Sometimes while working in my studio, I listen to podcasts from CBC Radio. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has some excellent radio programs: Q with Jian Ghomeshi is one I check in on regularly because it features an array of people working in arts and culture - often on the fringes of the mainstream.
A recent February episode of Q - guest hosted by Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden (whose wit I have always appreciated) - featured an interview with Phoebe Baker Hyde who wrote the book, The Beauty Experiment. The gist of the book - and the interview - is that Baker Hyde spent a year living outside the beauty conventions that society promotes for women through media, advertising and various industries. The book explains her personal experience through the experiment, explores beauty conventions from other cultures and explains practical tips for women to use in simplifying and challenging their own beauty routines.
To me, Baker Hyde's most interesting suggestion during the interview was the simple act of leaving a store before making a decision to buy something. How many times do we buy something on impulse only to have it sit untouched in our closets or makeup drawers? Though I've worked on it over the years, I'm still guilty of making pointless purchases. Baker Hyde suggests that, when you find something you want to buy, have a good look at it, and then leave the store. If it still seems like a good purchase after you've had some time to mull it over, and maybe had a look at other options, go back to the store and make the purchase. Of course, this isn't always practical or efficient, but I think the principle is a good one.
As I've pondered Baker Hyde's suggestion over the last while, I've begun to realize some of the dumb reasons I walk out of a store with a purchase:
This past weekend - armed with all these ponderings - I managed to leave two stores with nothing in my hands. One was even an art supply store, so that's a huge accomplishment for me. I was looking for a very specific storage solution for my studio, and almost gave in to buying something "close enough" when I couldn't find what I really wanted. In the end, my forbearance payed off when I found exactly what I wanted after doing some research online.
So from now on, each time I leave a store, I'm going to picture a big red stop sign on the door that says: "Do you really need to buy that?" Hopefully I'll have a little more money in my pocket and a little less crap around the house.
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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