November 19, 2021 4 min read
As many of you might be aware, next Friday isn’t just any old Friday....
Oh no. Forget the relaxing, pre-weekend Fridays you’re used to, and prepare for carnage. Why? This year, 26 November is designated as Black Friday, a day when many retailers will mark down their prices and offer “deals” to ready-and-waiting shoppers. Having originated in America as a post-Thanksgiving pre-Christmas shopping day, the last few years have seen the tradition make its way across the pond. Not only that, but it seems to be expanding and has spawned an entire weekend’s worth, sometimes even several weeks’ worth, of discounts. Weeks of bargains, sounds great, right? Well, at Meander, we’re not so sure;
For starters, sales in general, not just the ones that take place on Black Friday, often encourage shoppers to buy things that they don’t actually need. Some would argue that discounting items helps shift stock that would otherwise be sent to landfills. However, if shoppers don’t actually need what they end up buying in sales, it may well end up in landfill in a couple of years’ time anyway, all the while having given the brand the impression that demand for that product is still there. As consumers, we need to vote with our wallets and show instead that we care more about the environment than a bargain. As a brand, we at Meander want to fully support that ideology.
Over-consumption is a serious issue which is having a dangerous knock-on effect on the environment, with humans devouring the planet’s resources 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate itself. This year, The Guardian reported that while the US population is 60% larger than it was in 1970, consumer spending is up by 400% (adjusted for inflation). This level of consumption might explain the shocking amount of waste we are producing, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The average item of clothing is worn only 7 times before being discarded and as a retailer, we feel that we have a responsibility to do what we can to avoid over-consumption.
2. Good Value Year Round
We believe in offering good value all year round. As a consumer, it is so frustrating to find that thing you want, but it's currently full price in one of the stores (you know them) that you know will be putting its entire collection at half price in a couple of months. We find it annoying to either have to wait for a sale or pay a premium to buy at a convenient time, and the last thing we want is to annoy our customers. Here at Meander, we prioritise sustainability over anything else, and so for us, our brand is about producing clothing that is made to last and that doesn’t harm the environment; it’s not about making a quick sale.
3. Much of it is Deceptive
A study by consumer group ‘Which’ found that nearly 9 in 10 products sold on Black Friday are available for the same price or cheaper earlier in the year. Many of the so-called discounts you see at big retailers have been recently marked up just prior to the discount or are older stock that would be discounted anyway. There are very few genuine bargains to be found among the thousands of offers, so know what you want and know its real value. That way you won’t get tricked into buying something you don't need.
4. We Can't Afford to
Another reason we’re choosing not to hold any sales this season is that we already pride ourselves in offering highly sustainable clothing that is at the most accessible price point possible. We love to source high quality, performance materials that are made ethically in European factories and that means our clothing costs what it does. We sell direct to customers because if we sold through wholesalers and department stores, we’d have to charge a much higher price than we want to and we believe that sustainable clothing needs to be affordable to consumers to make a difference. The markup on wholesale clothing can be between 4x and 7x, whereas ours is closer to 2x so we really can’t afford to offer 50% and 70% discounts. If we could then we’d be overcharging the rest of the year.
We also hope that as more brands opt out of Black Friday, other brands will be encouraged to follow suit, and that’s a movement that we do want to be a part of. In addition, we hope that as more brands say no to Black Friday, more people will realise it isn’t a sustainable practice, and will be prompted to reflect on the effects over consumption has on our environment.
If you are still feeling tempted by this year's Black Friday sales, ask yourself, do I really need it? Why not revisit your wardrobe, explore what you already own, and see if you can rekindle your love for any items, or repair or recycle them. If not, then try shopping second hand, which is a great way to find inexpensive pieces without contributing to the issue of over-production. But if there is something that truly is missing from your wardrobe that you want to last you a lifetime, then look to sustainable brands that produce well-made pieces, rather than fast fashion brands that prioritise quantity over quality.
What we are doing
Despite the fact that Black Friday isn’t our thing, we know that a lot of people will still be Christmas shopping next weekend. So, instead of marking down our products this weekend, we’ve decided to donate 10% of every sale over the weekend to organisations supporting the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest,a fantastic alliance working to protect and regenerate Scotland’s rainforest. If you’d like to learn more about the Alliance and Scotland’s rainforest, then head over to our recent blog post about them here.
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