Envy: Objets d'Envy
As the deadly sins go, envy might seem innocuous and indirect. But it eats at people and makes them do crazy things. When it comes to starting a fashion business, that sort of envy can be a powerful tool--powerful enough to inspire Kirsten Goede to turn her jewelry-making hobby into a business.
"It happens all the time with women," she says. "It's instinctual. You see something great that your friend has, and before you know it, you've blurted it out: 'Oh my God, where'd you get that?' That's what it is. It's that good kind of envy that inspires you to be better or more fashionable."
Goede spent 10 years as a graphic designer before deciding in 2004 to start Chicago-based Objets d'Envy. She had always made jewelry for fun, but when she saw people's reaction to her signature Rock Candy bracelet, she realized she might be able to sell it and her other designs to those who so often coveted after them. Her sales for this year will be double those of 2007, and her line is now featured in a Chicago-area Macy's as well as boutiques across the country. Her line has also been embraced by a few celebrities, something she says furthers a concept that's always been part of the fashion industry.
"Everybody knows about it, particularly in fashion, but nobody's spoken about it," Goede says. "But if you just look at the plethora of blogs about fashion, it's all based on that envy. It's the basis of a lot of shopping--that sense of envy. When you're looking for an outfit or style, when you boil it all down, it comes down to that little twinge of envy that you feel."
If wrath itself were a business, it might not be seen as very viable--too much effort for too little return. But a business that helps other people harness their wrath? That's a whole other story--a story Adam Gordon, and his website, uradeadbeat.com, has taken it upon himself to write.
"People like to be heard," Gordon says. "If someone's angry and if someone's been done wrong, they want to be heard, and they want to go someplace that's going to have some punch. Even if someone doesn't get what they want as far as trying to get money or whatever it may be, the fact that they've been heard, it's satisfying."
Gordon's story begins 15 years ago at his father's graphic design business, where a client not only refused to pay, he closed his business and reopened under a new name in the same building. When a small-claims judgment still produced zilch, the Gordons figured that, at the very least, there must be other people out there who had been done wrong and who could benefit from a forum where they could warn other business owners and consumers. Enter uradeadbeat.com, where, for $9.99, people can file a claim on the site, which will send a postcard to the alleged deadbeat and give him an opportunity to respond. The site, which has only been in operation since September and is getting about 130,000 page views a month, also accepts claims against deadbeat parents and even politicians. Gordon says it's something that will allow people a little more satisfaction than they'd get from just speaking their minds.
"It's one thing if you talk among yourselves," he says. "It's another thing if you actually let the individual know or let the political party know or let the president know first-hand of what's going on. People are unhappy about the economy. Imagine if the White House now has 1,000 deadbeat cards coming to them. It might actually make them take notice. To me, it's better than a petition, because it keeps going. It's really just about getting satisfaction, whether it's just about venting or there's a resolution at the end of it all, that's the main focus of what our site's all about. Not just venting, but letting the deadbeat know that whatever happened, the individual's not letting go of it."