Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

Black Friday. Indie Friday. Cyber Monday. Shop Small. Shop Local...
There's been a LOT of chat on social media & in real life about these things lately, and as with anything people feel passionately about, there's been a bit of controversy here and there too.

I've seen small businesses fretting about not being able to compete with the big boys' offers, I've seen people being almost shamed by other makers for running their own Black Friday deals, as though they're 'selling out', then others having to justify themselves for not offering up discounts, as though they're letting their customers down by not 'joining in'. 
Ugh. It all makes me a bit sad to be honest!

For what it's worth, here's my take on the whole thing...
Indie Friday: is a great thing. I will always, always be an advocate for shopping small - obviously in part because i run a small business of my own, but also because i genuinely think it's the best way to find quality, unusual and original gifts (and treats for yourself!)

The cliches are all true too - when you shop small, you're supporting a dream, you're helping a real person pay bills, making them do a happy dance - all that good stuff! In short, if you can shop small, do! We tiny empire builders will love you for it, and you'll get your hands on allsorts of wonderful things you won't find on the high street. Win win.


What I don't agree with, is this sort of hardcore opinion that seems to be emerging where essentially, 'shopping small = good, therefore high street = baaad'.
I really don't think it's as black and white as that. There are a lot of big retailers who champion the work of independent artists, allowing them to reach a bigger audience, and if there were no high street retailers there'd be a whole bunch of people not able to shop anywhere on account of having no job... but that's a conversation for another day.
What I'm trying to say here, is that I just don't think it's realistic to hope for a world where everyone does all their Christmas shopping from small retailers. For example, my little boy has about a dozen DS games on his wishlist - they don't tend to pop up on etsy!

What we can do, is shop consciously - be more aware of who we're handing our cash to, and maybe try to spread that spending around a bit. So while I'll be heading to the highstreet for all shorty's videogame needs, his stocking stuffers will mostly be from small shops, fellow makers & the like.

As for Black Friday, i think it can be a great thing, for any business & obviously great for customers too (provided the amazing discount is on something you'd have actually bought anyway, as opposed a giant random something that you're feeling compelled to buy just because it's only half as expensive as it was!)

For small businesses; it can be a blessing or a curse depending how you view it. If you can afford to get involved without stretching yourself (and/or killing your profit margins!), then go for it! If you can't or just don't want to, that's absolutely fine too. Maybe you could offer a freebie instead, or do a giveaway to cash in on 'hashtag #BlackFriday'. Or, do nothing and just use the hashtag to say so! (Sneaky!) Ultimately, do what works for you. (And don't ever feel like you have to justify your decision!)  (P.S. My Version: Colour Me Happy Weekend, is Go! ...just sayin' ;)

I've jabbered for much longer than I planned to, so I think I'll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts on the whole Indie/Black Friday/ High Street vs Small Business malarky? Let me know in the comments if you like!

And if all else fails, remind yourself it'll all be over soon & then it's basically time for fairy lights and Christmas food and mulled wine and festive jumpers... truly the most wonderful time of the year!

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