A dear friend of mine had this question. It’s pertinent and one that can be extended beyond handbags – to clothes, makeup, jewellery etc. But for this post, we will limit the discussion to bags. When I was younger, I would spend all my pocket money on unbranded bags, from the local shops in Koti, Hyderabad. Hence, I have a fair idea on how my branded versus unbranded bags have fared in all these years.
Before we begin, I would like to clarify that what I am referring to as ‘unbranded’ is any product whose background and legitimacy cannot be verified or that is not backed by professionals.
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The primary reason to go for branded bags is authenticity. This is the age of the aware consumer. You know exactly what you are paying for. You are aware of the material used, the fittings etc. Gone are the days when you had to blindly take the word of the shopkeeper. Brands have decades of experience backing them. The genuine raw material and skilled craftsmanship ensure that your bag is built for the long haul. Most branded bags are accompanied by a warranty card and tips regarding its upkeep. The whole process and the hassle-free interaction with them converts your expenditure to an investment and you can rest assured that your return on investment is well taken care of. After all, it’s your hard earned money. Why would you want to spend on something that isn’t as genuine as your cash?
When it comes to branded bags, there is a team of professional, qualified designers working on the structure of the product. A lot of thought goes into its ergonomics, spacing, organization etc. They have departments specializing in studying the raw material – especially true in case of leather, the production itself and the finish. They are in touch with the latest advancements in the industry and have the know-how to apply them to their products. A premium to pay for such state-of-the-art production is quite justified according to me.
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Moreover, women are an empowered lot since the past few decades. Their financial independence and status in the society makes them look forward to owning objects of desire, sometimes with that label of exclusivity, exuding sophistication and class, that’s not always possible with counterfeit products. And it’s not just about impressing others. It is what you owe to yourself at times. Trust me, owning genuine stuff does boost one’s confidence.
Having said that, I do not mean that you should always go for the Hermes and the Louis Vuittons. A lot of brands these days have spectacular bags at affordable prices. There is Kate Spade, Furla, Michael Kors. Our very own Baggit and Lavie are stellar examples. For pure leather, you have Hidesign and TLB that are a notch more expensive. The point is, you have a branded bag for every budget. The very same technological advancements that I spoke of earlier contribute to lesser production costs which are passed on to the consumer.
I do not spend on unbranded products these days. Whether it is bags, clothes or makeup. If there is something I can’t afford right away, I plan, budget and save for it rather than purchase something less deserving of my money. I would like to make it clear here that handcrafted work is kept out of this ‘unbranded’ categorization. Local artisans have unmatched skill and experience that is not industrialized, yet that cannot be replicated by any assembly line. Some of these techniques are hundreds of years old and are a national treasure. I am a big fan of these bags that are the cornerstone of many a crafts exhibition in our cities. Also, out of this categorization are bags made by those with inborn talent honed at prestigious institutes – I have supreme regard for products by Needle Doodle and the Purple Sack, for instance.
So my dear friend, unbranded bags, as I have defined them, are indeed a waste of money in my humble opinion.
Would like to know the opinions of readers on this topic!