I came across an excellent article in the January 3rd New Yorker called Just Have Less. It’s about Tomas Maier, the creative director of Bottega Veneta, and his response to a question about the prices of his products most caught my attention.
Maier insisted that his prices reflected the cost of materials and labor. “A chain store can sell a pair of kahkis for sixteen dollars,” he said. “I can’t even get a bold of kahki for that much. That means they are being made in some country where a kid is chained sixteen hours a day to a sewing machine. At Bottega, we pay our artisans in Vicenza properly, with benefits, and excellent working conditions. We use the best materials, and we make things in a way that is built to last.” He insisted that Bottega’s goods were not beyond the reach of middle-class people, who have simply been trained to want too much stuff. Anyone, he said, could afford one five-hundred-and-fifty-dollar hand-painted cashmere scarf. “Just have less,” he said.
It’s a great article. But it did leave me wondering why someone with such discerning taste would have a website like he does. Tomas, if you’re reading our blog (and I know you do)… let’s talk.