Effective today, Bluestockings is embarking on a path that is either gonna make or break us:
We are no longer offering regular sales (we will offer two semi-annual sales a year).
If you were on the Bluestockings email list, you got a heads’ up about the decision last week. For all y’all reading this for the first time, the email highlights some of the major factors that went into the decision:
First, thanks for reading. You've given me permission to drop into your inbox and say hi -- that means a lot, especially in this day and age when we are so careful and selective about who gets our email.
Second: I have an announcement and wanted to give y'all on the email list fair warning. Effective Monday, May 16, 2016, Bluestockings will no longer offer sales (to put it another way, items will no longer go on sale).
In a world where online retail is essentially a race to the bottom, to the lowest possible cost, this decision is pretty much make or break. But it's become clear to me that a few things have to change in order for Bluestockings to truly operate in line with its values. The way we sell is one of them.
In part, this is inspired because more than a few of you have called me out for decrying sales in blog posts while simultaneously offering sales on the site. Paraphrasing, the gist of the comments look like this:
"I want to buy from you, but I know how bad sales are, because of your blog posts, and then I feel really guilty for shopping at Bluestockings only on sale... so I just don't shop with you."
"Jeanna, you write about how bad sales are - like, a lot. And then you have sales. So... do you actually value small businesses making a living, or are you just saying that?"
I hear this, and I want to thank you for your honesty and for your directness. And it's real, right? Either Bluestockings is run in a way that honors our integrity as a business committed to doing business differently, that enables us to move forward, or it sacrifices what is right for what is easy.
And what pays the bills might help us survive in the short term, but it does little to inspire long-term trust.
In sum, all items on sale will revert to full price on Monday, May 16.
Two quick notes:
1. This does not apply to student discounts. We have, and will always, honor our customers who are on a student budget.
2. One of the few benefits of sales is that it makes ethical lingerie more affordable to our lower-income customers. We implemented Affirm's payment method (which allows you to pay by installment) earlier this year and continue to search for other payment options which allow flexibility.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reply to this email directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would be happy to talk more with each of you individually.
Thank you for continuing to choose Bluestockings.
What makes Bluestockings different is that our values govern how we do business - and those values are ones that you want to support.
The minute we sacrifice our values for a quick dollar, we've compromised everything we offer you.
We compromise our mission: to offer ethically made underthings to underserved, ignored communities. To guarantee that when you shop with us, you are supporting the livelihood of people who have been paid for their labor - usually small businesses and independent designers.
To support people who are committed to doing things differently in this world, in order to make it better.
There are limitations to this, of course. We're a business in a capitalist society. Money is a real, and honest, limitation we face as a small business without external backing (funding, investors, family money, etc.). We will never be able to do everything. But we can try to do better, and offer better.
And the minute we start doing business in a way that doesn't allow us to survive, to continue existing, we've lost.
For continued reading on how offering sales negatively impact small businesses, please see the following: