Have you ever wished you could buy more things that live as long as that cast-iron crockpot that you inherited from grandpa? Then Tara Button’s site Buy Me Once is the place to look.
Button wondered the same thing, and decided to create a store that would only sell well-made products. The small selection is growing, and includes sections for tools, toys, clothes, shoes, cookware, furniture, and beauty products.
In most cases, the brands and models Button chooses are backed with a lifetime guarantee or similar. For instance, Eagle Creek’s travel gear comes with its No Matter What warranty, and Le Creuset’s cookware carries a "cast iron" guarantee.
"I found Buy Me Once socks," Button told Mother Nature Network’s Starre Vartan. "If socks can have a lifetime guarantee, why can't anything?"
But sourcing built-to-last goods isn’t the only way to ensure they endure. Repairability is another priority. For instance, Button talked to cobblers to find out what kinds of shoes are the easiest to repair. "I'm looking for […] the companies that are really trying and trying to cut down on this throwaway culture," says Button. "Like Patagonia offers free fixing of their clothes. Nobody does that, and half of us don't know how to [sew] anymore."
The result is that there’s not much plastic in the collection. Instead, you’ll find wooden hairbrushes, toys, and paintbrushes, leather bags, and lots of steel. Furniture is built from sustainable wood, and even the umbrellas are fashioned from steel and fiberglass, with canopies that have thread counts. Then again, even a $180 umbrella can get lost on the metro.
There are plenty of well-made objects out there, but the main challenge may be in getting people to actually keep using these lifetime goods. After all, what’s the point of an indestructible cast-iron skillet if you get bored and replace it with a "better" model in a year?
To this end, the Buy Me Once site deals in classic designs, and also tells you how to look after your stuff once you get it, with guides to caring for leather bags and shoes, repairing furniture and more, hopefully encouraging people to cherish their possessions as they age. People clearly love the look of well-used old things, but we don’t have the patience to let them age. In a world where people pay $5,000 for a guitar that’s been deliberately abused to make it look old, perhaps the biggest challenge is dealing with people’s impatience.