I spent most of the weekend at the Breathe Christian Writer’s Convention, which was wonderful. But by Saturday afternoon I had to get out for a minute. My brain was overflowing with information and my introvert energy levels were sorely depleted, so I snuck out of a session to go to the mall.

I do realize that makes me sound like a seventeen year old, yes. But I really needed to go see the new comforters at my favorite housewares store (rhymes with Mottery Marn), and so the seventeen year old in me commandeered the keys to the minivan and off we went.

This image was borrowed directly of the Pottery Barn website, and it may bear a strong resemblance to the very quilt I was considering.
This image was borrowed directly off the Mottery Marn website, and it may bear a strong resemblance to the very quilt I was considering.

Can someone please tell me what makes a blanket, a piece of woven cotton threads, worth $300? Of course quality costs more, and I’m willing to pay a fair price to a company that doesn’t churn out $12 blankets because they’re running sweat shops in the Philippines.

But $300? For a blanket? Good grief and no. So I trundled out to the minivan and drove back to the conference, where I stuffed the remaining cavities of brain space with a few more bits of information.

Here's my friend Bob, I think. I don't know who took this photo because I stole it right off the Breathe Facebook page.
Here’s my friend Bob teaching, I think. I don’t know who took this photo because I stole it right off the Breathe Facebook page.

It occurred to me later that the Breathe Conference was the exact opposite experience of my blanket shopping trip. I’ve been to other writers conferences that cost over $650. I really thought the internationally known speakers and workshops would justify the high price tag, but I left terribly disappointed. There was a lot of hype without a lot of help.

This would be the panel of editors that Ann Byle interviewed for us all, giving us the inside scoop on what editors want. (And what drives them crazy!)
This would be the panel of editors that Ann Byle interviewed for us all, giving us the inside scoop on what editors want. (And what drives them crazy!)

In contrast, Breathe cost me $130 and I took away more information than I know what to with. I have a folder stuffed with tidbits I need to start using and for this I spent $520 less than the fancy-pants conference.

It turns out sometimes the price is not right. The extra cost is not always justified.

This explains why the comforter I’ve had for five years is currently in the washing machine, awaiting its third dye job. I stopped at Hobby Lobby after work today to grab a bottle of navy blue Rit Dye. If this works (fingers crossed), I’ll have an approximate copy of the $300 blanket but it’s going to cost me a total of four bucks.

If it doesn’t work, I really will be in the market for a new blanket soon. But it certainly isn’t going to be the one at the Mottery Marn.

If you’re in the market for a writers conference, I highly recommend the Breathe Conference in Grand Rapids (October 7-8, 2016!). High quality doesn’t always come with a high price tag, and this conference proves it.

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7 Comments on Breathe Christian Writers Conference: High Value, Low Cost

  1. Eric Wilber
    October 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm (2 years ago)

    $300 is the starting price for a lot of homemade quilts. Sounds really pricey for mass produced stuff. I am biased though as my wife and mother in law both make quilts

  2. Jessie Clemence
    October 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm (2 years ago)

    And that’s a totally different story! The amount of time that goes into them makes them worth it. Not to mention that buying the fabric as an individual (not a huge corporation) is really expensive.

  3. Deb W
    October 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm (2 years ago)

    It does cost around $300 to have a hand pieced quilt machine quilted. But, I agree…otherwise it’s a big fat no. Have you tried Overstock.com for a similar quilt?

  4. Jessie Clemence
    October 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Nope! But I may have to. The dye job is way more purple than I had hoped, and a little blobby. But nothing I can’t live with for a few months!

  5. memyselfandkids.com
    October 13, 2015 at 10:45 am (2 years ago)

    Glad you enjoyed and got so much out of the conference.
    I can’t imagine what I can need less that to go see the new comforters. I’m glad you didn’t drag your husband there.

  6. tammy @ faithhopelovefood.com
    October 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm (2 years ago)

    It is a great conference. I loved it last year and met my writing partner. Hope to go back next year!

  7. Jessie Clemence
    October 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh, but there’s still the weekend, Larry. It’s early yet.