I think there’s a hidden art when it comes to buying items that last. How many times have you bought something, only for it to break within a short period of time?
It reminds me of the time I bought a pretty pricey pair of trainers, only for the stitching to fall apart in both shoes within a month. I was gutted – the shoes were something I’d scrimped and saved for, and now I couldn’t even wear them. Worse than that, while I could send them back, I didn’t want that pair anymore for fear of it happening all over again.
The Way We Buy Things is Broken
It’s a fact: we live in a throwaway society. The phrase conjures images of disposable items in my mind: plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plastic straws, plastic wrap. It’s all designed for ease, and yet it takes hundreds of years for plastic to break down, never truly going away.
Sadly, the same “throwaway culture” can be said for other items in our life too. Clothing used to be dictated by the weather, by seasons, and those slowly evolved into micro-seasons, with new launches happening every week in our high street stores. Why wear last week’s it-dress when you could wear this week’s?
Technology is rife with planned obsolescence, with phone and computer models going “out of date” within a year or so – even if it’s not covertly programmed to slow down, that newer, shinier model is always going to be more appealing.
So what if we changed our thinking? What if we looked for ways to prolong the life of the items we buy, and with it, prolong our joy in using them?
This is the thinking behind the novel new store, BuyMeOnce. Founded by Tara Button, an entrepreneur who grew frustrated with items breaking in her home, she found inspiration in an understated blue Le Creuset pot that she knows she’ll have the pleasure of handing down to her grandchildren some day.
From that spark of inspiration, she set out to find brands championing longevity – they’re out there, if not few and far between – and together with her team she’s tested hundreds of items that really do live up to their lifetime guarantee.
Personally, I love the way BuyMeOnce is encouraging customers to invest in better items, and prolong their satisfaction in using them. They’ve made that hidden art into something of a science, and I’m pleased to announce I’m a new ambassador for the brand too!
Ask the Right Questions…
…and you shall receive a better product! For homewares, this is doubly important, as most pieces are an investment to begin with.
This BuyMeOnce quiz should help you discover a better product, and equally adopt a new approach when it comes to choosing good quality, well-suited pieces for your home.
1. Do the materials and craftsmanship make this product more durable than its competitors?
There’s something to be said for craftsmanship these days – it’s not as easy to find, but those few items that go and go and go really do create a better home. Take the Dualit Classic 2-Slot Toaster; its design and materials have barely changed since 1945, and the family-run business continues to assemble its products by hand too.
2. Do customer and independent reviews confirm its durability?
I don’t know about you, but I always look for an independent review before purchasing something for my home. One item I’d had on my wishlist for a long time was a skillet, and when the time came I chose an Skillet after reading a host of five-star reviews. Not only is it lighter than a typical iron skillet (better for my puny arms), it comes with a multi-century guarantee that promises real durability.
3. Is it made ethically, and, if possible, made of sustainable materials?
This may be question three on the BuyMeOnce quiz, but it’s priority number one for my own purchases. Products that come from a sustainable method of production, such as my Lüks Linen Blanket made by a family of artisans using all-natural materials, mean a lot more to me than those that don’t. I like knowing the positive backstory of every piece in my home… I can snuggle into that blanket with a smile every time!
4. Is the aftercare offered exceptional?
You know an item is built to last when it comes with a guarantee and aftercare promise too. The Denby Tea Set on my breakfast table comes with a Collector’s Promise, meaning they’ll honour any accidental damage within 10 years of purchase.
5. Is the design timeless?
Finally, I’d really recommend discovering and developing your taste in interior design before investing in homeware, so you’ll know you’ll love your picks forever. This Robert Welch Cutlery Set is one such example; it’s perfectly weighted, elegantly tapered, and really shines up at me every time I eat with them.