Being local

Last week, we discussed about difficulties and opportunities of regional design. That’s kind of topic has right and wrong answer. We know now that local design definitely getting rare in United States. Company rather export the raw material from out of country and do the production in the developing countries, for example China, India, Mexico, and etc. Company thought it was cheaper to pay the labor and do the production in there, well yes, it’s because China laborer got really low or even below minimum wage per hour. But that’s how international marketing nowadays, none of companies in here think about buying or growing their material locally. I know it’s really impossible for farmers to grow cotton plant in Oklahoma. It’s different if they do it in New York or San Francisco, probably people that live there would buy it locally. It’s because they have good opportunity to grow a business in material production, instead of doing it in Oklahoma. It doesn’t mean that it’s not goo to grow cotton in Oklahoma, but we have to look deeper on the culture, economic, and how people will react. Last year, I had an internship with small apparel boutique in downtown Tulsa. They have been opened the store for two years. The owners have decided to create their own design and being a retailer to sell local products (which is from Oklahoma). They sold paintings, jewelry, bath products, and furniture from local artists and producers. They said it was really easy to find local artist on our couple first month of store opening, and they trusted them to sell their products. In first couple month, local products that they sold were booming around downtown area. But after a year, customer finds less interest with local product, because they felt the products were getting too expensive. So from that time, they didn’t really make any profit from selling local products and the local artists, they can’t make any money from there too. I mean the reason because we are not living in the city where we could get cheaper material, since they still need to get material from other cities. And it would take time and shipping cost. So it would probably make local product expensive as well. I mean I can’t blame them, that’s what happens nowadays in Oklahoma. I used to go to downtown Tulsa, they had a lot of boutiques that sell local products, and now I can only find one or two probably.

I would say it depends on the culture of the city itself. We need to do more research on how customer thinking behavior on local product and how the producer could get cheaper and easier access to raw material. People find easier to buy products now at department stores or shopping mall. If we want to sell product locally, then we need to make a change to the situation and we need to see the possibilities from our incentives in the future as well.

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