09-10-2014, 06:29 AM
#1
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I am posting this thread here, because I don't know where else to. Huh

I thought that I would throw this out there and solicit your comments.

How strong do you believe the allure is of products that are manufactured outside of your home country? Let me explain.

I lived in Europe for over a decade and every apothecary carried Tabac and to a certain extent, Alt Innsbruck. Tabac is to Europe, what Old Spice, or Mennen, or Aqua Velva is to the USA. I am not knocking Tabac and Alt Innsbruck, I use them often and really like them, but I find the allure on the forums stronger than I would have imagined if those same products were manufactured in our home towns.
The same analogy can be made of wine. My wife and I used to purchase a certain California wine that we thought was very good. When we returned stateside, that very same wine was at the bottom of the display shelves and had a less than stellar reputation.

I am expecting many of you to say that we should simply use the products we enjoy, regardless of where they are made. I agree. But the question is how much influence do you believe "foreign" products have on the average consumer?

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 09-10-2014, 06:48 AM
#2
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When I started my traditional wetshaving adventure I certainly was influenced by the foreign soaps and creams. Great products, packaging and heritage was alluring. TOBS was my first shaving cream that did not come from a can. I thought I was really making a leap forward into luxury(which I was). And, thought that it could only come from a European country. As the years past my tastes have shifted to more of the domestic artisan soaps. At the beginning I had limited knowledge of the fine products offered in the US. Now I look at all shaving products, foreign or domestic, under a different light.

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 09-10-2014, 07:06 AM
#3
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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I have experienced the same situation when living in Italy...Proraso was all over the place and common place, and I definitely feel that in the US, it's status is a little more elevated among wetshavers here.

You do bring up an excellent point... It's always interesting when spending time abroad to see some of the stuff that we might look down upon or at the very least not think twice about, to be elevated to either mainstream or even "luxury" status there. I've seen it with Colognes, clothing, and even McDonald's. Oftentimes when I have family visiting from overseas, it is inevitable that I will be surprised by at least a few items on their "must-have" shopping list during their visit to the US (last time it was crystal deodorant, some PS3 game, and Nike shoes).

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 09-10-2014, 07:15 AM
#4
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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No question in my mind : the allure of a product increases in proportion to limitation of availability. In addition to enjoying the product, there is a certain thrill involved in obtaining these 'difficult to fine' items.

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 09-10-2014, 07:38 AM
#5
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No product excites me until I try it, then the allure begins to acquire more. Biggrin
In all honesty, the concept that a product is foreign has no bearing on my desire for it.

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 09-10-2014, 07:53 AM
#6
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(09-10-2014, 07:15 AM)Agravic Wrote: No question in my mind : the allure of a product increases in proportion to limitation of availability. In addition to enjoying the product, there is a certain thrill involved in obtaining these 'difficult to fine' items.

+1

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 09-10-2014, 07:56 AM
#7
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It's almost a case of "the grass is greener", right? I mean, anytime, at least from what I have seen here in America, if a product, form of entertainment, even a man or woman, if they are from another country, they are excelled to the top as if better than what's right in our own faces.

The world has a case of a syndrome called loss of pride. I honestly don't believe anything should be bigger nor better than anything else, and certainly not promoted as much so. Everything designed and created and given to us is simply concluded to be in the grace of freewill and opinions.

With that being said, I don't care where anything is from, or where anyone is from; if you're good or bad, you're good or bad.

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 09-11-2014, 06:51 AM
#8
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No doubt DR Harris and TOBs are using their history and stereotype of the gentlemanly English to their best advantage. In the states lots of marketing is geared towards European being exotic and somehow better. Look at Häagen-Dazs, a very European name for a company founded in the Bronx. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of things plays a major role in swaying the average consumer one way or the other. If they have an idealized image of the hills of Tuscany with family sitting around a big rustic table while dining al fresco that just might sell them on an Italian styled product at the supermarket.

Now, as far as this specialized group in the forum goes, those who have been at this a few years know what they want. I mainly want American artisan soaps, not because their freedom inspiring kick ass awesomeness but because they are strongly scented compared to their heavily regulated EU counterparts. If anything, the established companies on either side of the pond have a lot of catching up to do as artisans soaps have pushed the bar very high.

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 09-11-2014, 07:42 AM
#9
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There was a time in the not too distant past when there weren't really any great American soaps available (unless you were a Williams fan). So we had to look to Europe and the UK. I was a real Cade fan but it was the only thing I could find besides AOS. Thanks to shaving forums and hobbyists there's plenty of American options now and they seem as popular as the old standbys.

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 09-11-2014, 01:24 PM
#10
  • joedy
  • Member
  • Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
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I agree with Sam; at one point there really wasn't many American producers of fine quality creams and soaps, but with the popularity of wet shaving taking off, this is no longer the case.

I have discovered that many of the US artisan soaps, creams and croaps are equal (and better) in quality and satisfaction to the traditional suppliers.

