<

I'd forgotten about, but t-shirts are the one garment I will buy online. They're usually pretty forgiving in fit. And I like to find favorite artists who have a line of t-shirts. There's one I'm actively collecting who does scientists and stuff like that.

>>My gut feeling is that these will work for me, and given their return policy, I'm probably going to order one next time I have the cash available.<<

Then I'm glad I could help make that connection. I really am a fan of merchandise built to last.

I've had people flip out over my hand-sewn clothes, because I can't leave seams unbound. I've tried. It drives me fucking nuts. So they are all rolled, and on some things, frenched.
3 comments or Leave a comment