This Friday, independent retailers across the country will shut down their websites, donate their profits to charity and plant trees as part of a new campaign against rabid consumerism being encouraged by big online sellers offering deals for the Black Friday.
About 85% of independent retailers will not be participating in Black Friday this year, the day sellers claim to be offering bargains and slashed prices in an attempt to strengthen the custom before Christmas.
The number of retailers boycotting the event is the highest number ever recorded by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) and part of a growing movement against huge online shopping websites such as Amazon, which has gained ground since the start of the pandemic.
“I donate 10% of Black Friday weekend sales to my local food bank,” said Zoe Roberts, founder of Out of the Box Gifts, an eco-friendly Cheshire-based gift box store. . “There’s more than one reason I don’t like Black Friday – the main one is that I think it encourages us to buy things we don’t need and therefore increases waste. “
She also wants to highlight how impossible it is for small businesses to compete with large retailers on this day. “Small businesses tend to keep their prices fair all year round, so they can’t afford big discounts right before the busiest time of the year. “
Other independent retailers, such as Surrey-based Shutter Jewelery and Cumbria’s second-hand children’s and maternity clothing retailer Build a Bundle, will plant trees on Friday as an antidote to waste created by consumerism. “I try to do whatever I can to reduce waste. I will be planting 100 trees to give back to the planet rather than contributing to overconsumption by tempting people to buy more than they want or need, ”said Sophie de Taranto, owner of Shutter Jewelery.
The founders of Pantee, a sustainable underwear brand, are considering shutting down their website. “The only people able to access our site will be those engaged members of our community who signed up to our mailing list and got a password … no selling, no impulse buying,” said co-founder Katie McCourt. “Our message this Black Friday is to stop and think before you buy. Is this something you like? Is it something you need?”
Birmingham-based jeweler and goldsmith Ruth Mary Chipperfield will post a video on Friday giving advice on how to repair jewelry on her website, ruthmary.com. “Regarding anti-Black Friday, I encourage people to look inside their jewelry box and instead of buying new ones, to have precious pieces repaired,” he said. she declared. “I say: look at the beautiful things that you already have. You don’t need to buy anything new. In fact, a really nice Christmas present for some people could be a ring they thought was broken, but which was taken out of their jewelry box by a loved one and given to them on Christmas Day, fully restored.
As the anti-Black Friday movement grows in popularity, many shoppers are not only looking to their main streets and local markets, but increasingly looking online for ways to shop locally. On Facebook, a group called Not on Amazon was launched last November and now has more than 157,000 members. Founded by Jamie Rackham, who runs a small furniture recycling business in the Forest of Dean, it’s a place where owners of independent creative and craft businesses can freely advertise the products they’ve made to other group members. .
“At this time last year we were going to have Christmas markets and they were all canceled,” Rackham said. “At the same time, I heard that Amazon was making a record amount of profit during the foreclosure. I thought: this is so wrong. They are making all this money and we are told that we cannot operate our businesses. I must try to do something about it.
He was so surprised by the success of his Facebook group that he launched a crowdfunding campaign for a gallery he created last week. He hopes to create a space where Not on Amazon members can display their work for sale and come and share information and ideas with each other.
Last week also saw the launch of another website designed to showcase and generate sales for independent stores across the country. “It’s a bit disgusting, what happened to our local shopping streets during the pandemic,” said Dr Jackie Mulligan, founder of Shoplocalonline.org. “Small businesses weren’t allowed to trade, they were seen as non-essential in many categories. And then we saw a billionaire [Amazon founder Jeff Bezos] propel itself into space. It just doesn’t make sense.
She created the website in part in response to Black Friday. “Black Friday is decimating Main Street – it’s the Grinch who stole Christmas from small retailers. Small retailers don’t want to pay 30% commission to an online giant, they don’t want their business to come out of a distribution warehouse. They just want to be able to serve their customers.
Any independent retailer can join the website for free until the end of January, and she promises that no commission will ever be taken on their sales. Over 4,000 small independent retailers in at least 100 cities have signed up to date. “All the businesses on Shoplocalonline.org are real places: market stalls, pop-up shops, real brick and mortar businesses. If you care about these places, this is a chance to drop by with them. The website is following in the footsteps of Bookshop.org, which was launched a year ago to support independent bookstores. It has generated nearly £ 1.8million for nearly 500 bookstores.
Andrew Goodacre, chief of Bira, said. “The pandemic has been very difficult for retailers classified as non-essential. In the past 18 months, they have suffered three lockdowns, weeks of restrictive regulations and are just starting to rebuild their business. Christmas is going to be an incredibly important season for independent retailers.
“We know shoppers have returned to shopping on Main Street as they begin to prepare for the holiday season, but we need stronger sales in November and December to help retailers meet the many challenges that are facing them. expect them in 2022. “