Michigan State Tote bag hanging on the wall

Buying Things with Meaning

Thoughts from the field by Greg Heinemann

There has been a ton written recently about how consumerism has gotten out of control and the drive toward a more minimalistic lifestyle has great merit.  And I think it’s hard to argue with either side of that equation.  I look at myself and my closet and am almost ashamed at what’s in there.  Duplicates of the same item I had no idea I had purchased previously.  Things bought and never worn.  Things bought and worn only a few times.  Things bought and wondered WTF I was even thinking.  So yes, those of us blessed with some level of disposable income probably should be thinking about how to pull back the throttle on our purchasing habits and reconsidering a different and more rational approach.

There has also been a lot of chatter about buying fewer but higher quality items and wearing them as often as one would like, until they literally need to be tossed.  And I think there is a lot of good sensibility represented there.  While one may think others will actually remember that they wore the same shirt twice in the same week, it’s highly doubtful anyone is paying that much attention to what you are wearing day-to-day.  So, give yourself a break and go ahead and wear the stuffing out of a favorite sweater or top.  Give the environment a break and not take things to the dry cleaner after a single wearing.  Your likely not working in a foundry and sweating through your tops or bottoms.  And while I love my cleaners, I have stopped automatically putting things in the laundry bag after one wearing if they could be pressed and remain as fragrant as if just cleaned or washed.

However, I think there is even a bigger and better moment for consumerism that counts.  Things that really count.  That matter personally to you.  And that is what I’ll call “experiential consumerism.”  Not travel or concerts or a sporting event.  Rather, purchasing things with a meaning to you personally.  That remind you of a time or place that you have fond memories about.  Something representative of a treasure trove of stories.  Somewhere and sometime in your life you are proud of or where something was accomplished.  Where relationships were cast – some successfully and some bittersweet.  An item that when seen by others, they comment on it and the door is opened to tell them why you own it.

It’s this idea of experiential consumerism that is the DNA for our company and our products at Heritage Gear.  Something beautiful that you can own, carry, flash with pride or gift to the next generation upon a special accomplishment, like graduation, a noteworthy birthday or  anniversary.  That weekend shared going back for a Homecoming Weekend or commemorating a genuine life passage.

The idea of experiential consumerism is not for everyone.  It may be more expensive than one can or wants to spend on an item.  But that’s what makes it more special.  And to have meaning behind a gift given or some symbolism that relates to that time and place where everything was promising and right and the future golden, cannot be relegated to just another purchase or a price tag.

This is what will guide us with every item we craft.  That the quality, the core materials and the design of every Heritage Gear product brings to life that place and time or once in a lifetime experience that’s well worth the price.  Something you are proud to give to someone special in your life.  And representative of a treasure chest of memories and likely some unbelievable stories to boot.