Off the top, let us be clear: we are having a Black Friday sale. You can check it out here but first, can we talk about Black Friday - and all sales events for that matter?
It's a topic we have discussed a lot amongst the River & Trail staff but the conversation today was ignited by the marketing team at Patagonia. Patagonia is not having any sales for Black Friday and have instead launched a campaign titled 'Buy Less, Demand More'. This is a bold move but it is one that we completely understand. So, let's get into why.
As a small business and retail store, we rely on consumers to make purchases (and couldn't be more appreciative of each and every one of you!) but we still don't want to encourage or motivate unnecessary buying. With an overwhelming amount of options for technical apparel and gear, it can be confusing to determine what you truly need for your next adventure. We pride ourselves in helping guide you towards the essentials that will keep you moving once you hit the trails or waterways.
As we all know, there is a difference between fulfilling a need versus a want. That line may get blurred sometimes, and a want can be a need - but it's important to give yourself a chance to recognize the difference before impulse buying. This difference can get especially fuzzy during sales events. Our brains are easily triggered into excitement when something is marked down. If it is something you have been eyeing for a long time, and something you genuinely need - amazing. This is the best time to pull the trigger and invest.
However, if it's something you've never really given much thought and simply like the idea of saving a few bucks, it's time to review the math and reflect on how well it will be used and if it will stand the test of time - ultimately determining whether or not it will add enough value for it to be a worthwhile purchase.
It's more than just about numbers though. It's about the effect we each have on larger issues at hand including: "pollution, waste and labour abuses". Every time we buy something - anything - we are using our voice. The reality is that there aren't many things as loud as money. As consumers, we have an incredible amount of power. That voice, whether intentional or not, informs companies about what is important to us and how they should continue to act.
With all of this being said, we know that investing in a $100 shirt or $500 jacket is simply not realistic for everyone - especially right now. This is part of why we still participate in sales events. But it is important to consider how much life you can get out of one, well-made product vs a cheaper version. How many "cheaper" versions of something will you go through in the same lifespan of the one, higher quality item? Expensive clothing doesn't always equal ethical but more often than not, ethical products do come with a higher price tag - and for a very good reason.
There are many different things that go into a price tag. A seemingly 'basic' t-shirt can cost $100 easily once you consider all of the steps and people involved in creating that one t-shirt. The reality is that ethical and sustainable practices take more effort and it costs companies more to treat their workers fairly as well as source quality, responsibly sourced materials. Researching companies before you buy their products is an amazing way to ensure your dollars are used wisely.
It is a long chain before products enter our doors. We do our best to fill our store with items that meet our customer's demands and are also made by companies who have similar values to our own. But we know we aren't perfect. At the end of the day, we are a business and money dictates what we can and can't do. We are continuously striving for improvement and to bring what you need to our hometown. Together, we can continue to move in the right direction in making a positive impact that stretches beyond our community. We think before we buy, and we hope to encourage you to do the same.