We need to talk about Black Friday. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard of it, but do you know where it all started? Because I sure as heck don’t remember it being such a BIG thing until fairly recently….a keyboard journey to Google-ville tells me that it originated in the United States and is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952.

Given the rise of global (US owned businesses) such as Amazon, Apple and the like it’s no great surprise that it’s been increasingly adopted here in Blighty for the past few years.

I was about to start a little moan over on Instagram (in response to someones post) but I knew I’d barely scratch the surface and certainly don’t want to come across as  bitter little shop-keeper, but if you’ll bare with me I do feel it’s a topic that needs to be touched upon as there seems to have become a certain level of expectation that ALL businesses will offer MEGA-amazing discounts.

Well that’s all well and good from the big retailers, they’ve obviously done the sums and it makes sense to them, but I honestly think that it’s too much to ask of us, smaller businesses, and it’s not just about the discounts…

For a lot of businesses – big or small – Black Friday now means that most of their Christmas sales are crammed into the space of about three weeks which is really a really short window and makes stock buying & budgeting really challenging. Plus, if like us you stock locally sourced, handmade products – there is a real human taking the time to make these items in an increasingly shortened window and the knock-on pressures for family life etc are bonkers!

#noblackfriday c. By Charlies Hand

Now I’m not saying don’t shop, quite the opposite! I’m saying please don’t wait for small businesses to discount that item that you’ve had your eye on because chances are they won’t discount it anyway.

Why not?

Well…our margins are are not that of the likes of certain electronics stores and other familiar named retailers and so we just can’t offer those same huge discounts, not at least without suffering in the long term for it – we need to pay the bills and feed and support our families too. We simply can’t compete with the ‘big boys’ so we’re not going to try.

We’d rather reward and treat you all year round with giveaways and special VIP evenings – like our birthday t’other week where we gave our lovely, regular customers a party complete with a discount on any purchases made that night – our way of saying thank you for all your support.

Please, PLEASE do support your local shops, markets and shop small in person or online this Christmas (& year-round please!)  You never know what you might find! But I do know one thing, and that is that the person who runs the little shop that you visit will value your business far, FAR more and as the graphic below demonstrates – that pound you pop into their till has wide reaching implications…

^^ That’s just £2 per week, that’s equal to buying ‘just a card‘ with us.

We are really so grateful for every single purchase that rings through our till, and the support that gives us in our independent business dream.  Thank you for being a huge part of it, making it all possible, and respecting our choices to not jump on the discount bandwagon in order to stay afloat.

PS: In the time it’s taken me to tap out this blog, an article has appeared on the BBC website, quoting Which? Warning that some deals are not all they seem… “Which? said 60% of all the items it tracked were cheaper or the same price on other days of the year” Mmmmm interesting!

PPS: And if you are a small business owner and have decided that you too will not be a part of this mayhem, there is a hashtag for that…  #noblackfriday for the people who are taking a stand against the pressure to conform. You really don’t have to compete with the big boys.



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