can buying indie make you happier?

phillies facial hair art print

When Mr. Scoutie Girl and I go to a Phillies game, we spend a lot of money. We buy hot dogs and beer and ice cream and t-shirts and, this last time, $10 silly bandz in the shape of the Liberty Bell. We also spend good money on good tickets that get us just a wee bit closer to the action. We love the experience of going to a game, feeling the crowd surge around us, and cheering on our boys on the field.

We leave the game with little more than we came in with and a lot less in our wallets.

We buy the experience of Phillies baseball.

In a day & age where most of us have to choose between unconscious consumption of material goods and the conscious acquisition of experience, there are more & more of us choosing experience.

What makes people feel good emotionally happier, more satisfied is now changing. Where many of us used to prize instant gratification and adhered to the credo of “More Is More,” the New Consumers are seeking more purposeful pleasures. Pleasures that are longer lasting and that offer deeper satisfactions.
The New Consumer in the Era of Mindful Spending

While experience might be fleeting, memories last a lifetime. Or, as long as we remember them. Which is a hell of a lot longer than that $5 t-shirt you just bought from Old Navy. Trust me, I know.

So can buying indie combine the pleasure of material consumption with the satisfaction of experiential spending?

I think it can. The hunt for the perfect item, the connection to the artist or designer, the feeling you get every time you touch an object that has been loved by its maker… to me, that’s an experience. It transcends that quick rush you get when you hit “add to cart” and creates a lasting pleasure that can be relived on a daily basis.

While we must all be mindful of the amount of “stuff” we consume, buying indie can satisfy both the long-term & short-term happiness we crave as consumers.

What do you think – does buying indie make you happier?

{phillies facial hair print by malachy egan}

11 thoughts on “can buying indie make you happier?

  1. There’s no doubt that all brands, whether they offer tangible or intangible products or environments, deliver the promise of an experience. As if that’s not enough (a hopefully great experience) indie products offer something you’ll never find at mass…they offer the unbridled passion of the creator, attention to detail and sheer joy of creation. I’m always much happier purchasing products with that story…always.

  2. I definitely derive more happiness from buying handmade items than buying mass produced goods. I enjoy the entire process–finding a beautiful product and interacting with the artist–and I remember it each time I use or look at the product. For instance, I have a handbag that I got for my birthday that was handmade by a talented woman on Etsy. It’s much more than a handbag to me. I appreciate each stitch and think about that crafter on a regular basis. Whereas, I don’t think about the process or the significance of my other handbags. I also tend to carry my handmade bag much more often than any of my other ones.

  3. Very thought provoking, as always! In my house we have always chosen experience, over stuff. We go out for a good meal, instead of buying each other holiday or birthday gifts, or we buy something handmade.

    Which leads me to the thought – handmade can lead to a more satisfying experience. I adore the handmade objects that I own. They add so much to my daily life and as a maker, it gives me great satisfaction to think I might be giving that same feeling to those who own the objects I make.

    Indie products are good, we enjoy supporting small businesses too (such as those great restaurants we treat ourselves to on special occasions. But I wouldn’t lump handmade in with indie run businesses.

  4. I love knowing the stories behind the items, especially handmade. I really love receiving these items in the mail – the experience of opening something I bought on etsy is always a treat!

  5. Yes! I have an idea rattling around my head that the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” is way too simplistic, even when applied to straight up consumption. When I look at something in my home that I can connect with a story (a great trip, a hunted score, a connection to an artist), I recapture the feeling I had at purchase. It’s items bought strictly for utility, with no thought beyond “I need this”, that provide a flat experience once in my home.

  6. Personally, I find more happiness in buying Indie items because they are different than what everyone can buy. Also, I am a small handmade business owner, so I can relate more with the maker of my indie purchase than with the makers of an Old Navy t-shirt.

    Along the lines of this post, last week I heard a report on NPR that was about the new Eat Pray Love movie and all the merchandise that big boxed stores are pushing to promote the movie.

    One of the experts they spoke to (I think it might have been the author of a book on mindful spending, but I cannot remember exactly) discussed mindful spending. He said that in today’s economy, consumers are thinking more about their purchases and hoping to attach a meaning or feeling to them. His examples were the Eat Pray Love merch and organic foods or hybrid vehicles.

    I know he only spoke for 7 seconds, but I think he was completely missing the point. I am not criticizing EPL (I have not seen the movie or read the book) or this particular expert, but it seems that all the “stuff” surrounding the movie isn’t promoting mindful spending at all. It is promoting “you will feel so great if you buy this mass marketed stuff because it comes from a thoughtful/spiritual book.”

    Well, I might be wrong, but I thought the book was about one woman’s journey to find herself and regain her zest for life. I didn’t think it had anything to do with buying a bunch of junk.

    I suppose the retailers are hoping this merchandise will tap into the “mindful spending” or “buying an experience.” However, I wish they would promote mindful spending in another way…

  7. Yes, because when you buy indie you ARE buying into an experience. You are saying, “I’m hip, I get it, I’m tuned into this culture” and buying it makes that statement. It also is an experience because it makes you feel good. It feels good to support the little guy, the mom and pop shops and especially if there is a personal connection there, where you get to connect directly on some level with the designer. You know damn well they appreciate your purchase more than a big corporation. To a big corporation you are a tiny dot on their profit margin. To an indie designer you are a person. Being dealt with as a person always makes me happier.

  8. I absolutely get satisfaction and happiness from buying handcrafted and indie products. I love the experience from shopping, finding items, learning the story behind the artists and then passing the experience on, whether it’s giving the items as gifts or just sharing the stories. I also like the feeling I get from supporting ‘the little guy’ who is me too! Great post!

  9. With every stitch my needles form or every cut my scissors make or every turn of the screw driver, I put myself into my creations. I assume the same of others so when I purchase an indie item I KNOW it is so much more than the physical product. Never think of that when I buy from a
    b & m unless,of course, it’s an indie store! Never think about who stitched my jeans or turned the wood on my table or milked the cow for my milk! But I do think, I may have made someone’s day with my purchase from an indie shop.

  10. I really think that more and more people want the unique and the original, buying indie makes you stand out a little bit more. Also, people want to know where things come from the clothes on their back to food they put in their mouths.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *