Ahhh, Black Friday. Possibly bigger than Christmas?! We love a bargain, don’t we, us humans. It’s a fact. And that’s more than fine, when it’s done with a bit of thought behind it.
But I’ve felt for a long time that selling quality oak at brittle plastic prices isn’t sustainable either financially, environmentally, or indeed fair-trade-ally. (Yep. Now an actual word.) So, where does that put a small business, when competing with big companies (often owned by even bigger companies) who can afford to manufacture gazillions of identical product? I wonder this every year. It seems to me that there are two choices.
Drop my prices to follow public expectation, stay competitive and probably gain more sales. I'd then have to partake in all the seasonal / bi-seasonal / monthly sales that there now fashionably are, and would have to downgrade the quality of my stock in order to make any money. The products will subsequently last less long, and be a whole lot less pleasing (for me as well as you). So then, what happens? Would people return to buy my sub-priced, sub-quality products that will break or fray or tear once again? Probably not. I’d have to recruit a new batch of people to buy my flimsy merch. The astute amongst you have probably now guessed I'm not going for Option1...
If I don't partake, we'll lose out on sales. Last year, I did this and stood my ground, kept my prices, and added an extra donation to charity in instead (50p per product sold on Friday 27th Nov 2020). For us, Black Friday is Give Back Friday. I'm going to do the same this year. And here's why. By NOT dropping my prices:
- I can continue to offer you good quality, long-lasting products, which will ultimately be cheaper as you've only had to buy them once (rather than every time the brittle plastic alternative breaks).
- I can continue to take pride in my work and produce really keepable and beautiful things.
- I'll be able to pay myself and my team a small wage and keep my business going.
- Hopefully win some respect for my brand.
- And, most importantly, we won't be trashing the planet with our fast-consumer habits.
And, guess what? The good news is, I am far from alone! Every year the small business community seems to grow stronger and more united on this front. Campaigns like Just A Card have done wonders to amplify our little voices, and people seem to be more and more aware of the dark side of fast consumerism. Here are 3 reads on it: Here, Here & Here
With all of this in mind, I plan to use my small span of influence to benefit the environment. On Friday 27th Nov 2020, I will donate 50p per order to my chosen environmental charities, rather than cutting my prices. Who's with me?