BuyMeOnce finds and promotes products that don’t break the bank, don’t break the planet… that don’t break at all! E-store launched this year, contains over 200 different kinds of durable goods that are designed to stand the test of time.
BuyMeOnce is an attempt to induce to throw away our throwaway culture; a lifestyle of enjoying quality and comfort, a mindset that saves the time and money of buying the same things, also being socially and environmentally responsible.
We had a pleasure to talk with the webshop founder Tara Button about the urge to buy without system thinking.
“If socks can have a lifetime guarantee, why can’t anything?” – Tara asked you.
Tara, why you started your own business?
I was working in the advertising industry as a copywriter. My job was to come up with good ideas and write scripts for television adverts. BuyMeOnce is what I did to make up with the guilt being an advertiser. I was very aware of compromises I had to make on my values. So when I had this idea, I thought it‘s a really good way of me putting what I feel out into the world, instead of what someone else wanted me to say. Then I got a chance to do this full time, and I grabbed it with big hands.
(Sub)consciously people are seeking for a good, comfortable, quality life, thus, why do people keep buying cheap stuff?
Because it‘s cheap and you have a limited money amount to spend. We are encouraged to buy cheaply, while there is no tabu against buying cheap and throwaway stuff. People still feel very comfortable with buying cheap things.
The fashion industry and the other industries are constantly telling us that we need to be renewing, replenishing. “It‘s spring you need to refresh your whole house! It‘s winter you need a completely new wardrobe! You had that item for seven years. Seven years? Seven years is a long time. You can‘t possibly like it anymore; you must get rid of it.“
Also, there is pressure from the manufacturers to be constantly competing on price and not on quality. People get on Google, type “kettle“, sort it by price, and get the cheapest ones because they don‘t see the point in buying a more expensive one. The information is not there telling you how long the product is going to last. That’s why people can’t make informed choices. For example, you have two kettles in front of you: the first will cost as much money as it lasts ten years, the second one is cheaper and it lasts two years. If people had that information, then they will be able to make informed choices, and you probably would get them see economic value in it.
Do you know any mantras how to stay away or say NO to fashion?
Fashion is very seductive. This industry works on telling us to be dissatisfied with what we have right now. If you open up your wardrobe, you see a jumper and you’re like “ohh, it‘s a bit old, I can‘t possibly wear it.“ It‘s because the fashion industry is trained us to be ashamed of something that isn‘t fashionable, but it perfectly could be a good jumper that suits your body shape very well.
To be more resistant to this, people should think more about what suits them personality specifically. It should be more of a movement to try to get these values out. For example, Marge Simpson is wearing the same dress since 1989 and still looks great. I don’t see why we have to change the way we constantly look because it shows more strength at the character, more personality – this is the look I like, this who I am, this is what I believe, and I‘m going to wear it. And I’m going to wear it next season too.
On what basis do you select brands for your e-shop and what are the prices?
Firstly, I usually pay attention to what manufacturer itself is saying about what they are selling. Then I check hundred of reviews, what product is made of, how it‘s constructed, where they are made, how the materials sustainable are, does it offers a long-lasting guarantee.
Prices vary from product to product. They are more expensive, and I accept that. That is what I would like to work on manufacturers. I don’t think that we do have to make a choice between price and longevity, I think that there are ways on things that can last long in a simple way. Manufacturers can make money for example maybe they charge a little bit for the fixing of it. The trouble comes when it‘s cheaper to throw something out and replace it. Only in the US people throw away 13,1 million tons of clothes every year.
How can we deal with this throwaway culture?
We need to become stronger within ourselves. It’s about making people see that they are being tricked. They are being forced by manufacturers buy things again and again. We need to celebrate people that do something different. Celebrate the manufacturers that do put their neck on the line and say, “Well, we‘ll fix it“. The great example is Patagonia clothes that will fix all their clothes for life.
In one sentence, it‘s about being positive – we need positive answers, positive action and voting with our wallets. If we start doing that, then manufactures will think, “I want to create kettle that lasts 25 years“ and the other manufacturer will think, “Oh, we wanna build the kettle that lasts for the 30 years“.