This has been a big conversation within the ethical and small business communities this week. Black Friday is on the 23rd November and started in America. It tends to be dominated by the larger companies who can afford to offer huge savings and slash their prices. Black Friday has become more than just one day, with many offering a whole week of discounts, but there are many alternative campaigns!
You could boycott the whole event with Buy Nothing Day (BND). BND is encouraging people to buy nothing on the 23rd November and resist the urge to shop for 24 hours. It has a simple message, this black Friday DO NOTHING! Join the conversation on Twitter.
Sian Conway of Ethical Hour and an ethical marketing specialist has launched the #ShopEthicalInstead campaign. She has some great messages on alternative shopping ideas and has a really interesting blog post about black Friday you can read it here. Here is one statistic I would like to highlight from this blog:
‘Brits have wasted a staggering £3.9bn on Black Friday purchases they haven’t used or don’t even remember buying’
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis is asking people to not be drawn into making unplanned purchases. He has these money mantras before you buy anything, ask yourself:
'Do I need it, is it worth it, have I checked whether it's cheaper elsewhere?' If the answer to any of those is no, don't buy it. And even if it's yes, ensure you can afford it’
Given that many people use Black Friday to shop for some early Christmas Gifts I think the campaign from Martin Lewis regarding unnecessary presents is interesting. His video has had over 10million views and is very interesting to see the impact his message to change our consumption patterns has had. Martin Lewis has created the PRENUPP Campaign – the PRE Christmas No Unnecessary Presents Pact. He is encouraging people to change their approach to Christmas and reduce unnecessary present buying.
Another alternative is Indie Week from Just A Card with lots of ways for independent businesses, artists and makers to get involved and showcase their work and businesses whilst encouraging consumers to shop Indie. You can get involved on Instagram and Twitter.
I will be avoiding Black Friday with large businesses, but if it is a small businesses then I will support them. Can you buy your Christmas gifts from small local businesses? Coming up soon on is Small Business Saturday on 1st December. They will be helping to promote small business and have a location based search tool to find small businesses near you. If you look in the Loughborough area you will find The Crop Club.
The Crop Club is a social enterprise, meaning yes we have to make profits in order to survive like any other business but our profits are not for private benefit. We reinvest in the business and are focused on doing good, prioritising this over profit. Social impact at the forefront of our strategy, working to educate and inspire people to be more sustainable and experience the joy of growing food. There are campaigns to support more social enterprises and ensuring your money is helping do more good. Social Enterprise UK have the #BuySocial to give #PresentsWithPurpose campaign.
In previous years I have focused on shopping Local and buying from crafters using platforms such as Etsy. This year plan to try and buy from people I know, not necessarily directly but brands where I can see the people behind the brand. I am keen to support other social enterprises and businesses with an ethical structure. The Crop Club will be taking part in the Ethical Christmas Campaign run by Ethical Hour. It aims to try and encourage others to think about where they spend their money this Christmas and you can already get involved with the #ShopEthicalInstead hashtag. We will be sponsoring a special Christmas Gift Ethical Hour on Twitter, it’s on Monday 10th December, 8pm-9pm so put the date in your diary and get involved.