The Black Friday Fix: Amidst the Urge to ‘Shop Mindfully’ Amid Holiday Deals


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dated: 2022-11-25 12:14:20 .

Independent retailers in Canada are trying to fix what they call a broken Black Friday system by pushing sustainability over consumption amid the busiest shopping day of the year.

Anne Mulaire’s Métis fashion boutique in Winnipeg, Man., is resisting the urge to rock bottom prices this Black Friday, instead trying to entice shoppers with a long-term value proposition.

If a customer purchases an Anne Mulaire piece on Black Friday through the end of November, they will receive lifetime repairs on the item.

CEO Andreane Dandeneau tells Global News that the Black Friday alternative helps the company stick to its “core values” of “buy better, buy less.”

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

“We believe in it. We are all about circularity.”

Anne Mulaire is a “slow fashion” brand that differs from the mainstream fast fashion movement by allowing in-house orders within days of the customer’s order, rather than mass-producing the same item at a discounted price. Manufacturing and see the remains in the landfill.

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The store often tailors pieces more precisely to the customer’s exact body shape, which Dandeneau says results in clothes that fit better and wear them longer.

More consumers should think about the entire life cycle of their purchases, says Shannon Dixon, owner of Vancouver’s Simply Merino Clothing Co., also a slow fashion brand.

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When it comes to materials like merino wool, clothes should be seen as an investment that you’re willing to put in the effort once you’ve checked them out, she says.

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

Owner of Simple Merino Shannon Dixon. Under condition

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

A survey by Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify ahead of this year’s Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday weekend found that more than half (53 per cent) of Canadian consumers said they were more willing to buy from a brand 36 per cent said they would paid more for a sustainable product.

According to Shopify, 74 percent of respondents said they want to buy quality products that last longer.

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Big brands are also noticing the trend towards sustainability. Swedish furniture giant Ikea, for example, offers shoppers incentives for used products with its Green Friday initiative.

Support for those who need it

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

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

Poppy Barley is also a certified B Corp. reported, which means it meets a set of criteria that balance profit with people and purpose, Barber says.

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This is the fifth year in a row that Poppy Barley has given up big in-store discounts in favor of a “Black Friday fund”, with proceeds from sales of up to $20,000 going to charity. This year’s campaign collects funds for Kids Sport with the aim of financing registration fees so that 100 girls remain at a sporting age.

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“The idea of ​​pushing products, sales and discounts on people doesn’t sit well with us as a brand,” says Barber, adding that he hopes the fund will help inspire customers to “shop smart” this year.

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

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About 58 percent of Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) members have not seen their sales recover to pre-pandemic levels, according to the organization, and now face increasing pressure on their debt due to higher interest rates and fears of exposure to a looming pandemic recession.

Black Friday is Simply Merino’s “biggest sales day” of the year, Dixon says, but adds that it’s a “tough day” for her.

“We are under so much pressure to lower prices and compete with big stores. We just can’t do that,” she says.

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

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Instead of getting caught up in the race for Black Friday and holiday deals, Dixon encourages consumers to think about how to spend their hard-earned dollars as households struggle with their own budgets amid inflation.

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

How to shop sustainably on Black Friday

Dandeneau agrees with Dixon, saying there are a few mental tests shoppers can use to retrain their brains in the midst of a sales frenzy.

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Think about not only whether you would repair the item if it was broken, but also whether you would buy the part if it wasn’t on sale, she says.

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

“It’s just about changing the way of thinking about consumption. And we have to retrain ourselves not to buy! Get!’ but just thinking about every purchase.”

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Dixon says that leveraging your social circles can have a big impact on small businesses. Asking where your friends are shopping on Instagram or sharing posts from your favorite store — even if you don’t have the money or reason to shop there right now — can have a big impact on business growth for local owners.

If Canadians want to keep their favorite stores close during the tumultuous months economists predict, Dandeneau recommends buying gift cards now and using them later.

“It kind of goes back to the days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when small businesses were there for the community,” she says.

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

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The Black Friday Fix: Amidst the Urge to ‘Shop Mindfully’ Amid Holiday Deals

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