Here’s another idea that keeps going around in my head. We buy and awful lot of stuff that’s been made in a fairly soul-less way. In some markets – take wine for example – price often reflects the amount of time, skill, pride and expertise of the producer. Those ranks of dull looking Ozzy Cab Sauv’s in the supermarket are made in giant factories to an exact chemical blend. True they’re consistent but blimey are they consistent – or predictable and possibly dull. Few people really cared about what went in to them – in fact the accountants probably cared more than most.
It’s the same in many markets but it doesn’t have to be so. Here’s a thought – if you’re just about to buy some furniture – a wardrobe, some shelves, a small table, a piece to go in the hall to put the family ‘stuff’ on – where will you go? Ikea? Peter Jones? Some lovely local furniture shop? Lots Road? All good places (well maybe apart from the first one..) but you’re buying something that’s already been made to somebody else’s specification.
Before I met Gordon at Finishing Touches I would have probably done the same thing – I would have toddled off like a little consumer-bot to PJ’s . But Gordon makes you think differently about wooden furniture and it’s the man’s sheer love of wood and all of its potential that gives me great faith in him. As an aside - he kindly invited me to a design exhibition at Earls Court recently and I noticed as we walked around together that he was constantly touching every surface of the furniture on offer, stroking the grain of it, feeling the very nature of it.
Gordon is an absolute master of wood - a real craftsman and somebody with the kind of passion I would love in everyone I buy from – woodworker or winemaker.
But here’s the thing. Buying something from Gordon - an identical piece to the piece you’re just about to buy from a retail outfit - will probably cost around the same – it might even be less - and it will fit exactly in the space you have for it and it will be built from better materials and put together with better fixings and joints and goodness knows what.
It’s not just true of Gordon – I could make this case on behalf of so many local crafts-people. People who can merrily live within the 50-70% mark up that shops often charge and provide you with what you want.
The next time we need some thing for our place, I’m going to follow the Dixons model! In the words of their clever campaign which encourages you to see Dixons as “the last place you should go”.
Get all the information you need to make a buying decision for a new piece of furniture, choose it really carefully – visit all the places – Heals, PJ’s, wherever works for you, choose the piece you want and then give Gordon and Finishing Touches a ring – get them to go and look at it and give you a quote.
You can make your own mind up afterwards but would you rather have something that was made in a factory or something made with real passion to your exact specification for about the same price?
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