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#GiveBackFriday, not Black Friday

by Gelaine Santiago November 26, 2015

What’s the deal with Black Friday?

Everywhere I turn there’s no shortage of ads, emails, webinars, blog posts, tweets (and whatever other type of content you can think of) about how to best prepare for Black Friday. No matter the channel, the overwhelming message to business owners is: Sell more, sell fast, sell as much as you can. And the corresponding message to consumers is: buy, buy, buy

There's nothing inherently wrong with Black Friday (or other big shopping holidays), but we founded Cambio Market because we want to change how businesses operate. We believe there’s more to business than turning a profit, and there’s more to being a consumer than buying more stuff at the cheapest price. That’s why we believe in the social enterprise model, where doing business also has a positive impact on society. We want to support our community partners, while also helping our customers live meaningful lives through buying ethically and purposefully.

Give Back Friday, not Black Friday

So how are we combining our social purpose and values with a day like Black Friday? The reality is, we're still a company with products to sell and customers to serve so there's no fighting it, but we still want to do business differently and that means shifting the conversation a little bit. 

Rather than getting, we want to encourage giving. We believe every little action makes a difference. We think that if people feel good about themselves, then they'll be inspired to do good. We held a Facebook giveaway the previous two weeks leading up to Black Friday, and we were so touched at how many people participated. It was inspiring to see everyday changemakers like yourselves committed to making the world a better place in your own special ways.

We chose three participants from our Facebook giveaway and sent them a personal thank you note

We decided to choose three people who participated in our giveaway (but didn't win) who have impacted us in one way or another. We wrote them each a personal note expressing how grateful we are for their support. We also included an extra card for them to write a note of appreciation for someone else in the hopes they'll pay it forward.

We also included an extra card for each person in the hopes they would pay the gesture forward.

To Sue, we thanked her for her unwavering support and for actively advocating on behalf of causes and organizations she believes in. She's such a strong changemaker and we know she'll do amazing things :) 

Our thank you note to Dani

To Dani, we love her work with Tribe of Lambs and her commitment to ethical living. We have no doubt that she walks the walk just as well as she talks the talk, and that she's equally committed to passing these values on to her daughters.

Our thank you note to Jennifer, one of our very first customers!

To Jennifer, we were especially touched. She was one of our first customers when we initially launched and she's stuck through with us since, actively engaging with us online and sharing her story. Her approach to ethical living is one that resounds with us – living ethically begins with small actions and strong values which you pass onto your children. 

Each card we gave away was made from recycled papers and crafted by a woman escaping sex trafficking in the Philippines. Every card helps the woman who made it by giving her steady income and skills training so she can support her family and send her children to school.

We know these are small gestures and we're definitely not the first ones to do something non-traditional for Black Friday. However, this is what's authentic to us, and we hope it's symbolic of the various ways we can each give – whether through kind words or gestures, or choosing to re-evaluate what it means to be a consumer.

Want to participate? Here's what you can do:

 Write a note of appreciation or encouragement to someone you know (or to a stranger). Then share what you did by sharing a photo with hashtag #GiveBackFriday 

Think #GiveBackFriday, not Black Friday

Gelaine Santiago
Gelaine Santiago


Gelaine is co-founder of Cambio & Co. – a brand on a mission to change how business is done and how people shop. Cambio & Co. showcases contemporary, conscious fashion made with Filipino soul - all designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by talented Filipino artisans. Gelaine is a proud Filipina-Chinese-Canadian living in Toronto, writing and learning about Filipino culture, travel, and conscious living. Find her on Twitter @gelaineyyy.

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