Everlane, one of the wave of vertically-integrated sites that is changing the way that fashion is made and sold, is today disrupting something else. In protest against the over-the-top consumerism that is Black Friday — where smartphone-equipped shoppers look for incremental sales/parking/stock advantages over those less savvy — Everlane is opting out. The site is going dark on one of the busiest retail days of the year.
In a post that is now on the home page of the site called “Buy Less, Buy Better,” Everlane makes the case that closing shop on Black Friday is a way of expressing its general principles. Everlane, as background, sources products from the ground up, thereby making the process totally transparent to buyers and cutting out some of the fat (and cost) in the process. The focus is on fewer, better quality things:
Because we want to help people consume less by creating fewer, longer lasting products,
we decided to shut down the site today. Have a wonderful holiday and we’ll be back tomorrow.
Everlane’s founder, Michael Preysman, further elaborates:
“As a business, we appreciate the importance of holiday shopping, but feel that the excess around Black Friday has shifted to a focus on quantity over quality. We believe there is too much noise. If we can help contribute in reducing that noise, we’ve helped move the world forward,” he said in a statement.
It’s a calculated risk for Everlane. If the company is going to make a statement like this, today is probably the best day to do it. Black Friday is evolving to be a big day for online sales — Apple and Amazon being just two of the big online sites offering Black Friday deals — but the day’s mainstay is the traditional retailer opening its doors to customers for the first big day of holiday shopping. (And as this NYT article points out, traditional retailers are increasingly using the tools of the tech trade to make sure that they continue to stay in the game.) In contrast, IBM data shows that Thanksgiving Thursday, in fact, is rapidly shaping up to be the big day for online shopping.
So a statement made at just the right time, but probably with less harm done to Everlane’s bottom line than an extended holiday black out would be.
Meanwhile, Everlane remains an online-only shop but it, too, is making little moves into physical sales via a pop-up shop in Manhattan. “Not A Shop,” it says, will offer classes in tie-making, belt making and suede patches. “This popup will ultimately serve to educate consumers about the origin and manufacturing of Everlane’s products in a salute towards Preysman’s commitment to maintain transparency with his customers,” the company says.