Are you reading this in the midst of a shopping frenzy?
What was once a casual tradition has morphed into a race-to-the-discounted-bottom, in which people bolt from their thanks-giving gatherings to buy electronics. The minute the clock struck midnight on Halloween, the holiday shopping bonanza commercials began.
We are all for thoughtful, planned gift giving. It's great when we put time and energy into picking special gifts for friends and family. But our new cultural anticipation of Black Friday has turned a holiday (which, at its best, should be about giving thanks for our good fortunes) into a commercial frenzy.
Black Friday also puts small businesses, and businesses that adhere to ethical manufacturing standards at a disadvantage. Big box stores and well-funded companies can afford to offer discounts because they substantially mark up their products, so they are willing to take a smaller cut for a day in order to ramp up their sales. The problem for small businesses and businesses with high manufacturing standards is that they often don't have a large enough profit margin to be able to compete with the big guys on prices.
At Yoga by Numbers, we manufacture our mats responsibly in the United States, and we use environmentally sustainable natural rubber. On top of that, we make our mats 25% larger than standard mats so that all bodies have room to practice. The price of our mats reflect these commitments, and we take a smaller profit than most companies in order to fulfill the ethical and environmental commitments we have made. That's why you won't see our mats go on sale: we have already priced them as low as we can afford to in the hopes that we can walk the line between responsible corporate citizenship and making yoga accessible to as many people as possible.
We are celebrating Small Business Saturday instead of Black Friday by giving a shoutout to a few of our favorite companies that responsibly produce excellent products for yoga and health.
First, we love that REI has chosen to remain closed for Black Friday to let its employees enjoy the holiday with their friends and family. In addition, REI is a champion of environmental sustainability and conscious consumption. If you are looking for general wellness or wilderness products, check out REI.
Next, if you are looking for yoga apparel but want some alternatives to Lululemon's corporate culture, you are in for good news. A number of companies are now responsibly producing yoga apparel. We think it's great when a company's advertising aligns with its actual values. Sorry, Lulu.
YOGASMOGA is our favorite newcomer, offering everything from pants and shirts to sports bras and accessories. Even better? They are responsibly made in the US. First time customers receive $25 in SMOGIBucks, so if you are in the market for apparel and haven't shopped with them before, you can earn $25 off just by creating an account.
Another made in the US apparel company is LineageWear. LineageWear not only makes great leggings in awesome patterns, they offer the widest range of sizes, up to a 4X (size 26-28). They are offering 25% off all weekend.
If environmental sustainability is tops on your list, we also love Patagonia's yoga pants. Patagonia sources organic cotton, produces their apparel in fair trade factories, and offers a repair program for all their goods.
For unique, non-yoga gifts we like to peruse The Grommet, where you can search by maker values, including social enterprises, Made in the USA, and underrepresented entrepreneurs. We also love Ten Thousand Villages, which features fair trade, handmade goods.
So this Black Friday, whether you are shopping for gifts or splurging on yourself, we urge you to think about the values of the companies you buy from, and whether Thanksgiving should be about taking time to see loved ones and give thanks, or go on a box store spending bender. We also encourage you to go out tomorrow for Small Business Saturday and support your local merchants, who often put their hearts and souls into their businesses and communities.
This year, join us in committing to shop with our hearts and not only our wallets.