The market levels of gift are:
bespoke, high end department stores, high street, supermarket and designer maker.
Designer makers can fall anywhere on the spectrum depending on the quality of their products.
In order to distinguish between the market levels there are several things to consider. The most obvious, and often the starting point for any industry, is the quality of the materials used. In fashion or interiors I would probably specify this as fabric of some kind; but in the gift industry products can range from crockery and cutlery to notebooks and pencils, so the list of possible materials is quite a long one. The point being, whatever materials used to create the product would need to be of a higher quality to land in the higher end of the spectrum.
Next, we need to consider the time taken to create the object in question. Something that took someone 5 minutes to make is going to cost a lot less than something that took 5 weeks to make. On top of this, what processes or techniques were used to create the piece? Something that was relatively quick to make but complicated will cost more than something that was just quick and easy. More complex techniques will be reflected in the price and likely the quality of the product; price being another obvious factor to consider when distinguishing between the market levels. Is this product advertised? Products that are advertised on platforms such as TVs likely come from large companies that have a budget set aside to advertise to the masses; meaning they come from the mid to low market levels as the products would therefore need to be mass produced. High end companies usually explore other platforms such as magazines.
Leading on from this, how many of these items are there in the world? High end companies won’t produce for the masses. They will create stand alone pieces, bespoke pieces, or a small exclusive collection. Low end companies produce products en masse, likely using poor quality materials to lower the costs of production even further.
Structure. In fashion I would refer to seams and any raw edges, but because the materials and surfaces used can vary so much within gift I cannot just narrow this factor down to one medium. So, if the product is fabric based, are the seams neatly and properly sewn? Are any embellishments attached well? In terms of other materials, how well are the pieces that create the product joined together? Are the likely to remain together or fall apart in a few weeks?
Trends and concepts can also have a large impact on where products land in the spectrum. Companies that mass produce products will find it easier to keep up with the current trend/fashion, as they can create and then sell the products at speed and with ease – however, the products do land in the lower market levels because of this. High end designer/makers likely keep an eye on the current trends, but don’t necessarily follow them. Is the product designed to last a significant length of time, or just until the next trend arrives?
There is an extensive list of other factors that can influence where a company or designer lands within the market levels, I have only touched on a few. Others to consider are: how many shops does the company/designer have? A company based in one studio will have more money to invest in their products as appose to companies with stores up and down the country that will have less to invest in their products; levels of innovation, is the product new and cutting edge or just like everything else out there?
Image belongs to Cath Kidston