The local, durable, reliable, dependable, good investment product, so you can rest brand.
A couple months ago, Adweek had this great article 15 Purchases That Might Outlive You, and it got me thinking about my buying experience – I’m a diehard fan of durable, practicable brands. This wasn’t me a few years ago. Nope – growing up I was a TJ Maxxinista – whatever was the best price and cute enough under that bright fluorescent lighting, I would buy it. But then I started becoming attached, whether it was a dress from Forever 21 or a pair of leggings from Marshalls, and within six months/a year, it would crumble before my very eyes. There was also that ethical dilemma of having too much stuff. Now there are a few things I will buy dirt cheap like sunglasses or umbrellas, I lose those easily, but overall when I make a purchase these days I expect the product to be guaranteed to last. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a list of my favorite local companies that deliver this promise.
I worked here when I was 19 years old, the ripe age when I was learning to buy groceries for myself, so I was indoctrinated early to buy high quality foods and to have high standards for my grocery shopping experience. One of my favorite rules they have is the “yes” policy. Essentially if you’re not happy with something you purchased, they will give you a full refund - no questions asked. Here’s their philosophy behind it: Let’s say you returned a $10 bag of potato chips that you devoured but didn’t like. Even though the store lost $10 in profit, the hope is that you’ll become a returning customer because of their no-questions-asked and the cost will make up for itself. I just did it the other day with some over ripe mangoes.
Couple of years ago I bought a canvas bag from H&M. Within the year it completely fell apart (one of those attachment issues I was describing earlier). Of course, there’s no way to find it new again because they get new arrivals every week. So one day I wandered into Beckel Canvas, and have never looked back. Beckel primarily makes tents so the material they source is high quality and weather-resistant and they use it for their bags as well. Since they make the products in Portland - April was their 50th anniversary! - they are pretty accommodating when it comes to replacing parts and customization.
Full disclaimer: I hear they were purchased by a South Korean company, but their roots are in Portland so I’m tipping my hat to them. Nau is another one of those practical, durable brands that I fully support. I had been on the hunt for a long time to find a decent looking warm waterproof coat, which was a lot more challenging than I had expected it to be. When I finally broke down and bought a coat for both myself and my husband at Nau, I haven’t regretted it. There have been times when we’ve had to take one of them in to get something fixed - like a tear on the cuff - and they did it without question. It’s been a while since I’ve had to do that so I hope they are still living that promise! What are some of your favorite durable Portland brands?