Oh, Black Friday - the hype, the hassle, the crowds, the sales...but what does it all really mean?
Growing up in the US, I certainly experienced my share of Black Fridays and I've got some mixed emotions about it and how "that day" affects how we do business today through Neitra. For many years my Great Aunt and Uncle would drive about 9 hours to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family. I remember all of us working for hours and hours preparing for a meal that seemed to be consumed in no time. Then, after all the clean up was done, it was time to get ready to "do battle" tomorrow at the shops. Malls would open early, the parking was crazy, line-ups went around the building. Once you finally got inside - the crowds, the lines, trying things on, putting them back and then the waiting in yet another line to pay for what we'd hunted and gathered. Whew, I was always glad when the day was done!
Don't get me wrong, I was happy to be with my family and I appreciate now how privileged we were to afford the things we had and the access we had to them. And I appreciate the other benefits too - in many ways it was a good thing. My Aunt would come to visit, we got quality time together, we'd give thanks and celebrate the tradition of that holiday AND she got most of her shopping done for the next holiday on the calendar. The gifts would be wrapped and under the tree all without shipping too! I also appreciate the fact that yes, they surely saved some money that day - I've got three sisters, so every little bit helps right?
But Piper & I have been talking about Black Friday a lot lately as we see the hype building around us all and have received questions from our customers too. It's made us challenge what we think about it and I have to say my perspective has changed as I've gotten older. Like everyone else, I still appreciate a good deal but I certainly look at Black Friday differently now as an adult and as a small business owner.
Of course, we've all seen the television footage of people being pushed, elbowed, even knocked down and trampled over for these Black Friday Sales. We know that the bombardment of the Black Friday hype creates this "frenzy" but in reality it's a marketing ploy to induce spending through the "psychological effect of scarcity". Black Friday can hijack our sense of reality and distort our perception of "value".
I realized that's what I dislike like most about Black Friday - the fact that it messes with your mind to make you feel like you "need" something. The contrived "pressure" that is put on us all making you believe this deal is SO fantastic I really need to get these ten towels or "Buy One Get One" bath slippers or that CRAZY LOW price for seven spatulas (or whatever it is) because I'd be crazy not to - even if I don't actually really "NEED" it.
Consider the compounded effect that pressure has on people overspending during this time of year. What exactly are we spending our money on? Products mass produced and made overseas, for a mere fraction of the cost for which they're being sold. It's no wonder the big box stores can afford to take 60 - 70% off - and still make money! And finally, the stress that all the Black Friday hype has on our emotions and mental states during the holiday season. The worst part being how that "temporary insanity" induces the largest holiday hangover when the bill arrives in January and you say "Wow, we really overdid it this year". In the end, was it all really "worth" it? The question we keep coming back to is what's the "value" most important to you - how do you define it?
Earlier this week on our Facebook Page we shared a lovely blog by one of our favourite local Vancouver businesses, GoGo Bags. It described some of the history behind Black Friday and also gave some different perspectives about responsibility regarding shopping and spending during this time of year. One thing that resonated deeply with us was the idea of shopping local, buying Canadian Made and actually getting out into our neighbourhoods and supporting local business. Purchasing things that have a different, deeper kind of "value"; not just getting things because "it was such a great deal". Shopping local also adds and keeps so much more energy in our local economies and benefits real people not just some corporation's bottom line. Shopping local supports small business owners and retailers, hand-makers, local artists and best of all, you bring smiles not only to the faces of those that receive the gifts, but also those that made the gifts smile and are rewarded. (We bet, like us, they probably do a happy dance too!)
We LOVE a good deal just like anyone, and we especially love giving back to those who give our work such incredible support. One of our greatest joys comes from the real connections we get to make with YOU - our Neitra Tribe! What we create through Neitra is a dream come true for both Piper & myself. The pictures you post, the letters and emails and all the beautiful messages we get throughout the year put so many smiles on our faces and encourage us to keep going and making Neitra stronger. Thank you ALL for reflecting so much Neitra Love back to us!
So, how does this end? While we certainly don't want to promote the "Black Friday Frenzy" we do want to show you how much we value and appreciate YOU! There's a tradition being celebrated in so many homes of our customers today, and we also want to show our Thanks! Our favourite way to do that is by giving you some of your favourite Neitra Love at a special price. We know that by choosing Neitra, you're choosing to give time to yourself, you're Spreading the Neitra Love and you're making choices that respect your health and well being and also value our planet too!
Starting Nov. 27th, we're having our Annual Winter Sale. It's a celebration of one of our most Sacred Seasons. We value nature's invitation to turn inward, be quiet and reconnect with yourself; a time to celebrate our own sacredness. Winter is the time to plough under the fields that were once full of harvest and sow new seeds. It's a time to slow down and refocus; let new ideas start forming, germinating and preparing for the new blooms of Spring. A time to be still and fully appreciate all that we have, all that we dream of and all we are able to share. And finally, it's another chance to be present; to witness, honour and celebrate the quiet beauty all around and within us.
Maybe this year you'll Spread the Neitra Love to with someone you love. Perhaps you'll use this opportunity to share Neitra with someone new; a co-worker, your babysitter, a friend at the gym, a teacher - maybe a lovely person in your neighbourhood you value and want to appreciate at this time of year. We certainly hope you'll get a little something for yourself - after all, Self Care is Sacred.
Whether or not you choose to use this "great deal" we want you to know how much we appreciate your business this year. We're excited to see Neitra continue to grow because of the ways YOU keep Spreading that Neitra Love. We're already sowing seeds for even more new growth in 2019 as well!
As we move into what is usually one of the most hectic times of the year, we hope you all create time for yourselves and your own Self Care. We value you and Neitra was created to help you take care of YOU on each and every level. Think "beauty" is only skin deep? We think you've only scratched the surface.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do for us, because we truly couldn't do any of this without YOU!
With ALL Our Neitra Love,
Jingo & Piper xo
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