Thursday, November 5, 2009

Does green always mean more green?

To put it another way, does it always cost more for the green option?

If it does, does that hurt the ability to sell a green product?

First off, it doesn't always cost more for a green product. I have found some things that are less - check out Marcal toilet paper. I know everybody says that recycled toilet paper is not comfortable (including Amy) but you should try it first. What about something not so basic though... like FSC certified flooring or organic clothing. Expensive right?

We had a funny question from a shopper this week. After a few minutes in the store, the young female asked "Is that why everything is so expensive?" Now first off, I don't think you can describe our furniture as expensive - especially if you've ever visited a furniture store in NYC or one of the green furniture design websites (try However, if she had mistaken our little shop for a thrift store or a typical antique store (which happens more often than I care to mention) I suppose it could seem like $300 is a lot for a table. Unfortunately she got away before we had time to reflect on her question and really delve into what she was looking for.

The article from Terracycle talked about how when things are priced differently but are basically the same product, 95% of people won't pay the premium for green items. That's why we at TSM price our stuff the same as if you had to buy a table or shelf from a big box competitor like Crate and Barrel or Target. We use their prices as a guide and expect people to understand that is what a table costs everywhere. We do price some of our one of a kind pieces a little more, but that is the only way to recover the cost of making rare items which take more time and thought.

We believe, just like the Terracycle research, that the flipside is true as well. If two items are priced the same and one is better for the environment then 95% will choose it. The biggest hurdle I believe is getting people to understand that not all green items are more expensive. When people see the organic label, they automatically think expensive and the same goes for the green label.

Those high priced sellers that ask for a premium from the 5% that will pay more are making it hard for the other 95% to believe they can actually get a good deal on green stuff!

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