Ah, Black Friday.
It’s not a surprise that the official kick-off day for the vacation shopping season is accountable for an enormous yearly surge in customer costs, reaching $8.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021. However while this is a yearly slam-dunk for huge box retailers, Black Friday can bring more challenges than advantages for small businesses.
Slashing costs to make sales cuts straight into their bottom line– and with minimal marketing budgets and resources, competing with big brands takes guts, insight, and imagination. That’s why the small businesses that stand apart throughout the holiday are the ones that connect with the unique desires and requires of their clients, get bold with their marketing techniques, and create thumb-stopping content that makes certain to get people talking.
In 2015, UK-based sustainable underwear brand name and Best SMM Panel customer Pantee won Black Friday with a project that broke convention and raised awareness of unsustainable impulse purchasing. We spoke with Pantee’s founders, sis Amanda and Katie McCourt, to discover how they did it, what the results were, and what they’ve discovered for future projects.
What is Pantee?
Pantee is an underwear brand name making a difference: their products are made using “deadstock” materials, or unsold inventory that would otherwise wind up in land fills. Created by ladies, for ladies and the world, Pantee’s products are developed with convenience and style in mind, while helping prevent unused garments from going to waste.
@pantee_uk We introduced a business in lockdown! Here’s how we did it #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown Bubble– Official Sound Studio
For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or pattern to jump on; the brand was founded with this purpose at its core. The concept came to life in a thrift store in 2019, when Amanda was searching second-hand clothing stores in London and was blown away by the variety of brand-new t-shirts lining the racks, tags still on them.
“It was insane to me the number of individuals had actually handed out clothes prior to even using them once,” states Amanda. “It got me thinking: If this is the number of discarded clothing we can see, how much exists that we can’t see? Once I began looking into, I knew that we could make a distinction. It’s extremely tough to get purchasing right in the fashion industry with trends and shopping cycles changing so frequently, and as an outcome, numerous business overproduce. I became fixated on the concept of what we might do with deadstock clothing.”
The short answer to Amanda’s concern on just how much waste we can’t see: a lot. The fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of fabric waste each year, and roughly 30% of clothing made are never even offered.
With a vibrant passion to make a distinction for our planet– and after recognizing that the soft cotton t-shirt fabric everybody likes would provide itself well to underclothing and wireless bras– Amanda and Katie named business Pantee (an abridged version of “pants made from deadstock tees”) and got to work bringing the idea to life.
@pantee_uk Upcycling never felt so great link in bio to learn more about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion glamorous– milo
Given that at first introducing their Kickstarter in November 2020 (where they raised ₤ 11,000) and Shopify site in February 2021, Pantee has become a successful sustainable start-up– upcycling more than 1,500 kgs of deadstock material in its very first 1.5 years alone. Pantee also plants one tree for every single order positioned (resulting in over 1,500 trees planted!) and is a happy member of 1% For the Planet.
Turning the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ project
Leading up to the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had something on their minds: overconsumption. Currently a problem in the fashion industry during the regular season, Black Friday made sure to encourage customers to make unneeded purchases– much of which would go unused and end up back on racks or, even worse, in garbage dumps.
So, while numerous small companies grappled with whether to run sales and promos, Pantee asked a different concern: how could they develop an effective project while remaining real to their objective?
- The service: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an effort encouraging consumers to reassess their purchases and prevent impulse buying.
- The message: Stop and believe before you purchase. Is it something you like? Is it something you need? If so, go ahead– purchase and enjoy your new purchase. But if you weren’t already going to make that purchase, consider going without.
“Black Friday is the greatest impulse purchasing day of the year, and individuals get easily sucked into sales,” says Katie. “But the mindset should be: Is it really a deal if you weren’t going to spend the money initially? Our project stance was not to motivate impulse purchasing, and we saw a great deal of engagement since of the shared values and common ground it established with our audience.”
“There is a lot overconsumption on Black Friday,” adds Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t always don’t purchase, but if you’re going to, buy something you have actually desired for a really very long time.”
Pantee didn’t stop there. To bring the campaign to life and put their words into action, the merchant shut off their site to all however their engaged customers, who were only able to access the website through a code they sent to their existing newsletter.
The project was a frustrating success, leading to a substantial boost in sales, social engagement and reach, brand awareness and brand-new client acquisition.
- Engagement on social media doubled throughout the project (from 4 to 8%), and natural social impressions reached over 4x the overall followers at the time.
- The project naturally increased web traffic by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 with no supported paid spend.
- Pantee’s newsletter grew by 33% in the week leading up to Black Friday.
- The success of the social project extended far beyond Pantee’s Buy Instagram Verification, with the effort included in top-tier press including The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Daily Mail, and more.
“While we didn’t run a sale or any promotions in 2015, Black Friday was the biggest sales day of the year,” states Katie. “By just deciding and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s worth of web traffic in a matter of hours and had loads of people registering for our email list. We saw a lots of new, newbie customers just because they valued what we were doing.”
“Brand names often think that you can have worths, however they won’t convert to sales,” adds Amanda. “But we think that’s changing– and this project is a fantastic example of that.”
Pantee is now introducing the campaign for the 2nd year and looking forward to even more remarkable outcomes.
4 lessons gained from one non-traditional project
Whether you’re conceptualizing future creative campaigns, building out next quarter’s social marketing method or currently getting going on planning for next year’s holiday, Pantee’s Blackout Friday project holds excellent lessons that every online marketer need to keep top of mind. We asked Amanda and Katie for their top 4 suggestions– here’s what they said.
1. Hone in on your function
“We yap about our values as a brand name,” states Katie. “And time and time again, we have actually seen that if we speak about a concern, our values, or something with substance behind it, our engagement is so much higher. That’s what individuals wish to see: something that gets them thinking.”
Amanda includes: “I think at one point, we lost our way a bit and became more product and sales heavy on our social channels, and we discovered that we weren’t getting the very same reach. Pushing product works through email marketing and other locations of business, however with social, we have actually seen a bigger opportunity to educate our audience and share beneficial details that they can win.”
2. An engaged neighborhood is everything
“There’s a huge distinction in between growing a following and growing a following that likewise has engagement,” discusses Katie.” When it pertains to social, what we’ve found is that people who engaged with us early on have actually ended up being advocates for our brand name. We see a lot worth in community and engaging with our consumers beyond getting the sale. Lots of brand names see social as a platform to get their message out, but for us, it’s a two-way street.”
3. Don’t be afraid to be vibrant
“We found out rather early on with our social that the greatest peaks of engagement occurred when we took a stand for something,” says Katie. “We’ve always been rather mission driven, but we like to have fun with it and not be too preachy. When we have actually launched projects with our sustainability mission at the forefront, the engagement has been through the roofing.”
4. Remember that there’s more to social than what you’re publishing
“Social media isn’t practically what you post, it has to do with how you engage with other accounts and make people feel,” explains Amanda. “Spending time on your social platforms connecting with others, constructing relationships and developing an engaged neighborhood is important. We use our social channels for two-way conversations with both clients and our community– there is a lot you can find out when you talk with them instead of at them.”
If there’s one takeaway that increases above all the others, it’s that social is one of the most effective tools that brands can use to ignite their service, turning onlookers into faithful brand name supporters, awareness into sales, and your objective into positive, tangible modification. Simply ask Pantee.
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