Unpacking Green Friday - Support Local Small Businesses
Today is the day, Green Friday or Black Friday depending on your perspective. Whether you’ve been holding onto your money for the opportunity to save big, or if you’re boycotting the event entirely in accordance with Buy Nothing Day, it’s impossible to ignore. Christmas jingles are playing on the radio, big box store flyers are arriving in our mailboxes, and the influence of commercial economic forces on our society and behaviour is palpable.
This day is particularly challenging for small businesses with strong sustainability and community values at the core of their structure. On one hand, we work diligently throughout the year to ensure our values are demonstrated in the choices we make daily, and that we disseminate these values into every level of our work. But on the other hand, when big sale events like Black Friday or Boxing Day occur, we find ourselves struggling to compete with the outrageous discounts offered by larger corporate businesses that we simply can’t provide.
Taking part in Green Friday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday looks different for everyone in the maker community. For some it’s an opportunity to try a new fabric shop with fancy fabrics at reduced prices, for some it’s an opportunity to support a small local business while also getting a deal on fabrics, and for others it’s a chance to restock for the whole year.
Whatever you choose to do in the coming weeks, we encourage you to see this as an opportunity: to take a step back, assess your needs, choose to support local makers and small businesses, to organize your home fabric inventory, and to connect with other home sewists. The most important takeaways from Green Friday are to make conscious choices about who we support, and when we have need, not just on one occasion but on a daily basis.
Are you preparing to buy fabric or supplies on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? We’ve compiled a Sustainable Buying Checklist for you to use (not just on Black Friday, but all year long!), to make sure your purchases are ethically and sustainably minded.
FABCYCLE’s Sustainable Buying Checklist
1. Do you have a specific project for this fabric?
If you have a specific or unfinished project in mind that you can use this fabric for, then it’s a worthwhile purchase. But if you are having a hard time thinking of a use for this fabric, then perhaps you don’t need to buy it. Try to avoid unnecessary clutter and hoarding by considering your needs, and only buying fabrics you have a planned project for.
2. Who are you supporting by making this purchase?
Research and learn more about the companies you are interested in before you consider buying from them. As a starting point, make sure you can answer the following questions:
- What does the company stand for?
- How do they source their fabric and notions?
- Do their values align with yours?
- Who is benefiting from your purchase? Is that who you want to support with your money?
Read up on the company’s mission statement, what actions they are taking to produce fabric/notions responsibly and ethically, and check out their reviews on social media. If you’re able to visit the company in person, don’t be afraid to ask questions!
3. Try to buy the fabrics and notions you need second hand first.
Maybe there is another home sewist or maker in your extended community who can either trade with you, or provide you with the fabric and supplies you need! Reach out to local makers you know and follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, make a post about the fabric you’re looking for on a local group or community page on Facebook, and check out second-hand fabric markets and thrift shops. You can even try eBay and Craigslist, you never know what you might find, not to mention the new connections in the local maker community!
4. How would you care for the fabrics you choose?
Make an effort to choose fabrics that are easy to care for, that are durable, and will last for a long time. Also choose fabrics that don’t require heavy laundering or chemical dry cleaning, to minimize the impact they will have going forward.
If you are working with synthetic fabrics, try to always use a microfilament bag (like the CORA ball) when washing them, as they are specially designed to capture the synthetic microfibers that would otherwise enter the environment.
5. Focus on Quality over Quantity.
This age old saying is eternally true! Thoughtful selection of well-made fabrics, designed with the intention to become clothing and goods that last, in quantities you will actually use, is the best step toward sustainable purchasing you can take. Don’t be enticed by the large availability of fabrics that appear glitzy and trendy, yet are of poor quality as they are destined to become disposable items.
6. Shop local
Try to buy your fabrics and supplies close to home from small businesses, instead of buying from big box stores; to support your local community shops, and help them survive and thrive during these difficult times of a pandemic. While it is important to be aware of frivolous spending and consumerism on Black Friday, it’s equally important to keep in mind the small businesses all over the country who have also been eagerly anticipating this day. They have been hard at work curating beautiful offerings, often partnering with other local small businesses to do so for things like labels, packaging, and shipping materials. The FAB Team would humbly like to ask you to vote with your wallet, and to support your local community shops, artists, and brands instead of big brands and big box stores. We kindly encourage you to support brands and companies that you truly believe in, ensuring your purchases align with your values.
At FABCYCLE we made the choice to participate in Green Friday sales this year because as a social enterprise, our mission is to find homes for all of the fabrics and notions we collect; and this is a brilliant opportunity to highlight those that have been with us for a long time, and are in need of a loving home where a talented maker will turn them into something new. The very reason FABCYCLE exists is because of overconsumption, hyper consumerism, and irresponsible practices in the garment industry that led to (and continue to lead to) so much textile waste. When you choose to buy our fabrics and notions, you are actively helping us keep useful materials out of landfills, and making an impactful difference with the valuable garments and products you produce. In order to give another life to the fabrics and notions that have been with us for too long, we have curated a Special Sale Collection to highlight them!
Do you have other tips on how to shop responsibly? Please share them in the comments below!
If you decide that you’d like to support us in our mission to divert textile waste from the landfill, we’ve created a curated collection of fabrics that are in desperate need to find new homes.
Check out our Green Friday Sale Collection here!