The first day of the Christmas shopping season is almost upon us!
It’s official, Christmas is nearly here and the busiest shopping day of the year is fast approaching. On Black Friday, companies worldwide offer highly-promoted, highly-tempting sales whilst eager shoppers compete for the best deals. At Forage, we don't offer any deals on Black Friday. Instead, we donate to the charity War on Want, but why?
As an independent business, it’s important to keep an eye on major shopping events. Valentines day, Halloween, Christmas, and of course Black Friday all offer the opportunity to connect your brand with a new customer-base.
I follow many brands of similar scale and size on social media platforms. Many of my closest friends, whom I have met over the years in India and at festivals run small brands like mine. Each year I see them offering generous Black Friday discounts. 20% off, 30% off... 50% off!
Can these independent businesses really afford to be slashing their prices by those margins? Usually, the answer is no.
These products have taken time and love to produce. They have been made on a small scale, and ethically. Each product sold goes towards putting food on their tables and growing their little businesses. I believe that these independants risk sacrificing 100% of their profits for a whole day in order to attract new customers and keep up with the major retailers on Black Friday. Would any of those large-scale retailers do the same? Again, the answer is no.
Savvy shopping means waiting for flash sales or researching discount codes to get the most bang for your buck. We are all motivated by price. However, we also cannot ignore that “free” never really means free. When the cost of something is so cheap that it seems too good to be true, the price is paid somewhere down the line. If it's not paid by the brand losing profit, then it may be through cutting corners socially, environmentally, or on quality.
The overproduction of low cost goods has a high impact worldwide. The vast amounts of clothing, electronic items and plastic products that we consume contributes to throwaway culture, supports the use of sweatshops, and increases carbon emissions.
Now, I have a friend who manages a major high-end retail store here in the UK, and we were discussing Black Friday. In their store, they have special products they bring in only for their Black Friday sales. The prices are lower, and the quality noticeably so.
When you look at Black Friday stock, you’ll often find that the finishings are not up to par with the normal quality of the stores products. Different zips, cheap stitching, inferior lining.
My friend said their store would never dream of offering a blanket 20% discount on everything! The reality is that no big retailer would. So this makes me wonder… why should we?
Over the years, as our business has grown, so have their businesses. It’s a beautiful journey which we love being a part of! With a business model like this, there is not a particularly high profit margin and we work hard to make it work.
We love our customers and without them, we couldn’t run our business. It’s important to connect with new customers and to reward loyal customers by sharing freebies and discounts with our mailing list subscribers and social media followers from time to time.
However, we are not in the business of compromising on our quality, or on our ethics. While we offer discounts on certain occasions, you won’t find our products in the sea of BFCM deals.
Instead, on Black Friday we will be making a donation to the charity War on Want, a tradition we started in 2016.
War on Want is an amazing organisation that campaigns against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice around the world.
Lobbying for the rights of sweatshop workers, putting pressure on governments and raising awareness about issues surrounding global poverty and inequality, War on Want is a deserving recipient on Black Friday.