Why I Buy Highly Refined Items – And Why You Should Too

Tonight Michelle (my wife) and I were out walking around Old Town in Fort Collins after dinner with some good friends of ours. We walked into this little shop called The Killer Rabbit, it’s one of our favorites and we were pleasantly surprised to find it still open that late. After some looking around, I found a little planner on the 20% off shelf from a company I had never heard of – Leuchtturn1917. Normally, I’m not a planner person, I prefer to use my phone to keep all of my appointments.

However, this planner was made with such fine detail and precision that I decided to buy it and give the whole planner thing a shot. I’ve been thumbing through it for the last 10 minutes or so, and this is without a doubt the best-built planner I’ve ever seen. The edges are crisp, the use of type is brilliant and well placed, and all the marketing material that came with it was designed with care. I know I’m going to use this planner every day and love it before I’ve even written a single appointment in it.

That’s the power of highly-refined products. They catch your attention and keep it forever. These products also last longer, come with better customer service, and are simply more fun.

The ethos of a product can be just as powerful as the function of the product in our desire to use it.

Think about your most-loved consumer product. Was there a significant amount of emotion involved in buying it?

Your iPhone, that Ikea desk, and the clothes you’re wearing all have a particular ethos attached to them and this directly effects your willingness and desire to make the most out of them.

This is even more important for creative individuals. Creative individuals (by the way, you’re one whether you believe it or not) are naturally drawn to beauty and beautiful objects. This is why we so often buy items that are sub-par, and never use them. Ugly items rarely, if ever get used. They get stuffed in the junk drawer and are never seen again.

Refined items break down less and come with better customer service.

The only real issue I’ve ever had with my iPhone was that my screen cracked after falling on a small rock, and that was 100% my fault. I took it into the Apple store to get a quote to replace the screen and they replaced it with a brand new phone without me even asking for it.

The people who build refined products are, by nature, extremely detail oriented and often love the products they build. They ensure that every i is dotted and every t crossed. Steve Jobs personally used every iPhone before it was produced, and if there was a problem it was fixed long before it reached the consumer.

Refined items are simply more fun to play with.

Walk into an Apple store and tell me I’m wrong here. Or  Crate and Barrel. Or Ikea. All of these stores are fun, even for those who don’t like to shop because the products are so brilliant and enjoyable.

Now, this theory obviously doesn’t hold true for some product categories. I still buy books with ugly covers (although I almost always think twice) if I know they have good information. Michelle and I also own several beautifully crafted items that almost never get used because they’re simply not that useful.

As a rule though, if you want to buy a product to actually use it, go with the refined item. You won’t regret it.