Business

Black Friday fix: Inside the ‘thought shopping’ effort amid holiday deals – National


Independent retailers in Canada are looking to fix what they say is broken Black Friday system by promoting sustainability instead of consumerism as what has become the busiest shopping day of the year.

Métis fashion boutique Anne Mulaire in Winnipeg, Man., is resisting the urge to slash its prices this Black Friday and is instead looking to lure customers in with an offering of lasting value. .

When a customer buys an item from Anne Mulaire on Black Friday through November, they get unlimited lifetime repairs on the item.

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

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“We hope it creates a movement that our customers will realize, maybe it’s not about buying new things but keeping your clothes in the loop,” she said. .

“This is what we believe in. We are all aiming for circularity.”

Anne Mulaire is a “slow fashion” brand that differentiates itself from the mainstream fast fashion movement by getting orders made in-house within days of placing an order, rather than having it manufactured. Bulk of the same item at a discounted price and see the rest will be sold in one store. Landfills.


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Stores often tailor items to customers’ exact body shapes, which Dandeneau says helps them get clothes that fit better and wear them longer.

Shannon Dixon, owner of Vancouver’s Simply Merino Clothing Co., which is also a slow-fashion brand, says more consumers should think about their entire purchase lifecycle.

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When it comes to materials like Merino wool, clothing should be seen as an investment you’re willing to put in the effort to buy after checkout, she says.

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

Simply Merino owner Shannon Dixon.

Provided

There are signs that a sustainable approach to Black Friday may be evolving with consumers.

A survey by Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify ahead of this year’s Black Friday-Cyber ​​Monday weekend found that more than half (53%) of Canadian consumers said they were willing to make a purchase. from a brand they consider “sustainable”, with about 36% adding that they would pay more for a sustainable product.

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

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Big brands are also paying attention to promoting sustainability. Swedish furniture giant Ikea, for example, is incentivizing shoppers with used product purchases through its Green Friday initiative.

Support for those in need

Others are hoping to use Black Friday to shift the conversation from consumerism to charity and support for those in need.

Kendall Barber is the co-founder and co-CEO of Poppy Barley, a sustainable footwear and handbag store in Edmonton, Alta.

Barber said Poppy Barley was also designated a B Corp. Certified, which means it meets a series of criteria that balance profit with people and purpose.

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This will mark the fifth year in a row Poppy Barley forgoes massive in-store sales in favor of a “Black Friday fund,” with proceeds from any sales up to $20,000. will be transferred to a non-profit organization. This year’s campaign raises money for Children’s Sports, with the aim of funding a subscription fee to keep 100 girls involved in sports as they grow up.

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“The idea of ​​promoting products, selling, and giving people discounts is not something that resonates with us as a brand,” Barber said, adding that she hopes the fund will help inspire customers to “shop with a mind” this year.

According to retailers who spoke to Global News, this holiday season is an especially important one for small businesses.


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According to the organization, about 58% of members of the Federation of Canadian Independent Business (CFIB) have not seen their sales recover back to pre-pandemic levels, and they are now facing daily pressure. increased from higher interest rates on their debt and fears of a financial crisis. recession on the horizon.

Dixon said Black Friday was the “biggest sale day” of the year at Simply Merino, but she added that it was a “tough day” for them.

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

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

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Instead of getting caught up in the race for deals on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, Dixon encourages consumers to consider how they use the scarce dollar as households struggle with their budgets. themselves in the context of inflation.

“I want people to just take a moment and think about what you’re buying, who you’re buying from. Where will that money go? Who owns the business? There’s a lot of detail when it comes to consumerism,” she said.

How to shop sustainably on Black Friday

Dandeneau agrees with Dixon and says there are a number of mental tests that shoppers can use to retrain their brains amid a sales boom.

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In addition to considering whether you would repair an item if it broke, think about whether you would buy the item if it wasn’t on sale, she says.

If so, then a deal is a “reward”. Otherwise, it could fall into the “want” rather than the “need” category, Dandeneau adds.

“It is just to change the mindset of consumerism. And we have to retrain ourselves to not ‘Buy! Buying!’ but just to think about every purchase.”

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Dixon says leveraging your social circle can have a big impact on small businesses. Asking your friends where they’re shopping on Instagram, or sharing a post from your favorite store — even if you don’t have the money or reason to shop there right now — can generate great impact in promoting business for local owners.

If Canadians want to see their favorite stores last through the stormy months that economists forecast, it’s another tactful to buy gift certificates now and cash them later. Dandeneau recommends.

“It’s kind of a throwback to the COVID era, where small companies were there for the community,” she said.

“And it’s a way of reminding the community that we’re still here and we want your support.”

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