D*S Radio: The Cost of Independent Design

by Grace Bonney

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This week’s episode of After the Jump was inspired by comments I’ve seen on blogs and social media lately. Under photographs of handmade work, especially work made here in the U.S., I’ve noticed people becoming increasingly vocal about price points and how upset they are that handmade work or goods made domestically are expensive. While I understand that some people will never understand or accept price points above a certain level, I was concerned that there was a missing link here, or some information that would at least let these customers understand why products made in the U.S. and by hand cost more than the things sold at big box stores.

The same movement that happened in the food world that lead to people understanding the importance of organic food and shopping/eating locally has yet to find the same foothold in design. People are tempted by “fast fashion” and the low price points of huge box stores because they are affordable and easy. But those low prices and ease of purchase often come with bigger consequences and costs that people may not know about. So today I interviewed Claire Mazur, co-founder of , and Kathryn Fortunato of . These two women have an enormous amount of experience and information about the cost of independent design, from the cost of goods and labor to the reason prices for independent, domestically-produced goods need to be priced higher to support artists and create sustainable businesses.

This is quite simply my favorite show we’ve recorded all year. The information and conversations taking place during this 30 minute show are the beginning of a much bigger movement, one I hope we will all be a part of, that hopefully will lead to people thinking more about what they buy, how often they buy, and the circumstances behind the goods they’re purchasing. I am so grateful to both Kathryn and Claire for sharing their experiences and knowledge with us today, it was incredibly eye-opening and I hope all of you listening will feel as inspired as I did to be a smarter, more conscientious and understanding shopper. Shopping can still be fun and lighthearted and spur of the moment, but when there’s a greater understanding about the people behind everything we bring into our lives, we have the opportunity to make a real impact with our dollar and help the people and communities we care most about. Thank you again to and for joining me on-air today. xo, grace

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