An open letter to our community on Black Friday:
Part of being in a purpose-driven business is looking beyond profit and product. Alongside conversations around revenue, customer metrics, growth percentages and the like, there is also a parallel continual conversation around why we exist in the first place, what impact we want to achieve, and the quantitative metrics that govern that. Having those two conversations coexist is a dialogue that speaks to the core of our mission.
It’s no secret that the textile industry is amongst the highest polluting industry in the world. People spend an average of $1,700 annually on clothing; in the 1930s people would buy 9 outfits a year, and now it has gone up to 30. With the practice of sales, we’ve come to realize that it prompts more impulsive purchases.
Having a Black Friday sale, a time where sales and discounts are the norm almost worldwide, would mean a greater volume of that intention. Customers are pushed to buy products they don’t necessarily need, and may not even wear, simply because the spirit of the day calls for it. And while we would love for our customers to buy our pieces, we would love it more if they bought it, not just because it was on sale, but because they would love and wear it for the years to come.
Keira Mason wearing the Matching Sets + Indus Arrow Noir
Of all product categories, US customers shared that they would make 34% of their impulsive purchases on apparel and footwear, and out of everything bought during Black Friday it is clothing that people regret buying the most. Sales often comes hand in hand with buyer’s remorse at its peak. With heightened promotions at deeply discounted prices, Black Friday also comes hand in hand with an onslaught of profit for business owners. Though brands might lose money by putting items on sale, they’ll gain it back because of the increased probability that customers will buy other things from them in that same day. A win for you, and a win for them.
Days like Small Business Saturday and Shop For Good Sunday have been created as alternatives to remedy the salvo of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These efforts matter because they support efforts that might otherwise go unnoticed, and put brands that are local and sustainable on a higher stand to balance the scales – yet it also isn’t fully enough.
But we shouldn’t talk about the flaws of Black Friday without taking a step back to understand the context of its necessity for some. It’s important to note that people of lower-income, minorities, and mothers are more likely to shop during Black Friday. Women of low-income are caught in a loop; buying cheap clothes from fast fashion brands because they aren’t paid enough to afford an alternative. Yes, Black Friday is essentially capitalism at its finest, but for many it is also a time for them to shop at a price they can actually afford.
Knowing this, we understand that sales give customers access to brands they otherwise couldn’t buy from before because of their budget. Which is why we have two sales yearly – at the start of the year, and during summer. We’ve always been transparent about their annual advent, and they always last for 4 weeks, and never extend it with further discounts. The intention behind this is to encourage our community to take the time to think through their purchase, and see if they really need this item or if they’re buying it simply because the price is reduced.
A sentiment that we’ll share forward in anticipation of this Black Friday: before you make your purchase – ask yourself why you’re buying it, if you really need it, and if you wanted it before you saw it on sale.
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