The small artisan shops are more willing to experiment with blends and scents and this makes constantly experimenting enjoyable.

-joedy

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 09-11-2014, 01:40 PM
#11
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These are all valid and good responses, however my question was about the perception and not the reality of the available products. For example, do American shavers choose Speick over Old Spice, or do Italian shavers believe that Old Spice is more interesting than Proraso, because of the allure that a "foreign" product offers? Maybe it's just me and this is a silly thread. Bryan mentioned the "Grass is always greener" scenario. I tend to think that has validity. Anyway, I am just leading this thread back to its original intent.
Thanks for reading.

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 09-11-2014, 01:52 PM
#12
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Personally, I love old American products, but my brothers & sisters from all over the world make things that I love to try. I just really think people look at it as if, "I can get stuff here anytime, to whereas I can't with foreign supplies".

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 09-11-2014, 08:46 PM
#13
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I would say the grass is greener at the other side, I really dislike De Vergulde Hand, while people outside the Netherlands seem to really like it.

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 09-11-2014, 11:00 PM
#14
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I evaluate and use products based on how well they work, not on the country of origin. So for me the grass is greener where the grass is greener. That can be on my side of the fence but doesn't it doesn't need to be on my side of the fence. Frankly I never understood the allure of "it comes from country X"; I still don't.

I've used low priced products from the USA that were dogs and others that were great. I can also say the same thing about products from overseas. If it's good it's good and if it's terrible it's terrible.

My biggest problem is that I only have one face to shave and the cabinet is just so big and no bigger. There are only so many products that I can use and evaluate.

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 09-11-2014, 11:44 PM
#15
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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I have tried products from all ends of the earth (and domestic) and at all price scales, and I've only kept the ones that work for me.
At the end of the day, I have more creams/soaps made in Italy than in any other country. Germany and USA are right behind too.
But one of my very favorites is made in Spain: Alvarez Gomez cream.

My preferences are only for those that make my skin feel better, not national origin.

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 09-12-2014, 06:30 AM
#16
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(09-11-2014, 11:00 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I evaluate and use products based on how well they work, not on the country of origin. So for me the grass is greener where the grass is greener. That can be on my side of the fence but doesn't it doesn't need to be on my side of the fence. Frankly I never understood the allure of "it comes from country X"; I still don't.

I've used low priced products from the USA that were dogs and others that were great. I can also say the same thing about products from overseas. If it's good it's good and if it's terrible it's terrible.

My biggest problem is that I only have one face to shave and the cabinet is just so big and no bigger. There are only so many products that I can use and evaluate.

+1 Biggrin

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 09-12-2014, 07:33 AM
#17
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No doubt that for many people, a product that is inexpensive and readily available is held in low regard, almost regardless of its utility.

I used to live in Carmel-by-the-sea, California. There was a woman who lived a few houses down the street from me. She put her house up on the market at a very reasonable price. Virtually nobody seemed interested in the house, and she was having all kinds of trouble finding anybody to purchase it. At the advice of one of the old-timers to the area, she RAISED the purchase price by tens of thousands of dollars. Mind you, the product was the same; she did nothing to the house.

When she re-listed the house with the higher price tag, potential buyers came out of the woodwork, and she was able to sell the house in short order. People assumed that the house must be worthless when she listed it at the lower price; at the higher price, the house was more attractive.

So, yes, I think there is no doubt that for most people, an imported shave soap or an expensive shave soap, or (better yet) an expensive, imported shave soap is thought of as a superior product to the cheap, locally available products. This sort of bias can lead to the somewhat strange situation wherein somebody from America thinks Proraso is the best while a person from Italy thinks Aqua Velva is the best.

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 09-12-2014, 07:47 AM
#18
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^^^^ That is ridiculous -- but understandable today.

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 09-12-2014, 07:54 AM
#19
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That is also the case with my profession. As a singer and recitalist, how I value myself is ofter how others will value me. (I think I'm worth itAngel) There is definitely the "snob" factor in today's marketplace. For better or worse.

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 09-12-2014, 02:11 PM
#20
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If I may make a slightly different point. I think that when we deal with something that is foreign, it is often more expensive relative to the local counterparts. This leads to the problem of selection bias. What do I mean by this?

Well imagine that the majority of the users of a given soap or cream buys what is convenient and cheap. They simply have no strong preference. When in the U.S., it's Old Spice. In Europe Tabac. Or whatever. But this also means that the ones who purchase the foreign product are making a conscious choice. They prefer that item enough that they are willing to pay a premium for it. Whether it's because they genuinely like the product better or because of its rarity allure, they pay the price for the import. But it means that at any given time, the bulk of those buying the less common, more expensive, and lesser known product strongly prefer it. While the majority are much closer to being indifferent. Even if there were more local buyers who would prefer their local product even at higher prices, the typical buyer couldn't care less. This colors our perception of which product seems "desirable."

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