A little over a week from now, Black Friday will take place, and a couple of days after that, Cyber Monday. We can tell you now, we won’t be taking part in either and we never have.
The reasons for this decision are numerous but at the heart of it lies our belief that our products are designed to provide you with years of reliable service. We do not operate on a traditional seasonal business model; the garments you bought from us this time last year should still be serving you just as well this year. Our products are built to endure, to become wardrobe favourites that you will turn to time and time again.
Our prices are not set to accommodate sale periods. We have a skilled workforce which is paid fairly to produce the best garments possible. This artisan approach to manufacturing is not cheap and is the opposite end of the spectrum to fast fashion. When you buy Vélobici you are investing in UK manufacturing and preserving this country’s remaining textile heritage.
The Black Friday sales are an orgy of consumerism that benefits neither the retail industry or the planet. This shopping frenzy creates spikes in air pollution and plastic waste as up to 82,000 delivery vans hit the roads carrying parcels brimming with plastic packaging. Up to 81 per cent of purchases in the UK alone on Black Friday will involve an online purchase. On this day as much as £137 million is wasted by shoppers buying things they already own, as they descend into an orgy of buying.
For brands, Black Friday has warped the retail landscape. Imported from the US less than a decade ago, it has absolutely nothing to do with this country. In the states it is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which people would take off to get a head start on their holiday shopping and make a long weekend of it. As retailers competed for customers, they discounted, and so it began. The name Black Friday was first used in 1966, when a story appeared in an ad in The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine. The Philadelphia Police Department picked up on it and used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in downtown stores.
Since its relatively recent introduction to the UK, many consumers have already become conditioned to delay purchases in the hope of a Black Friday discount. However a lot of the time they will be disappointed, with only select brands discounting and when they do, offering little more than a gesture. If you’re in the market for a 75” flatscreen and fancy camping outside Curry’s for a few days you might finish the day happy.
But a survey from PWC has revealed shoppers are becoming more cynical towards deals, with 29 per cent of those surveyed saying they were not exciting and 20 per cent believing they weren’t genuine. Only half of respondents said they were interested at all.
Those brands that have conditioned their customers to wait for sales have reported that Black Friday accounts for as much as 30 per cent of their annual sales.
This is why we simply cannot and will not play this game. We want our customers to buy our products because they love them. They will either add to their wardrobe or replace an item because it has finally worn out. We don’t plan obsolescence into our collections, or sell low-end rubbish. Everything we put our name to, from our socks to our rain jackets and everything in between, has been produced to deliver a premium experience.
We produce our products using the best fabrics and the finest componentry we can lay our hands on. We use local labour from beginning to end and don’t send our garments around the world to have certain aspects of the manufacturing process done in the cheapest places. By doing this we preserve local industry and keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. Our conscience is as solid as the garments we produce.
We want you to buy Vélobici because you need it, love it and desire it. Not because it is on sale on a certain day of the year. This is why we will never take part in Black Friday. #noblackfriday