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27th November 2014

Owl & Monkey’s Take on Black Friday

Owl & Monkey have read & heard lots of opinions on Black Friday. We’ve heard the argument that it simply encourages the worst excesses of modern Western consumerism, and to an extent, yes, we agree. Yes, we are all encouraged to want too much & buy even more. But we don’t think that that’s really a phenomenon exclusive to Black Friday. Moreover some of the argument seems to us more about the whole structure of consumerism: goods made & bought in cheap then sold for vast mark-ups by a perceived faceless conglomerate.

We try not to go down that line at any point. Our new lines are painstakingly sourced from designers & made, as far as possible, in the UK or Europe. Our other products are up-cycled. We have walked away from buying particular products because they don’t fit these criteria. It’s important to us to be a small business that offers a friendly, personal service and products selected with a conscience.

We see Black Friday as an opportunity to boost the market profile of our & other UK & European-made small volume products. We want to encourage people to buy goods because they are inspired by them and will love and cherish them; not just as another possession to consume.

We also see Black Friday as an opportunity to spread the small independent business word. We cannot change the fact the Black Friday looks as if it could be here to stay; like it or not. However, if we & other small independents don’t shout about our businesses at a point when the big stores are pushing theirs then we stand not only to miss out in the short term, but risk being pushed out even more in the longer term.

So Black Friday hopefully will get more people in through the door to look, maybe think & perhaps buy – yes it is opportunistic but we hope, like the best marketing, it can help create something good. We have also become aware of Small Business Saturday through marketing & we are looking forward to shopping small then just as we try to do everyday.

We believe that Black Friday is also a chance to get ours & similar products out there to a different market. Small businesses products, we are acutely aware, can feel expensive against the bargain busting offers of the big guys. Certainly the relatively low volume production we support costs more to make than many equivalent higher volume goods. We believe they are well made & offer good value: but when economics are tight people can face a hard choice in choosing these items over the cheaper and mass produced. We hope then that the small discount we can offer on Black Friday may open-up these products for people who would really like to buy them & support ideals similar to ours. Because we also believe that cheap mass consumerism ultimately fails the consumer, many of whom – to coin the old phrase – can’t afford to buy cheap that doesn’t last, now more than ever.

So Owl & Monkey are offering Black Friday deals. We will be cutting our profits to the bone on one day. But hopefully gaining new customers who will return for more of the same; the friendly service of a small business and the inspiration and joy of products produced with passion, love and skill.

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