A note on Black Friday from Hello's co-founder and Cheerleading Captain, Robyn McLean.
The event that is ‘Black Friday’ is my least fav day of the year. It makes my skin crawl the way sales drive people to go nuts and buy things they don’t need or even necessarily want. It’s a pressure cooker environment when so many are almost hypnotised into thinking they need to follow the sheep at the front and nab that ‘bargain’. The piles of waste this crazy day of mass consumerism creates - not just from people buying crap they don’t need, but also the insane amount of packaging the crap comes in, makes me shudder. It’s all so unnecessary.
However, that said, there’s no denying that getting a deal on something you genuinely need or have wanted for a long time is exciting which is why I’m a fan of the concept of ‘Slowvember’. At the start of November - before you get hit with the barrage of Black Friday sale advertising - think about what you want. Make a list and stick to it. If something that is on your list comes up at a reduced price then it’s probably a good time to get that coveted item.
As a business owner I naturally want people to buy our products - but I firmly believe our products offer a better and more sustainable option than mainstream single use period products which is why our business was started in the first place.. A menstrual cup, menstrual disc or period underwear might be more of an initial outlay but they will last for a long time and are more comfortable and hold more than tampons or pads.
Every year the marketing people we work with ask if we are doing a Black Friday sale and every year I say ‘I HATE IT’. It doesn’t make life easy for my awesome marketing team. Their job is to make sure we are out there in the mix with everyone else - but Hello Period was started because we are about doing things differently. Yes, profit is important too - but not at the cost of the first ‘p’s - people and the planet.
I’m not saying sales are the root of all evil. In fact, for many of us, sales provide an opportunity to be able to afford something we need that we otherwise couldn’t afford. But how should business owners deal with Black Friday in a way that doesn’t contribute to the waste issue that already comes from people buying things they don’t really want or need?
I encourage anyone with a business to challenge the concept of Black Friday. If you are going to have a sale - that’s great for your customer - but don’t force them into a panic buying situation. We’ve all seen crazy scenes of people literally trampling over their fellow humans to be the first to secure a bargain in a Black Friday sale. It brings out the worst in us.
Extend your sale over at least a couple of days. Allow customers time to think and weigh up whether it’s a product they need in their lives. It also gives them more time to do their research.
If you’re a retailer who offers big ticket appliances such as washing machines and dryers - educate your customers more about how they can extend the life of their appliances - even offer a service that makes fixing any potential issues that arise easier and cheaper than buying a new one. Anyone who has even owned a printer will know that it’s cheaper to buy a new printer than to replace the ink and I’ve heard of people who do just that every time their ink runs out. It’s insane. Manufacturers and retailers have a part to play in helping customers make better choices for the planet - we’re all in this together and we’re all answerable to the next generation. Let’s lighten the load for them by buying and selling mindfully.