At Livework we’ve been having some heated lunch conversations lately about sustainability and the Black Friday phenomenon. We are - to put it mildly - rather amazed at the blatant consumerist tone-of-voice of the ads we’ve been bumping into: ‘Buy now or never!’, ‘Don’t miss out!’, ‘Only a fool would let this deal pass by!’ Advertisers make us believe we really need that new vacuum cleaner, flat screen TV or game console. While actually, well, maybe we don’t. And for sure the environment doesn’t. At Livework we believe buying a little less is a pretty good idea. And we’re not alone.
A recent ABN Amro report on Black Friday (in Dutch) shows that 75% of Dutch people say they are not receptive to Black Friday advertisements because they don’t want to be triggered into unnecessary purchases. And 87% say they will try to use products as long as possible to avoid unnecessary purchases.
At Livework we think it’s easy not to spend a penny on stuff on Black Friday. Why? Because we know how many great services are being designed everyday to make the purchase and ownership of stuff so very 2018. Here’s our list of tips to keep you safe from those Black Friday deals.
- Buy experiences
Why buy stuff if you can buy memories? Treat yourself or someone with an experience like a massage, spa (look out for CO2 neutral ones), beauty treatment, theatre, cinema, or concert, instead of a material gift. Or get out into the green, explore national parks and trails more often by gifting a national trust membership. Or, while you’re at it, go all the way and book a forest holiday. Research even shows that giving experiences will make the recipient happier, so don’t hold back!
- Support green or social initiatives
To satisfy that Black Friday spending urge, consider buying some peace of mind. Contribute to kickstart the infrastructure for plastic waste and donate to startups that organise beach cleanups and incentivize people to pick-up and deposit the waste instead of throwing it in the sea. Or make a Black Friday donation to organisations like Kiva, who are crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved. Through Kiva’s work, students can pay for tuition, women can start businesses, farmers are able to invest in equipment and families can afford needed emergency care.
- Grow plants instead of belongings
Surrounding yourself with some green can make a big difference to your mood and health. At Livework we love plants! They decorate our studio, clean up pollutants in the air, and even help reduce stress levels, and ask for little in return. So why not treat yourself once in a while with a new green friend? Growing nutritious produce at home is “as easy as making your morning cup of coffee” with plant subscription boxes like Click and Grow.
- Enjoy luxury responsibly and share instead of buy
When you’re really into boats (like some Liveworkers are), you’ll be pleased to hear that you no longer have to be a millionaire to collect your nautical miles and live that riviera lifestyle. You can rent a boat without anyone noticing you’re not the owner by using the Dutch services of ‘geen boot wel varen’ (no boat but sailing anyway). Just make your reservation and the boat that is reserved for you through their App. And there’s many more lifestyle choices you can save money on, by letting go of the ownership: you can share your dog through Share Your Pet, your Rolex, Breitling or Omega through Clerkenwell Watch Sharing, and your private jet through Flexjet. For those millionaires out there, this Black Friday is all about sharing, not buying!
- Borrow, without the sorrow
A great way to not buy anything is to borrow. Let;s be honest, 99% of the time your power drill is collecting dust at home. But you cannot expect your neighbours to keep on lending you their power drill. And the chances that they have that specific pasta machine you need for tonight’s dinner party are quite slim. Dutch scale up Peerby has just the solution for you: scout your neighbourhood for anything you want to borrow, and who knows, you may not even be charged. Also put that lawnmower online and lend it out. Put it to good use!
- Subscribe and be mobile
In the world of mobility, alternatives for ownership are becoming more and more popular.Who needs to buy and own a car, moped, scooter or bike in cities with so many subscription services around? Services abound, from the bike subscription service of Swapfiets, the free floating felyx mopeds that surround our Rotterdam office, to the amazing BMW/Mercedes Share Now joint venture that includes Drive Now (from BMW) and Car2Go (from Mercedes), as well as our brand new client ParkNow. Finally, Volvo makes owning a car hassle free and easy, because, well, you don’t really own it. Instead, you subscribe to their latest generation of electric XC40’s through Care by Volvo.
- Shop ethically
And if, after all these tips, you still really feel like buying something tangible, think green and do Black Friday differently. Shop products that are second-hand, or made ethically and sustainably. Consider brands that recycle and reuse over those that don’t. With baby clothing rentals like Bundlee you can rent clothes for your little one and swap to another size when your child grows. Clothings brands are becoming increasingly conscious and release products that can be recycled back into the system, like Adidas’s running shoe that is made from 100 percent recyclable materials and can be repurposed time and time again. In addition, do something good with your purchase on the side. For example consider shopping with Oxfam this Black Friday and help them to raise vital funds to end poverty around the world.
So, there’s plenty of reasons not to buy more stuff on Black Friday. Services and experiences may just be the answer. At Livework we really are convinced that services can contribute to a more sustainable economy. They can replace products with a high carbon footprint with a lower impact alternative. Services can increase the utilization and can prolong the lifetime of products, so we need fewer of them. Less is more! We have got no time to waste – let us make the move from products to services together, this Friday!
We wish you and your loved ones a very happy Green Friday!