• Emma Cartmel

Weekly wrap - 3

15 - 21 August, 2021


I am sure most of us don't mind being made to feel special on our birthdays, and retailers certainly love getting in on the fun too!


I had a birthday last week, and yet again my inbox was inundated with "We heard it's your birthday" emails, offering everything from 15% off to €5 vouchers. Not only did this make me realise that I have some unsubscribing to do, but got me thinking about some of the motivations (mine and the brands) behind these types of rewards, and how to avoid mindlessly clicking "Shop" just because I am a year older.

These types of rewards are common, and we have almost come to expect them. Why? Because they work!


Birthday vouchers and promotions are a cost-effective way for brands to maximise sales as they entice us, the customer, to spend money that we may not normally, and quickly. It's our birthday after all, so why shouldn't we treat ourselves? Plus, the brand has given us a gift, so the right thing to do would be to reciprocate the favour. Right?!


It can be easy to rationalise when you put it like that.


While there is nothing wrong with using these kinds of rewards, we should try reserving them for things we really need, or that we have maybe been waiting and saving up for to avoid mindless consumption. So to help, here are a few things we can keep in mind to avoid (over)consuming just because of the time of year.

  • It's your birthday, so of course emotions are going to come into play. Maybe you are feeling excitement, happiness, or maybe the complete opposite at the thought of getting older. Emotions have a funny way of influencing our decision making. Therefore, it it important to remember that shopping doesn’t always lead to happiness. Instead it often provides little more than a short-term emotional fix (for more on this, check out my article Stepping off the (hedonic) treadmill).

  • With phrases like "Here is a gift from us to you - because you deserve it!", and short expiry dates that play on the idea of scarcity (or 'FOMO’), these rewards have a clever way of subtly giving you permission to make a purchase. Therefore, try and get in the habit of asking yourself some questions before clicking "Checkout". Start with simply asking "Why?" in order to ascertain your motivations, and whether you really need it. It is also worth asking "Would I buy this had I of not received the voucher?". Just taking a few moments to ask a few simple questions may not only save yourself from spending money you might not normally, but will go a long way in helping you make more sustainable choices.

  • Why not consider removing the trigger altogether? Unsubscribe from those brands that you know will encourage you to over-consume, or that may no longer align with your values. If a tempting email does creep into your inbox, delete it straight away!

Take a read

Fashion is destroying the planet but we keep buying clothes. This is how we fix it is a great piece from Sophie Benson featured in The Independent this week.


We are becoming more and more aware of the fact that the fashion industry is having a huge impact on the planet (if you aren't aware, the opening paragraph of this article will surely open your eyes). Despite this, we continue to consume and produce too much.


Sophie manages to cover a lot in this piece as she unpacks whether the fashion industry's efforts are enough, and if it can ever truly be sustainable.


H&M at it again?


According to a Fashion United article, Fashion giant H&M to launch resell platform in Canada next month, H&M is launching its own secondhand platform in Canada next month, which will be called Rewear. Customers will receive payment for their secondhand goods via either direct deposit or receiving an H&M Gift Card.

  • Is this H&M simply trying to cash in on the secondhand market, and make more money?

  • Or just another attempt to appear more sustainable, masking their overall business model of fast and throw-away?

  • Or, should we view this as a positive? Stores like Primark, Zara and H&M probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so isn't any shift in the circular direction better than nothing?

I'll let you make up your own mind!


Take a listen

I have been a listener of the Common Thread podcast for some time now, so I was pretty excited to hear that stylist Alice Cruickshank and ethical fashion writer Ruth MacGilp were back for series three. Their first episode for the season, Is Ethical Fashion Out of Touch?, was great company during my run earlier this week.


It is sometimes easier said than done when it comes to adopting more ethical and sustainable consumption habits. It can certainly be challenging, and inaccessible at times. Alice and Ruth cover some of the common difficulties faced when trying to make those more conscious choices, and how it just may not always be possible and as straightforward for everyone.

Please GET IN TOUCH or leave me a comment. I would love to know what you have been reading, listening or watching this week.


Emma xx

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