I have a love/hate relationship with this particular week in the calendar year. It's the week of our Christmas Late Night Shopping evening in Southwell. A buzzy evening (Thursday 28th November) that marks the start of Christmas in our beautiful town where all the independents open their doors, provide festive fare and members of the community shop and get Christmassy.
I also dislike this week because of the saturation of the online market with Black Friday deals. The knock on effect of Black Friday on independents is massive. People shop for Christmas later, waiting to see what Black Friday deals they can get. Loyal customers who normally buy directly from you, go straight to a designer to get a deal. As well as the smoke and mirrors of Black Friday 'deals' where you're not really getting a special deal at all, the whole week serves to undermine the concept of quality and the importance of a unique and intimate shopping experience.
At Last Night I Dreamt we pride ourselves on providing a unique shopping experience, where people come into the boutique and we give them our time, expertise and hopefully create a special memory. A Black Friday deal won't buy you that experience or create that memory.
This week my dear friend Rebecca (Rebecca McNish Flowers) spent the day creating my awesome window installation. Listening to people's response to our window and seeing their faces has been priceless. Lost in wonder at the Narnia/Wonderland installation piece that Rebecca lovingly created outside and inside the boutique. Black Friday will give you deals on your laptop from the comfort of your sofa, but will it give you magic? Will it give you a personal encounter with someone knowledgable about jewellery, someone who remembers what you last purchased and has suggestions to make about what the next perfect purchase or gift might be.
So before asking for a price match or discount in an independent, stop and think. Ask yourself what it is about shopping locally in indie boutiques that you love, what amazing one-to-one service you experience and how you leave the shop feeling when you step out the door. Local is the new black, personal service is the new quick buy on the internet and the magic you feel shopping locally and on a personal website is the new vibe.
So that's why this Friday, we won't be offering Black Friday deals. We may have a quiet day in the boutique and have less sales online. So be it. But my hope is that in standing against Black Friday we'll get people to ask themselves what they like about shopping and the experiences that are treasured and not forgotten.