The Duchess Effect

Handbags, dresses, sneakers - if you can get a royal like Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge or a celebrity and future royal like Meghan Markle to wear it, your brand is bound to benefit hugely. The Strathberry bag that Meghan Markle wore on her first official engagement with Prince Harry is a case in point. It apparently sold out in 11 minutes. Back in 2012 the 'Kate (Duchess Kate) effect' was estimated to be worth a whopping £1 billion to the British fashion industry. In short, the Duchess Effect is a marketer's dream and a conscious consumerist's nightmare.

There's a mystical thought that arises in many a woman's mind when she sees a Duchess (a real one or one in the acting, cooking or sporting kingdom) glamorously waving on Google or the glossy pages. It goes something like this: "Ah man, if I could just get those earrings she wore or the blouse in the episode last night, then I'd be just as stylish or confident or (fill in the blank)." Unfortunately you'll not receive some magical powers or instant success just because of a specific bottle of shampoo.

It's one thing if you want an item, because a Duchess has it and you want to be like the Duchess; it's another thing if you simply see something pretty for the first time and a Duchess just happens to be wearing it. In the first case you're buying from a place of insecurity and irrationality. In the second case you're buying, because said item would have spoken to you regardless of which individual introduced you to it. Even if you saw the lipstick on your nosy neighbour, you'd still have wanted it.

Instead of shopping till your credit card snaps in half, try to ask yourself why you're thinking of buying a specific product. If you manage to a look at your purchases critically, I'm pretty sure you will have more money left at the end of the month and you'll have less stuff that you need to Marie Kondo.

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