Every year, it descends upon the world like a fleet of enormous, threatening alien spacecrafts. They loom over our cities, causing a mad panic. People dash blindly to and fro, guided by an intense sense of urgency: Any moment now, it will all end.
It's pretty obvious from my Armageddon-like metaphor that I'm not a fan of Black Friday. I don't like the crowds, the crazy rush and what often feels like mindless spending in our constant, consumer-driven society. I'm fully aware of the irony of my existence -- my little ship is kept afloat by making sales, but by no means do I have "salesman-blood" pumping through my veins. Put in a different way: making money is not the reason why I do what I do.
So why do I do what I do? What greater purpose does it serve?
With introspection, what I've discovered is that all my greatest, deepest, most valued ambitions all relate to giving back. Giving back to my community and giving back to the planet. As corny as it may sound, I want to make the world a better place.
To do that, I need to earn a living (because one cannot be generous from a deficit position). At the same time, I don't want to put off doing this until I've "made it". Because when will that be? And what does that even really mean?!
My values and ambitions are now the same as what they will be two or ten or twenty years from now. I want to do something now. Even if it isn't mind-blowingly awesome and world-changing. As a good friend of mine puts it, it's impossible to air condition the entire Africa. Better to rather focus on air conditioning - or bringing relief and change to - small spaces, in manageable bites.
With this in mind, I recently partnered with the Helderberg Animal Welfare Society in hosting a fun raffle to raise funds for their amazing work. This was only the beginning of what I hope to be a long and happy journey of giving back.
Now, here is my small, manageable, air-conditioning-plan-of-action, which will do some good and add a "Why?" to Black Friday:
Usually, I offer 20% off in my online shop for the entire month of November. This year, I will still offer shoppers a 10% discount on every purchase. Alongside this, I vow to donate 10% of every sale made in November to a worthy non-profit. In so doing, I'm hoping that my loyal customers will really feel that this will be a team effort between us.
This year, my chosen non-profit is the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
I'm sure many of you learnt of the tragic death of over 60 African penguins at Boulder's Beach in September. Although this was a rare fluke, there is no denying the African penguin's dire situation. According to this South African 2021 annual census, the number of the breeding African penguins in South Africa has declined by 73% over the last 30 years (Sherley et al. 2021).
Apart from their work with the endangered African penguin, SANCCOB aims to reverse the decline of a variety of other seabirds, and is internationally recognised as the leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing. Go read more about the full scope of their amazing work here.
So -- to sum up: enjoy 10% off in my online shop for the entire month of November (discount automatically added at checkout from 1 November), and join me in giving back (the new black!) to our beautiful planet!
Get your Christmas shopping done early, AND support an amazing cause:
Swoon at the cuteness of these gorgeous African penguins at the Stony Point Nature Reserve (images are all my own):