Some people are getting my reference to boutique mixed up with luxury brands. Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead with Louis Vuitton bag and I'm sure most Boutiquers wouldn't be either. The difference, as the diagram suggests (and there are many more differences than I quickly plotted in this image) is the motivations for buying. I said, "Bought for connection" because, as Sanford commented in the previous posts comment section:
"People go out of their way to purchase certain goods - like moleskine notebooks - or buy cheese from specific vendors because it broadcasts something about who they are. This statement can be personal/internal, shared with a small audience..."
It's a way to connect. To friends. To the environment. To your heritage. To your neighbors. To your senses...etc. And, it is a way to express yourself. We've understood that we have purchasing power. That if we use that purchasing power towards our passions and beliefs (sweat shop free, recycled materials, locally grown free from chemicals, etc.) or as ways to tell others who we are, we feel like we have a bit more control over this mad, mad consumption culture we live in.....or something like that.
I don't know...I'm really still exploring this. Trying to figure it out. Not 'nail it down' or anything (you know how I hate defining things narrowly), but definitely trying to differentiate it from what is already out there.
And, to tell you the truth, different brands are going to fit into different spots on this diagram for everyone...
:: Total bonus. David Sanford created this interpretation of What Boutique is [pdf]?