In 36 hours, America will be knee-deep in Black Friday. There are many different ways to look at this event: minimalists and environmentalists may bemoan the excessive consumerism; businesswomen and men will wait with anticipation to see end-of-day sales; families may see it as a chance to get more gifts for less money, a win-win for everyone. As branding enthusiasts and graphic designers, we’re donning our marketing glasses and looking at the event through their rose-colored lenses, seeing the day as what it truly is – a giant branding bonanza.
It’s the time every year when each company works hard to make itself known amid the chaos of crowded markets via its products, its services, its principles, its mission, its personality, and its unique take on this holiday season… put simply, its brand! In response, each of us, as a consumer, whether we notice or not, is silently drawn to the brands that connect with and excite some part of ourselves. We may feel a special affinity for L.L.Bean because their clothes are just so sensible, or we may choose to shop with Toms because we’re inspired by the work they do to give back. We may decide to splurge on a pair of Rossignol skis because of they transform us into a rockstar on the mountain, or get all of our gifts at Ten Thousand Villages because of their worldly, multicultural feel.
As emotional humans constantly seeking connection, we gravitate towards the brands that reflect our own values. That fact poses an opportunity for each of us, which is to approach shopping with thoughtful consideration. The holiday season is much more than a chance to scramble for sales; it is a chance to vote with our dollars for the causes we believe in most.
If shopping thoughtfully is on your mind this year, below is a list of some of the brands that we’re excited to support, because they stand for things that connect with and reinforce our own company values.
Everlane, which is committed to transparent pricing and production; their products are produced in an ethical and socially responsible way.
Patagonia, which is donating 100% of their Black Friday sales to support grassroots environmental organizations.
Krochet Kids, International, which supports female artisans in developing countries with economic empowerment and education.
Coyuchi, whose bedding and bath products are made with 100% organic textiles.
S’well, whose insulated waterbottles help rid the world of plastic bottles; they also support Unicef, American Forests and Drink Up.
Equal Exchange, whose coffee and teas are delicious, high quality, and fairly traded, supporting small-scale farmers around the world.
Catbird, whose beautiful jewelry is made with conflict-free stones.
There are many other businesses we could promote here (which is such a great thing! So many businesses to believe in!), but that list should give you some initial ideas. Go forth and feel your way towards the brands that make you feel most inspired and fulfilled, and share the goodness with others. ‘Tis the season, after all.
The Tenth Crow Team