Fixing Black Friday: Inside the push to ‘shop wisely’ amid holiday deals – National


Independent retailers in Canada are seeking to fix what they say is a broken Black Friday system by promoting sustainability rather than consumerism amid what has become the busiest shopping day of the year .

Métis fashion boutique Anne Mulaire in Winnipeg, Man., is resisting the urge to drop prices to the floor this Black Friday and instead seeks to lure customers with a case for long-term value.

When a customer purchases a piece from Anne Mulaire during Black Friday until the end of November, they receive unlimited repairs on the item for life.

CEO Andreanne Dandeneau told Global News that the Black Friday alternative helps the store stick to its “core values” of “buy better, buy less.”

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“We hope this creates a movement where our customers realize that maybe it’s not about buying new things but just keeping your clothes up to date,” she says.

“That’s what we believe in. We’re all about circularity.”

Anne Mulaire is a “slow fashion” brand, which differentiates itself from the traditional fast fashion movement by having orders placed in-house within days of a customer’s order, rather than mass producing the same item at a reduced price. and see the remains end up in a landfill.


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The hidden costs of “fast fashion”


The boutique often tailors pieces more closely to a customer’s exact body shape, which Dandeneau says allows them to have better-fitting clothes and wear them longer.

More consumers should be thinking about the whole lifecycle of their purchases, says Shannon Dixon, owner of Vancouver-based Simply Merino Clothing Co., also a slow fashion brand.

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When it comes to materials like merino wool, clothing should be viewed as an investment you’re willing to put some effort into after checking out, she says.

“If you’re not ready to fix it, don’t buy it,” says Dixon.

Simply Merino owner Shannon Dixon.

Provided

There are signs that Black Friday’s sustainable approach could take off with consumers.

Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify’s survey ahead of this year’s Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday weekend showed that more than half (53%) of Canadian consumers have said they were more willing to buy from a brand they consider ‘sustainable’, with some 36% adding that they would pay more for a sustainable product.

Some 74% of respondents said they are looking to buy quality products that will last longer, according to Shopify.

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Big brands are also taking note of the push for sustainability. Swedish furniture giant Ikea, for example, is encouraging shoppers with deals on used goods through its Green Friday initiative.

Support for those in need

Others hope to use Black Friday to shift the conversation from consumerism to charity and support for those on the brink.

Kendall Barber is co-founder and co-CEO of Poppy Barley, a sustainable shoe and bag store in Edmonton, Alberta.

Poppy Barley also holds the B Corp designation. certified, meaning it meets a series of criteria that balance benefits with people and purpose, Barber says.

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This will mark the fifth year in a row that Poppy Barley has forgone deep in-store discounts in favor of a “Black Friday fund”, with proceeds from any sales up to $20,000 being donated to a nonprofit. This year’s campaign is raising money for Kids Sport, with the aim of funding the registration fees to keep 100 girls in the sport as they get older.

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“The idea of ​​pushing products and sales and discounts on people is not something that resonates with us as a brand,” Barber said, adding that she hopes the fund will inspire customers to ” shopping wisely” this year.

This holiday season is especially critical for small businesses, according to retailers who spoke to Global News.


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According to the organization, some 58% of members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) have not seen their sales return to pre-pandemic levels, and they are now facing mounting pressure due to rising interest rates on their debt and fears of a looming recession.

Black Friday is the “biggest day for sales” of the whole year at Simply Merino, says Dixon, but she adds that it’s a “difficult day” for them.

“There is so much pressure on us to lower prices and compete with big box stores. We just can’t do that,” she said.

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Simon Gaudreault, chief economist at CFIB, recently told Global News that small businesses are being constrained in their pricing decisions by big retailers like Walmart or Amazon, many of which started sales earlier this year.

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Rather than get caught up in the rush for Black Friday and holiday deals, Dixon encourages consumers to think about how they use their scarce dollars as households struggle with their own budgets amid the inflation.

“I would like everyone to take a moment and think about what you buy, who you buy from. Where does that money go? Who owns the business? There are so many details when it comes to consumption “, she says.

How to shop sustainably on Black Friday

Dandeneau agrees with Dixon and says there are a few mental checks buyers can use to retrain their brains in the midst of a sales onslaught.

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Along with asking yourself if you’d fix an item if it were broken, ask yourself if you’d buy it if it wasn’t on sale, she says.

If so, then a deal is a “bonus”. Otherwise, it might fall into the “want” but not “need” category, adds Dandeneau.

“It’s just to change the mindset of consumerism. And we have to retrain ourselves not to “buy!” To buy!’ but just to think about every purchase.

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Dixon says leveraging your social circles can have a big impact on small businesses. Asking where your friends shop on Instagram or sharing posts from your favorite store — even if you don’t have the money or don’t plan to shop there right now — can have an impact important on conducting business to local landlords.

If Canadians want to see their favorite stores stick around through the stormy months economists are predicting, buying gift certificates now and cashing them in later is another tact, recommends Dandeneau.

“It’s sort of a throwback to the days of COVID where small businesses were there for the community,” she says.

“And it kind of reminds the community that we’re still here and would like your support.”

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