Craft & Cost

After recently getting a short talk on craftsmanship from Craig Whittet (Head of Product Design Engineering in Glasgow School of Art), I've been asking myself "how much are handcrafted items worth?".

Funnily enough, this topic is very related to my previous PDE project "LAYERS". The time and effort in manufacturing each planter should have nearly doubled the retail price! But how are people to know the extent of the craftsmanship involved? In the case of Brooks Saddles, the heritage and use of authentic manufacturing methods help justify the retail price. The history and quality of manufacture add to the overall desirability of the product from the user's point of view. It's hard to say the saddles don't carry a ridiculous price tag for the product you receive, but there has to be a limit that people are willing to pay for it.

Tricker's footwear also play on their heritage, Established in 1826 it's definitely something to be proud of! Browsing through their website sale today, its impossible to find any "affordable" shoe to the general public. Around £200 seems to be the starting price. The shoes are hand made in England and the carry a quite aesthetic design, But I believe the main justification of this cost is the longevity of the product. 6 years later and you can still be wearing the same shoes that, have obviously, been broken and fully moulded to your foot.

Is £200 good value when you compare it to the Dr Martens for Life scheme? For £165 you can buy a pair of high-quality boots that come with a lifetime guarantee. Dr Martens, from my experience, seem to last forever anyway. When they eventually decide to give up, you receive a replacement pair to last another 5+ years. I believe the main difference here is reputation & brand image associated with the product. Trickers are suppliers to the British royal family whereas Dr Martens were the supplier to the punks & skinheads of the 1960s. Although both brands offer a high-quality product with a guarantee of 5+ years, Trickers have the edge in style and branding. They convey "understated elegance" to an upper-class lifestyle.

Of course if you've gone completely mad and have endless money, there's always the option of getting your own "bespoke" Trickers at £6,000+. One off custom shoes are obviously expensive to produce, but why someone would want to spend that much on a pair just baffles me.