What does Black Friday mean to you as business owners?
Dominika and Elsie: Black Friday historically for us was a time to drive sales but as we’ve grown BYBI this perception has shifted as we’ve come to realise it’s unsustainable in many ways. Not only does it contribute to wasteful, mindless consumerism, but it’s also not a sustainable way to run a business. Participating in heavy Black Friday discounting can be damaging for small businesses like ours; from strains on stock supply through to trying to compete with some of the bigger guys when it comes to how much we’re able to discount.
Last year we decided to remove ourselves from heavy Black Friday discounting and developed BYBI Bundles which is our evergreen discounting offer. We’re able to make discounting work when customers buy more than one product with us so Bundles incentivises those who buy 3 or more products. The beauty is that they get to decide which products, which in turn minimises waste from unwanted products.
This year we’d still like our customers to benefit from Black Friday with us but we’re putting a green spin on things. We’re planting 10 trees for every Bundle purchased so that the environment wins too. And a free Babe Balm Bronze with every order!
Our decision to still participate in Black Friday in some way is down to the fact that we truly believe BYBI offers the most sustainable skincare on the market and our aim is to get into the hands of the masses to spread our susty messaging. Right now that means we still have to be able to offer something that cuts through the BF noise for the everyday shopper.
Has owning a business where sustainability is the primary value, changed the way you think and feel about Black Friday?
Dominika and Elsie: Absolutely. We both used to be suckers for a Black Friday deal, and it’s totally fine for those who still are because this time of year can be stressful financially. Many rely on the Black Friday sales to ease some of that pressure. I think running a sustainable business around this time of year has really taught us to stop and think before making that purchase, be it over Black Friday or the rest of the year. Taking advantage of the sales should be something you can do guilt free, just try not to let the pressure of the ticking deal clock force you into buying stuff you don’t need! When we came up with Bundles we were mostly excited about offering an evergreen, all year round discount which means our customers have time to consider their purchases, hopefully leading to less returns and less waste!
How does Black Friday impact the environment and why?
Dominika and Elsie: The key issues are around the sheer amount that is purchased without adequate thought. This leads to load of items that either need to be returned, in turn increasing the amount of delivery vehicles used, or are chucked out and wind up at landfill. On top of that, the sheer amount of consumerism across the period causes a huge spike in delivery logistics. Most brands will be fighting for you to shop directly with them in order to receive their discount, meaning as an individual you order from multiple websites, resulting in multiple delivery methods. Overall this means more vans on the road and more CO2 emitted.
As society begins to become more conscious and environmentally aware, do you think there has been a shift in consumer interaction with the Black Friday trend?
Dominika and Elsie: We’ve seen a number of brands take a new spin on things, much like we’re doing with Green Friday, which acknowledges the wants and needs of our customers but equally offers a more sustainable option. We’ve seen brands extend their discount period so as not to encourage panic purchasing, or others donate to environmental endeavours like our partnership with One Tree Planted. Ultimately, this will be both a brand and consumer shift because brands will only adapt their offerings if they think consumers will engage, so changing your purchasing behaviour as a consumer even slightly this BF season will help change things on a larger scale in the long run.
What do you think Black Friday means to consumers and companies, who celebrate the trend?
Dominika and Elsie: Black Friday originated as an extension of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US and a marker of the beginning of the Christmas shopping period. It really signifies the kick off of Christmas which for many is an exciting and meaningful time of year, but equally one that has become completely tied up with consumerism. If Christmas is an important time of year for you then it may be that you really enjoy gifting, which is ok! There are still ways to gift responsibly - ensuring that what you’re buying is definitely of use to the person receiving (have you taken our awesome gift guides to help with this yet), gift cards are always a good option or even something that you can enjoy together rather than a material gift (check out our Susty Summit as an idea).
What do you think the future holds for Black Friday?
Dominika and Elsie: We’ll continue to see a move away from wasteful and mindless consumption, with forward thinking brands incentivising their customers in ways other than straight discounts, including charitable donations. At BYBI we’ll stick to our evergreen discount offering to take a bit of stress out of this time of the year, and are super excited to see how many trees we’ll plant over the coming days!
If you’d like to meet Elsie & Dominika and hear more about sustainability at BYBI, check out our next Susty Summit on Wednesday 4 Dec.