The Valley of Quality

Text & illustration—Jean-Daniel Petit

Tucked between two tall mountains there lies a small, lush valley where life is good. Only a few set foot here, because you have to traverse ever-growing obstacles in order to reach it.

On one side stands the volcano of planned obsolescence, ready to erupt at any moment. It’s made of electronics that are no longer under warranty, fast-fashion clothes, cheap stuff we replace endlessly according to ephemeral trends, and cars still full of gas. Here, stock is accumulated en masse!

On the other side stands the summit of luxury. The one many people attempt to climb, unsuccessfully, sacrificing everything, even their health. A mountain reserved for the elite who climb higher and higher, making sure they remain unique and … alone. This is where individual riches are accumulated.

Midway between these two, the valley of quality is hidden. A space where we aspire to live in harmony with our environment. A space where we think about the impact of each action, where sustainability wins out over quantity, relevance over exuberance. Here, we try to simplify our way of life, collectively.

Sadly, when we consume cheap goods — or go in search of the ultimate luxury — we cast a shadow over this valley that needs sun to bloom.

And above all: we become impoverished as a society and as individuals.

Buying local, eating organic, wearing slow fashion, building for generations to come — all this can seem inaccessible to the majority of people. Aiming for quality is not easy, especially in these times.

As a society, we need to make certain choices.

Aiming for long-term impact instead of instant gain, maintaining and repairing more, consuming much less, collaborating and sharing — yes, sharing.

Then quality becomes accessible and consistent. Everyone wins.

Many entrepreneurs share this vision and take action by putting their hearts, their talents, and their resources into the service of well-thought-out, sustainable products that respond to real needs. These people make difficult choices. They’ve refused to embark on the path toward mediocrity that would allow them to offer prices that please the masses, just as they refused to aim for ultimate luxury in the goal of joining some elite class. Instead, they’ve decided to position themselves between two giants, convinced that more and more people will join them in the valley of quality to put down roots there.

At BESIDE, we believe in this. I believe in it.

Because quality is not a luxury, and we can’t afford to be cheap.

Jean-Daniel Petit


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