Being in the ethical and socially responsible consumer business during this time of year is really interesting….especially now that I’m also running Give a Damn Goods. You have conscious brands & consumers that boycott the Black Friday, Cyber Monday stuff all together and you have conscious brands & consumers that are excited about the sales and participate. No matter which side you’re on I respect and see both points of view. However, I thought I’d share my own.
It’s no secret that mass consumerism around the holidays is completely out of hand and that Black Friday/Cyber Monday go over board. However, we can’t deny that these days of sales are ingrained into our society and the time to start holiday shopping. I’m not saying that I 100% support the concept or impulse buying, but I do love a good sale and think these sales can present opportunities for other people & small businesses.
1) The opportunity to attract new consumers.
Ethical fashion and socially responsible products tend to have a stereotype of being more expensive. While it does depend on where you’re shopping (just like any brand) I think these sales are a great opportunity for consumers who aren’t 100% sold on the responsible shopping train to try out socially responsible brands. With lower prices consumers are more likely to take risks on new brands and I think through this experience they will fall in love with the stories behind the products, the high quality of socially responsible goods, and be more likely to purchase from responsible brands going forward.
2) Purchasing holiday gifts helps spread the word.
These sale days are known as the start of holiday shopping. A lot purchase their Christmas gifts for friends and family on Black Friday & Cyber Monday. And honestly the more socially responsible products that are purchased as Christmas gifts, the better! Why? This helps spread the word. There are SO many people who don’t know about conscious consumerism and ethical fashion. Receiving a gift could be the gateway to a consumer learning about social responsibility and kick start their conscious consumer journey.
3) Opportunities for Small Businesses to Grow…it’s about WHO & WHERE you’re purchasing from.
These sales can create opportunities for small & local business owners to generate good amounts of revenue which can do positive things for their business and can further their overall impact in the socially responsible movement. But in order for that to happen we have to know WHERE our money is going and WHO we’re purchasing from. We’ve all seen the videos of customers running into stores trampling each other on Black Friday…(I could write an entire separate rant about that) But it’s about WHERE you’re purchasing from. The stores we see that happening at are typically chain stores that are all about profit over people. If you’re supporting good causes and small businesses with your purchases this weekend, that’s fabulous! That’s one of the key aspects of the conscious consumer movement. So when you’re purchasing on Black Friday or Cyber Monday just be conscious of where your money is going. What are the brands values? What do they stand for? If you’re purchasing from a small business, your large purchase can help them stay afloat, support their family, grow, or further their social impact.
4) What are you buying?
Like I said, I’m not supporting the crazy mass consumption, but I do support supporting small, impactful businesses. So I encourage you to reflect on what you’re buying. Are you buying a fast fashion garment that will fall apart in a few months? Instead take advantage of the sales and try investing in high quality garment that will last. Products that last are a key aspect to conscious consumerism!
Whether you choose to purchase this Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or not, please be sure to purchase responsibly this holiday season. If you need any guidance on this check out my list of 10 Ethical Boutiques as a starting place.