Prada and post office
I haven’t run away to join the circus. Don’t need to, I live in one. Seriously, I’m swamped with Mr. Fashion-Incubator upgrading the wiring and lighting in my shop so it’s a real disaster. It’s times like this I’m even gladder I married him. For the last 25 years, I’ve had to do it all myself. Now I can fetch and carry food and beverages and sigh and lament that it’s not all done this instant! Don’t get me wrong, it’s great if you can do your own electric but it’s even better if you don’t have to. Hopefully it will be done this evening because I have a class starting tomorrow. That’s what is really going on. I won’t have much time to spend on site over the next few days but I will be checking my email if you need something.
In what scant time I had to read, there are two items to share from my feeds.
The post office is in even worse straits. Do read that, not the same old, same old. I can’t help but think our industry has some of the same problems, essentially one of model and scale. Consider: USPS pricing is based on first class mail. However, the usage of this mail class has fallen precipitously. And at the same time, the amount of bulk mail increased. Meaning, the model changed but the basis of pricing structure didn’t. Market forces demonstrate that the price of bulk mail is too cheap. Its similarity to our industry is people are buying a lot more clothes than ever before but they want lower cost goods. Bad has pushed the good out of the market. There are more similarities but I’ll leave you to pick them out. Personally, I’ve long thought taxpayers could save a flippin’ bundle if post office lobbies were sized to the number of clerks on duty. Having six windows available but only one or two clerks working is a huge waste of utilities, construction materials etc.
The other news item that caught my eye was the concept that fake (pirated) designer goods can drive demand for the real thing. Here’s the money quote courtesy of Slate:
When most people think about the effect of counterfeits on legitimate brands—and when brands themselves litigate against counterfeiters—they focus on the “business stealing” effect: Every fake Prada handbag represents a lost sale for Prada. But a dirty little secret is that Prada rip-offs can also function as free advertising for real Prada handbags—partly by signaling the brand’s popularity, but, less obviously, by creating what MIT marketing professor Renee Richardson Gosline has described as a “gateway” product. For her doctoral thesis, Gosline immersed herself in the counterfeit “purse parties” of upper-middle-class moms. She found that her subjects formed attachments to their phony Vuittons and came to crave the real thing when, inevitably, they found the stitches falling apart on their cheap knockoffs. Within a couple of years, more than half of the women—many of whom had never fancied themselves consumers of $1,300 purses—abandoned their counterfeits for authentic items.
Don’t you think this will raise debate if not hackles? Whichever side you come down on, a brand must continue to police its intellectual property or lose the rights to them be it virtually and or literally. I think libertarians will have a field day with this one. What do you think?