Debby Brown's Hocus Focus
Hi there!

I grew up in a suburban household where things like milk, eggs, flour and sugar were considered the "staples" of everyday life. I guess my mother wanted to be sure she could feed us pancakes for dinner in a pinch.

Now that I live in an urban environment, my idea of "staples" is completely different from my mother's (see below for my current list of "staples"). I'm not sure if it's because of where I live or because of the time I live in, but it's clear that almost anything can be a "staple" to somebody these days.


Founder and Chief
Deborah Brown & Associates
Think about That Word "Staples" for a Minute   
Isn't Almost Any Product a "Staple" for Someone Out There?

For the past few months, I've been presenting words which my photographers have interpreted visually. Those words have come from the list of segments of industry used by financial services companies. You may remember the words "consumer," "energy," "finance," etc. The next word from that list was "staples." I almost skipped it, because it seemed too obvious. 


But when I really started thinking about a visual interpretation of "staples," all kinds of things started coming up for me. 


Staples--those little metal things that hold papers together (the obvious)


Staples--the store (okay, another obvious, but stay with me here)


Staples--the canned goods my mother stored down in our basement when we were kids in case there was a nuclear war (no water, mind you; just canned beans and fruit cocktail and I think a few cans of Spam)


Staples--what I go out and buy every time there's a hurricane or blizzard in the forecast: usually batteries; jugs of water; Kind bars (I swear I could live on those things); Advil


Staples--what I always have around the apartment even without a hurricane: cat food--yes, I have a cat; funny, unused birthday cards; new pairs of panty hose; reams of copy paper which I happen to buy at Staples; wrapping paper to go with the birthday cards; batteries (even though I go out and buy more in the face of a blizzard),  etc., etc.  


And that's just me, living in NYC and obsessed with running out of something that  I absolutely may need at a time when it's too late to go out and get it. 


Think about what their lists of "staples" would look like to your teen-aged son, or a young woman in Uganda, or Tom Brady (he's probably got "a better lawyer" sitting at the top of his list now).


The point is, "staples" can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And the lists are so enormous and diverse, that some of my photographers were a bit overwhelmed and couldn't come up with just the right image. On the other hand, Bill Gallery gets the prize for the most images. And kudos to Jon Love and Neal Wilson for showing the producing side of "staples."


Have a look: 



© Bill Gallery (based in New England)

© Bill Gallery (based in New England)

  © Bill Gallery (based in New England)

© Bill Gallery (based in New England)

© Jon Love (based in Sydney, Australia) Banana seller in Uganda

© Jon Love (based in Sydney, Australia)

© Neal Wilson (based in the UK)

If you work for a company that sells anything that could be considered a "staple" (which, by the way, we have already decided is pretty much anything that people pay good money for), I think it would be a good ploy to market your product as one which should be in a household at all times. I mean, Energizer may say their batteries are like those bunnies that keep going, but, let's face it. If your smoke detector starts chirping at 2 AM, you're not getting back to sleep until you've replaced that bunny. Nice to have one on hand.

Be on the lookout for Sept.'s word: TECHNOLOGY.

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