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To Black Friday or Not to Black Friday? That is the Question.

November 17, 2022

To Black Friday or Not to Black Friday? That is the Question.

It wasn't that long ago that Black Friday wasn't even a thing in South Africa. I remember hearing something about a big sale in the States with ridiculously low deals on appliances and tech. Sometime later it was extended to Cyber Monday and then BOOM, there wasn't a retail brand alive without a dedicated campaign to capitalize on this global furor. 

Black Friday Deals South Africa

Having worked in a corporate marketing role, I’m well aware of the drill... Allocate sufficient budget to break through the clutter, develop a promotion concept and brief the ad agency to come up with the creative look and feel. The above the line media was bought annually so it was just a matter of allocating the inventory accordingly. All below the line comms was managed internally, so once the creative concept was approved it would be rolled out by the creative studio. The CRM Manager would activate the database and the people would stream in!

Those were the days with lots of resources and BIG budgets.


Fast forward to 2022 where I have been out of corporate for 4 years and now find myself on the other side of the fence, where as a Managing Partner in a Marketing Consultancy, Marketing Grit, we take the client briefs and make the magic happen!

I also happen to own a ladies resort and swim wear brand, Positano, which doesn’t have lots of resources or BIG budgets! What started as a creative outlet in lockdown 2020 with only an ecommerce offering, has expanded into retail, with select items on rails in 3 stores in the Western Cape.

So how do small businesses find their place in the Black Friday frenzy?

There's a big debate amongst small business owners about whether to buy into the furor of Black Friday. Those against will tell you they cannot bear to see their artisanal pieces being discounted unnecessarily just to compete in this space. A very valid point for creators who pour their heart and soul into the products they make.

As it is, in the ladies clothing industry the costs to produce a range locally are far higher than finding a supplier in the east at a fraction of the cost. I’m not knocking those that do it – it really depends on the ethos of your business. At Positano we choose to support local seamstresses and buy fabric from local Cape Town based suppliers. But make no mistake, it’s not easy!! Especially in tough times when customers are price sensitive. People (friends and family included!) will often compare our prices to Woolies and other massive chain stores. I mean seriously… the logic escapes me, but I realise they ignorantly assume we are in the same playing field. I may be wrong but I'm pretty certain China doesn't have load shedding (don't get me started!?).

Buying locally made products can be more expensive, but these are some of the benefits:

Exclusivity - much less chance of bumping into someone wearing the same outfit as you
Quality - so much love and care goes into each hand-made garment
All the feels - you can't put a price on the feeling you get, knowing you are supporting someone’s dream and helping to stimulate the local economy.

Anyhoooo, I digress...

Then there are those small businesses that are pro Black Friday, and this year I admit that Positano is in that camp. Not because we believe we can compete with big brands in that space but for a few reasons that make sense to us:

People are battling

You look around and see just how many people are battling right now. I acknowledge that everyone’s version of battling is different, but the reality is, with the cost of living higher than ever, we are all thinking twice about our spending habits. Treating ourselves, whether it is by getting our nails done or buying a new top to wear, is likely not as high on the priority list as it was before. So, we believe every little discount helps. Our mission is to help women look and feel fabulous, regardless of their age and stage, and if a Black Friday deal will help you do that (and of course still make financial sense to us), it’s worth it.

Stock is money

Empowering woman is part of our ethos at Positano, and when we started in 2020, I put a huge amount of focus into sourcing complimentary products from small female owned businesses and local brands to extend my gifting and accessories offering. As our strategy has evolved, I find myself sitting with excess stock in these lines. And stock is money!

One of the biggest reasons start-ups fail in the first 2 years is cash-flow. For us in its simplest form without cash you can’t buy more fabric, without fabric you can’t produce more clothes… and so the cycle continues. As a brand in its infancy, we have spent the last year testing various products, patterns and size ratios within our range to see how our customers respond. We’ve paid some school fees along the way (!) and as a result we have excess stock of some products which we are happy to discount.

Find your place

Don’t discount for the sake of it. Offering Black Friday specials on best sellers doesn’t make business sense. Do I believe with a limited (read no!) advertising budget we are going to crash our website with all the sales…? No! But I do believe that our loyal customers will appreciate our efforts in the long term. After all, we aren’t here to make a quick buck.

Positano Clothing and Swimwear Cape Town

Our vision for Positano is to become a well-known, trusted resort and swimwear brand offering ladies who aren’t 22 anymore a quality, timeless alternative to fast fashion.

To view Positano’s Black Friday deals CLICK HERE

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