Why Cnoc Doesn't "Do" Black Friday

Why Cnoc Doesn't "Do" Black Friday

Black Friday is a phenomenon that started as a very US-centric event and in the last decade or so, has become a global day (or week, or even a month). 

I (Gilad, founder of Cnoc) grew up in Israel and then moved to England in 2010. I only made it to the USA in 2016, which means that I didn't grow up around Thanksgiving, Christmas or any of the associated norms and events around them. Mika, my wife and co-founder, always loved Thanksgiving, so we have been hosting those dinners since we met. This means that Thanksgiving was embedded into my life only as an adult, but it became a significant part of it. To this day Thanksgiving is one of the biggest events in our house. 

When Mika and I moved to England, we were thrown into an environment that very heavily celebrates Christmas. So much so, that we were invited to a Christmas meal at a family friend's house, but as people with no car, were shocked to learn that there was no public transport! In Central London! That was my introduction to the second part of "the holidays": Christmas in England, where everything was shut and people were home.

For years that was how I viewed those holidays: family centric, where you spend time together, whether with blood relatives or chosen family. Building bonds, eating too much and going down conversation rabbit holes that you usually don't.

What does all this have to do with Black Friday, you ask?

Well, when we moved to the US in October of 2016, I had already been hosting Thanksgiving dinners for 9 years with Mika. I had a tradition of making cranberry Ale home-brew for the dinner and we had people coming over, no matter how or where we lived. It was our American tradition and I was looking forward to doing it again in the land where it all started.

What I wasn't prepared for, though, was the level of commercialization that came with Thanksgiving, that almost neck breaking turn from family time to buying for Christmas. As a family that doesn't celebrate Christmas, it made no sense to me as I just never saw it at this level. Yes, there is very high volume of Christmas shopping in the UK, where I got to see it often as I worked in retail my whole time there, but it was nothing like what I saw here in the US. 

The big shock was how quickly stores were willing to "throw off" that sacred family time for the "buy buy buy" mind set, and how willing so many people were to join it. Needless to say, we, as a family, never participated at it and just looked at Thanksgiving as a long weekend of family time, starting from the Wednesday evening prep to the last round of Sunday lunch from leftovers. No stores nor websites in between.

Quick Black Friday History

Black Friday is historically (since the 1950's) a shopping day in the USA, as many companies give their employees (non-retail) the Friday after Thanksgiving a day off. This represents the first big shopping day in the lead up to Christmas. Many stores use it to mark the start of the big shopping period; this day was called "Black Friday" since so many stores managed to finally make it "into the black" (profitable) on that day. For more in depth history and how that evolved over the years, Wikipedia has a great entry that you can read about here.

Cnoc Outdoors and Black Friday

So with all that background, we can now finally connect all the dots from history, both American and my personal one, to explain Cnoc's relationship with Black Friday.

As I personally found the commercialization of Thanksgiving and the weekend following unpleasant, I knew that I wasn't interested in participating in it. When we finally started having employees, I wanted to extend the same options to them - allowing them to also relax that weekend, spend time with friends and family, without worrying about huge sale impacts. 

Creating a specific sale creates a very big strain on small teams; from the influx of needed work to advertise it (which will fall on Becky) and the need to make more gear (which will impact Adrian) and then packing a flood of orders (which becomes Kyle's headache) are just very demanding. 

Instead of sales, we just keep our prices stable, allowing you to predict your expenses and level of interested investment. Not increasing prices pre-sale period (as commonly done in retail) to be able to justify deeper discount.

If you love Black Friday - enjoy! Sorry we won't have anything to offer you that day. If you don't - enjoy! Maybe we'll see you out on the trails. Talk soon.


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