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HOW TO PUT PASSION
IN YOUR PURCHASE

As a former apparel industry executive with over 20 years experience with major global brands, I can speak authoritatively about passion. I have seen impassioned pleas in the boardroom. I have seen passionate marketing presentations. I have even witnessed passionate arguments between I.T. gurus over the size of data pipelines and their impact on information speed. But unfortunately in recent years, I also witnessed less and less passionate discussions about the actual product.

Not so long ago, prior to massive mergers and consolidations, retailers and manufacturers alike prided themselves in being different. Your hometown department store ( remember them? ) made it a point to offer the consumer items that they couldn’t find anywhere else. If a person took a trip to another city, they could look forward to shopping for things they might not have seen back home. In today’s world, retailers that have less than 1000 stores nationwide are considered endangered species, and unfortunately there are no watch groups out there to protect them from extinction. At the same time these mega-retailers, and the mega-manufacturers who serve them, have realized that taking chances with product is far too risky, and quickly chose to homogenize product assortments. The painful result is known as the “sea of sameness”. Once product is set adrift in the sea of sameness, differentiation can only come from things like advertising, pricing, or the color of the in-store carpeting. If you woke up in any of the major retailers in America today, and all that was there was the product, could you quickly name the store you were in?

For me, all of this changed when I entered the “Green Industry”. Never have I experienced the level of passion for the product, and the mission it supports. Honesty is paramount. Integrity is integral. Marketing is not the means by which images are created. It is rather the vehicle through which education is spread. Creativity and risk taking are not frowned upon; they are the green lifeblood that fuels success. Savvy green retailers recognize that carrying product such as this provides them a point of differentiation that no big box retailer dare encroach upon. Responsible green manufacturers know that the mission is not hype, and using it as such is thin ice not to be ventured on. All of this results in a focus on product that is unsurpassed.

As a consumer, your choices are endless. But when considering your next purchase, think about the product first. If you embrace newness, creativity, social and environmental consciousness, individuality, and above all passion, the choices become far less and far clearer. Support your local retailers who dare not to conform. Embrace manufacturers who choose the daunting task of supplying products in an oversaturated market, while simultaneously attempting to do the right thing. Think twice about buying from companies whose only true mission is to increase the price of their publicly traded stock. Remember that the products we eat, wear, sleep on, clean with, are some of the most personal things in our lives. Shouldn’t we choose them based on the global good they do and their actual product merit, as opposed to size of their advertising budget? For your next purchase, go green! Doing so will support all of the retailers and manufacturers who are truly trying to make a difference, and whose passion starts with their products, and the mission they support. Plus, choosing green products will also help you avoid drowning in that dreaded sea of sameness!


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