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Does Buying A Brand Name Product Rip You Off

For purposes of the article and my line of expertise I want to limit the talk to items of fashion namely menswear, but I will include an outrageous woman's accessory at the end.

Do you have a favorite brand that you constantly buy each time they come out with a new collection? Does it have the perfect fit for your body type? Does it have great workmanship? Is it very expensive? Chances are most of us do have favorite brands for many different things. There are mega brands which have stores in every major city in the world, like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Brioni, Giorgio Armani, Ferragamo and the like.

These brands all offer something similar. Sure they are all known as super luxurious and expensive. Most offer top-notch materials and rare materials. Some offer great fitting and styling. So what do you pay for when a Gucci bag is $2000 or Ferragamo shoes are $700? There are a combination of things to be looked at. Certainly, there are the materials and workmanship and the premium for the made in Italy label. Italians are artists at what they do from clothing to cars. However, we all know that these mega brands have large networks of stores, multi million dollar ad campaigns across continents and offices and showrooms in numerous countries. All of this needs to get paid for. So with that said, could you find a similar item with a not so known a name, with similar styling and materials for a much lower price? I am not saying you can find a Gucci bag at a discount shop for $150, that doesn't exist. What about a very high quality bag, made in Italy, not a knock off of Gucci, but a true design within its own right. Let's say the price is $1150. That would still be much less than the Gucci. The quality may even be better if you know what to look for in terms of the workmanship and materials.

I would like to state right here that it absolutely can be done. You can find very similar items, not knock offs, but 100% Italian made brands with the best workmanship and materials, even the same as the mega brands. In Italy there are only so many good factories. All these brands want to use those factories. These factories also produce the same exact merchandise under their own name brand and sell to stores worldwide. Take for instance shoes by Tom Ford. Does Tom Ford own a shoe factory in Italy? I don't think so. Does he own his own suit factory or sunglass factory? He may contract with one to make his designs, but so do many other companies. The premium you pay is for his name and his design if it is an exclusive design. Sometimes you can find the same design from two different designers because they use the same factory.

Now for the outrageous item I mention above. Today November 8, 2011 Valentino released a limited edition alligator handbag only available at Bergdorf Goodman. It's called the Demetra Alligator Satchel as reported by CNBC on Yahoo Finance. They say there are only three, yes, three bags that exist in the world. One is green, one is red, and one is black. The price for one ladies handbag is $19,500.

Let's analyze this. First off, alligator is not endangered nor is it in short supply. I cannot be sure, but most alligator imported into the USA as a finished product is Alligator Mississipiensis. That means it was farmed here in the USA and then sent overseas for use in shoes and bags. This is just me speculating, an educated guess. The bag is then made in Italy and re-imported as a finished product. You do need a license from the Department of Fish and Wildlife to import this type of thing, but for $100 per year you can import as much as you want. They also said there are only three pieces. I don't think any factory could survive on only making three bags for Valentino even if they sold all three on the first day. Realistically, this bag, made in a top factory in Italy could cost $3000-$5000. What should it retail for- $19,500? Seems to me you would be paying for lots of infrastructure in the Valentino organization.

What this type of item does do for Valentino and I'm sure that this was their goal, is to gain free publicity. That helps sell all their other products. I'm guilty too, I wrote about it.