If you have an online web store that boasts on carrying the best-made stuff, and call yourself Best Made Company, then you have very little room for error. I mean you are open to ridicule if your products don’t meet that standard.
Encouraged by their online reputation and reviews, late last year I ended up replacing my usual down-filled vest with a more stylish and minimalist one from Best Made. I also bought a pair of Made-in-Japan woolen socks — I like wearing those with my RedWing boots. Excited by the prospect of having the “best,”I was deeply disappointed on day one of using the garment that cost $218 plus change!
It was shedding feathers and was scratchy as hell, making it necessary to wear a thicker crewneck. I wasn’t expecting such poor quality — yes, shedding feathers right out of the packaging seems as poor quality — from a company that claims to make “quality tools and dependable information that they can use and pass down for generations.” I have never had this problem with my Landsend vest, which was on my bi-annual buy-and-replace schedule. (I do have to maintain the VC sweater/vest look!)
I won’t be passing down that vest to future generations, and I perhaps feel guilty if even giving it to charity, lest I get cursed by its prospective owner. In case you were wondering about those $23-a-pair Japanese merino socks? Well, three washes later, they are in no better shape than woolen socks you buy from Uniqlo. I know, whose products I won’t be buying in the future.
Articulating my disappointment is difficult. Most people don’t quite understand that a brand and design are experiential and it goes beyond just a beautiful product, a great website, and a fancy name. You have to back up words and pretty pictures with real quality. As we start to see this Instagram-influenced direct-to-consumer ecosystem, it is essential for a buyer to be able to trust the brand.
The media too has a role to play. Instead of parroting the press releases, it would be useful for writers to at least try and use the products over a period before passing judgment. Same goes for influencers — recommend shitty products and unfollowing is as easy as a click. Pretty pictures are great for clicks and likes, just not for those who spend their hard-earned dollars.
As far as I am concerned, Best Made is the worst made, and it is why they are off the list of brands to trust.
Photo courtesy of UnSplash