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Why Pay Less?

Fast Company today kicks off a column called “Spare No Expense” and I’m already intrigued. The column speaks to the “budget crunching” issues faced by the Beatles, among others, as well as the audacious pricing model of Intelligencia coffee — paying above market prices to growers in order to get the very best beans, sure that some group of coffee drinkers will appreciated and pay for the difference. First, of course, I’m intrigued by the launch of the column because I believe in investing in excellence and consumer education to enhance our brand experiences. Of course I do. But, I’m also intrigued to see what other examples they’re able to find to support the thesis. It’s slim pickings out there in the real retail world. So, here is my candidate for inclusing in any list of companies that know how to invest to grow (even if the economics don’t make balance sheet sense on day one). Ralph Lauren reportedly loses money on every $5,000 suit he sells, but ithe perfection of these suits makes a perfect halo to support the rest of this brand’s offerings: sheets, towels, fragrance, ties, the list goes on and on. What say you?

Any examples of brands that openly defy our “okay, available and cheap” culture and take the risky path to exhuberant excellence?

FCS