There is so much being said about Black Friday at the moment that I thought I'd contribute! It's a crazy time of year with consumerism going through the roof, and whether you agree or not, if you want to grab a bargain, tomorrow is the day to do it.
As you may be aware, the term 'Black Friday' originated in the US in 1952 as an informal name for the day after Thanksgiving Day, in which Christmas Shopping Season started. It has since become much bigger than that, and in the UK we have adopted Black Friday to fall on the last Friday in November where retailers slash their prices hoping for more customers. It also is rarely a one day event as stores have started promoting their sales days, if not weeks, ago and will last through until next week.
For independent sellers though, it get's a bit trickier. There is a lot being written & shared throughout social media at the moment promoting other alternatives to Black Friday, and to bring awareness of the little guys when it comes to doing your Christmas shopping.
Just a Card are promoting 'Indie Friday' and encouraging people to be using the hashtag #JACIndieFriday to share their independent, handmade products and so many artists and makers are joining in on this campaign to really hit home how important it is to support the small shops and buy from individuals.
Joanne Hawker has written a blog about supporting indie businesses too and has created a great Pinterest board giving superb suggestions for unique gifts this Christmas.
Holly Tucker has launched #campaignshopsmall - another campaign to shout about the small businesses that we need to be supporting.
There are loads of small businesses getting involved with these campaigns, designing their own imagery, sharing posts online, writing blogs and spreading the word of the importance of handmade. There are some amazing voices getting involved and it is so reassuring to see that there is a revolution happening.
Patricia van den Akker of the Design Trust has written an impassioned post on Facebook (although she did refer to it as a rant!) about the continued importance of buying handmade. And I have to agree.
Buying handmade at Christmas is really, really important - the act of buying from a small business is enormous in value, in so many different ways, but it needs to continue all year round - not just during the festive season. It is vital that we support the small business owners, not just by buying their products but also telling everyone we know about them. Now, I'm a real advocate in buying handmade - my house is a real testament to that. Ceramics, homewares, ornaments, jewellery, knitwear, so much I own is handmade and proudly so. I'm there, alongside all of you, supporting you and sharing what you do with friends and family who don't already know.
But I do just want to say that there are small independent businesses who are able to share promotions during Black Friday and the overall festive season. And this is okay too. More than okay, and also should be applauded.
As much as I love buying handmade, and don't advocate slashing prices just to try and compete with the big guys, I appreciate it when some businesses do promote offers, because it still allows me to buy handmade but at a price I can afford.
My lovely friend Lauren Aston is having a Black Friday sale and has written about why here. Amy of Chambers & Beau is open to having a Black Friday offer on because she wants to give back to those customers who have supported her. Poppy Treffry put out a Black Friday email today with her offers. Others are offering free delivery or limited edition items to try and lure you in to buying from them.
These are small, independent, handmade businesses that are getting involved in Black Friday. They aren't slashing prices because they can afford to, or because the rest of the year they are making a huge profit; these businesses, and a few others I've seen, are offering a discount because they want to give something back. And I'm grateful - I personally appreciate offers like this because at other times I wouldn't normally be able to afford those products, so I guess it helps them widen their customer base.
It's hard as a maker to figure out which camp to put yourself in - and either one shouldn't receive judgement from the other. Like all small businesses, it's about community and not competition. We're all in this together and should be there for each other.
I'm so proud to be a part of this small business community, and I am reassured at the resurgence of buying handmade - but I guess I just wanted to say that whether you take part in Black Friday, or choose not to, that's completely okay.
The important thing is that people are buying handmade, so let's encourage that.
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