Soapbox :: You get what you pay for

I recently had a conversation with my hair stylist about the idea that you get what you pay for. High quality products and services generally come with a higher price tag than those of lesser quality, and we are willing to pay the most for things that we perceive to have the most value to us. The conversation was both insightful and confirmed something that has been weighing on me for a long while.

During graduate school for my MBA, I often heard the phrase, "There is no such thing as a free lunch". With that I will add, "You get what you pay for." This post is a bit of a soapbox, but I really do have an important point. I'm hoping you will join in the conversation too, because I'd love to know your experience and thoughts on the subject.

In this economy, in particular, we are all trying to make our dollar reach as far as possible. With popular sites like Groupon, subscription services cropping up all over, and shows like Extreme couponing, it is no secret that we love "deals". But at what cost? 

A few years ago I had one of those "aha" moments that changed the way I shop. This revelation was three-fold. 1) I DON'T NEED SO MUCH STUFF  2) Quality products cost more, but they last longer, work better and are better for me and my family, and  3) My priority should be to purchase products and services that provide the most value to my family, *(value to me = supporting overall health and well-being).

As is the case with most parents, my lifestyle has changed dramatically these past 6 years since becoming pregnant with my first son. I simply have different priorities and my choices affect my whole family. Not only do I have to be better at making our budget stretch, but I try at the same time, to make choices that are more conscientious.

    The best lesson I have learned is to select fewer items, rather than sacrifice quality. I may have to go out to eat less to afford more organic produce, or I may have to pass on something else because I’m not interested in taking my locks to Super Cuts.

You get what you pay for. I have learned this lesson the hard way; be it clothes, food, personal care items (I could tell many stories here!), household items, gear or baby items. I have 3 kids and the quality products and gear I purchased for my first child are still going strong today with number 3.

My journey with Zoe Organics has also had so much to do with my revelation. I am constantly searching for the best raw ingredients to include in our formulations. Sometimes I order samples and then realize the quality isn't up to our standards. I have become quite the aficionado (or ingredient snob), many times being able to tell the quality of an ingredient by a quick sniff or glance. One thing I will not sacrifice is quality, even if it means we can’t source from the least expensive suppliers. Producing products by hand in small, carefully formulated batches, rather than by machines, is also a quality that adds value to our products. What our customers need to know is that quality comes with a higher prices tag. We aren't out to complete with drug store brands! An 8 oz bottle of body lotion by mega brand x does not equal a 2 oz jar of Zoe Organics Extreme Cream. We aren't out to compete with Bath & Body Works or be the latest product to join the lineup at Target. Call us "luxury", "high-end", or what have you...but above all, please recognize the quality of the product.

You get what you pay for. Yes! You may pay more for Zoe Organics, but you get more! More quality, more effectiveness and results, more concentrated formulas (a little goes a long way so they last longer), more sustainability, more quality ingredients, more peace of mind, more uses (many of our products are “family friendly”.

We have to get away from the quantity mindset and instead focus on the quality of what we as consumers and parents place value in. I believe that so much of it has to do with education and understanding. We won’t value something if we don’t understand its benefits. And we won’t prioritize something we don’t feel a connection to it. It’s a lesson I am still learning and hope to pass on to my children.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Please share your own thoughts and experience. What are you willing to pay more for? Are there criteria you use when making decisions about what to purchase? How are you teaching your kids some of these principles? 

Comments on this post (2)

  • Jul 10, 2012

    What a wonderful and well put article. Like you, I have discovered that I would rather eat out at a nice restaurant once or twice a month and cook at home rather than eat out several times a week and not be able to buy my favorite organic foods at the grocery store. I will save for a beautiful blouse with quality workmanship rather than go to H&M and buy a blouse less expensive with a sordid history in its making. We should focus on quality and value the work, care, and thoughtfulness brands like Zoe Organics puts into their line. I don’t know when it became so popular to think that keeping up with Jones’ was better than teaching the Jones’s to grow their own tomatoes, but I’m so glad to know there are still many of us that have an eye for what works, what is good, and what can outlast the brands trying to get one over on us.

    — Victoria

  • Jul 10, 2012

    So true, Heather! I love the simplicity of this mindset!

    — Laura

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