Facebook PixelUsing Wabi-Sabi as a philosophical tool to market slightly defective products
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Using Wabi-Sabi as a philosophical tool to market slightly defective products

Image credit: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Apr 26, 2022
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Adopt the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and repair slightly damaged goods with an artistic touch and resell them from dedicated stores.
In the United States only, five billion pounds of waste is generated through returns every year. Only 20% of the total goods returned are actually damaged beyond usage. Most of the goods/items that can still be used end up in landfills . Finding ways to market them for reuse will hence massively help reduce the carbon footprint and cut down the overall expenses.
Background: Wabi-sabi is an ancient philosophy with its origin in Japan. In simple terms, it is an appreciation of the beauty of brokenness, just the other way of saying ‘something is broken doesn’t mean it is not beautiful’. In ancient Japanese culture that dates back to the sixteenth century, they had this tradition when a clay pot had cracks on it, they used gold to fill in those cracks, celebrating the brokenness and elevating the mundane object to a new level value. Thought with sincerity, this philosophy can have profound use in today’s modern world.
Here is how this idea works: Whenever we buy something and realise that the item has a slight defect on it, we tend to return it and the seller seeing no usage for the item simply dumps it. However, with the idea of wabi-sabi, we can think of artistic ways to mend the defect on the item and resell them. For example, if a customer returns a jacket that s/he found out to be slightly torn in the sleeves, as a seller, rather than just dumping it off, sell them to the dedicated ‘Wabi-sabi shops’.
The Wabi-sabi shops have creative employees of all kinds. They stitch the torn sleeves in such a way that the stitch itself becomes a kind of art. Clothing is just an example. This idea can be extended to any other item in the style and fashion industry that is slightly defective but still can serve its core function. Be it a pair of shoes or goggles, wab-sabi will turn it from broken to beautiful!
The concept of wabi-sabi can build up an inherent acceptance of harmless flaws. It will make the world more environmentally friendly by reducing waste, all the while helping the economy.


Creative contributions

Can we also consider all the failed companies and ideas?

jnikola Apr 26, 2022
What if we created a place where you can sell your ideas for the money you think they are worth, like shop for ideas, or just leave it an open deal in which people can freely invest? Of course, many of these ideas need to be redesigned, completed, or can just serve as a starting point for somebody else's idea. That's where the Wabi-Sabi principle jumps in.
I described it in detail on this link.
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General comments

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
I like it, but I also laughed because it made me think of a guy who took this practise to the extreme by making Wabi-Sabi cars. The cars were write-offs, and he slightly amended them, then drove them around.
The cars weren't roadworthy even after his adjustments and still maintained most of their dents. So what I'm saying is that this is a great idea as long as it's not at the expense of someone's safety or compromises quality.
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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain2 years ago
Goran Radanovic This is exactly why this idea should not be taken beyond the fashion/apparel industry. Or at least be applied to the defects that are not directly related to the core essential functions that would compromise health, safety or security of the users.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 years ago
Great idea! Improving the quality and/or design of the broken thing will fetch it more money and will also act as a thing of prestige further convincing people of the philosophical view therein. To be more appropriate to this session, we may modify the phrase to - "something is broken doesn’t mean it is not USEFUL".
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