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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

Why Black Friday Negatively Impacts Independent Retailers ALL Month

By Michelle Germain

why black friday is bad for small businesses

Image via @Coveteur

When I opened my boutique, Shopgirls, 11 years ago, Black Friday was not a thing in Canada (other than Canadians frantically driving across the border to score some deals on electronics mostly). Nowadays, “BF” is quite the thing. In fact, we hear about Black Friday sometimes months in advance – I’ve seen Black Friday sales announced as early as September with “Pre-Black-Friday” messaging!  WTF people!!!

Seriously though, I’ve worked in marketing for some big box stores and if you think you’re actually getting a deal, you should know, that’s not always the case. Nonetheless, consumers get giddy at scoring big discounts from the big guys, I get it, I love a good deal as much as the next person. For the past three years, I’ve followed the pack, offering discounts at Shopgirls on Black Friday weekend so I can compete.  Turns out, I not only lessen the value of my brand and my designers, but I am also killing my margins (aka profit or in this case lack thereof).  Plus, what’s worse is that people refrain from shopping prior to the dreaded BF weekend, which means not only a loss in profit on the actual weekend, but a lack of sales for the entire month leading up!  That’s a double whammy that small businesses simply can’t afford.

shopgirls toronto - Michelel Germain

Not in Toronto? You can shop online too!

You see, I am the founder of Shopgirls, an independent boutique solely dedicated to selling Canadian brands.  And while I couldn’t be more proud to support our local talent, as a result, margins are slim.  If I had a nickel for every time a business expert has suggested I look at other American or international brands that offer a larger return, I would be a very rich lady.  However, I stand strong in my belief that Canadian designers deserve the spotlight, and I am not about to sell out.

So, this year, instead of focussing on this shitty American-made selling ploy, I’ve opted to do something meaningful with my messaging and my efforts as a business owner. This BF or as I prefer to refer to it as BS weekend, Shopgirls is shifting gears and kicking off a month-long fundraiser for Sheena’s Place, a wonderful organization that helps families and friends cope with eating disorders.  This event lends itself perfectly with our mantra that reminds women to Shop Your Shape, Not Your Size.  Our philosophy is carried through in everything we do, from reframing how we look at our bodies to tagging each and every piece of clothing in the shop AND online by body shape.

shopgirls toronto - michelle germain

It’s me, Michelle!

This Sunday, November 25th, Shopgirls is hosting BABES & BRUNCH: You are Beautiful. Pass it on! We are proudly partnering with Madison Schillian (founder of Su_la_Po),  You Tuber and poster child for self love Kenzie Brenna and Kaitlyn Axelrod from Sheena’s Place for a panel discussion on Body Positivity and why it’s so important for women of all ages.  Help us help others and buy your tickets HERE! They’re only $5 and 100% of the proceeds will go to Sheena’s Place. Plus, snacks and coffee included!  

So by all means, go out and get those Black Friday deals, there surely will be some good ones!  But don’t forget that independents can’t play that game – and if they do, it’s certainly not to win.

Save some of those dollars for small businesses, because supporting local is truly where you will get the biggest bang for your buck!


Michelle Germain, Founder of Shopgirls 


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