Why we are having an Online Event on Black Friday and every new, sustainable and small business should do the same !
“Take a seat at the table!”
“You can’t win if you are not in the game!”
“Don’t penalise the consumer, give them alternatives!”
There is a lot of focus on how different a new sustainable business should be compared with the established, fast fashion giants, and sometimes it seems that the starting point is: everything they do is wrong, and a new business should follow none of their practices. And Black Friday is the essence of what is wrong with fast fashion.
I will not disagree with this, and I can write volumes of what is wrong with the fast fashion phenomenon.
But these are my thought why as a business owner and employer, on one hand, and as someone passionate about the customer experience we offer, on the other hand, will not be absent online from the Black Friday calendar.
1. Every new, small business with limited seed investment has struggles, and if you add ‘sustainable’ in the mix, few will survive.
The reality is that the number of people who will rather buy from a sustainable, new business and say no to fast fashion low prices or to the gratification of paying lots of money for a luxury logo – well, the number of these special people is very, very small. Even relatives and old time friends will find reasons for not buying something from you or not having time to support your online efforts. This is reality. Starting a new, sustainable business is a brave endeavour that needs all the support and sales it can get.
You don’t have the same cards as the fast fashion endeavour – your materials cost more, you pay your supply chain ethically more, you employ legally and at fair salaries, you work hard to find a sale channel, marketing from zero, deal with greenwashing campaign of the big retailers who make their products sound just like yours, just so much cheaper, etc.
Refraining from putting forward offers during the most profitable time of the year just to prove a point to those profiting from it will not bring your employees or suppliers a relaxed end of the year and optimistic look on the new year, nor improve your accounting data that you are required to present every time you will want to apply for funding or investment projects.
Black Friday is, traditionally, the day when the retailers are trying to bring their accounting books from red (loses) into black, with an injection of revenues. Should you just watch and offer nothing to the market, in the hope that customers have a budget for “sustainable purchases” that will remain intact after most retailers will bombard them with low deals for a week or so ?
Take a seat at the table, put together reasonable offers and present them to the public. Be a sustainable alternative. Make your narrative visible, present.
(For the record, we have been profitable as a business from our first balance sheet, but that is due to a lot of factors, and does not come as a guarantee or reward for embracing the values of a truly sustainable business. It takes a lot of hard work, a great team and a supportive community)
2. Thinking about our customers, our supporters – I would like to offer them a fun event, sustainable alternatives to what is offered in other shops, create value for them.
Our discounts or offers do not mean our employees get lower salaries, or that someone else down the supply chain is shortchanged. We have no intermediaries, agencies, hidden supply chain involved, famous influencers or models paid, we take our own pictures, we have simplified the model as much possible. It’s our yarn suppliers, and our employees as the two main components of our activity. It doesn’t mean our prices during the rest of the year are too high either, but that for this event we reduce profits, marketing and development budgets, etc. Pure direct-to-consumer-event pricing.
We complain customers buy too much polyester ? Then let’s have premium merino, baby camel, yak, vicuna, cashmere, silk items available.
We complain customers buy cheap items to wear only once ? Offer them an honest deal on clothes to last a life time.
With the Holiday Season around the corner we want to make it easier for our customers to get a sustainable start with their shopping list.
And yes, we do think that an Ami Amalia wardrobe jewel is not a thing, but an experience in itself and a statement about sustainable values and a healthy way of living.
And we think that because we are blessed with customers writing to us everyday about what our clothes and being one of our customers means to them.