Monday, September 25, 2023

Instead of giving discounts, this company is giving away its sales on Black Friday

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Shreya Christina
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Drinkware company MiiR started a new tradition in 2019 during the chaos of Black Friday. They decided to donate 100 percent of their sales to a non-profit organization. Three years later it has become a tradition.

And this year, they’re aiming for a bigger goal: $100,000 for three organizations — National Young Farmers Coalition, Bean journey and Conservation Foundation.

For three days during the Black Friday weekend (November 25-27), MiiR will donate 100 percent of sales to these three non-profit partners. This means that every dollar spent on that usually busy weekend to buy gifts goes directly to one of three groups, focused on the buyer’s choice.

“We’d rather a customer learn about a cool nonprofit than save 70 percent on a flat-screen TV during Black Friday,” said Bryan Papé, CEO and founder of the Seattle-based brand.

In 2019, the company raised approximately $25,000 for Kula Project, followed by $50,000 for Black Girl Ventures in 2020 and $75,000 in 2021 for charity: water. While last year’s recipient is well known in the philanthropic world, the first two organizations had less publicity, Papé notes. “At Kula Project, for example, which does great work with coffee farmers in Rwanda, it wasn’t just about the money, it was about the awareness they got out of it. And people started cheering by buying coffee from them.”

MiiR started more than ten years ago and now has 100 employees around the world. The first five years were devoted to growing the company, which Papé notes was not profitable. “Because we grew, we don’t necessarily make a profit. And that’s why we’ve committed to always donating based on our sales rather than profit, because that would be deceptive to say we’re giving X percentage of the profit, when we don’t make any.

As of 2022, MiiR has donated more than $3 million to 200 organizations working on social and environmental change in 20 countries. In addition to Black Friday, they give away about 3 percent of their sales to various organizations.

“Usually we like to work at the intersection of people and the environment. So we select organizations that meet those criteria. It’s not wholly social or wholly ecological, but how one affects the other,” he explains.

This year’s recipients clearly illustrate that – two of them focus on agriculture, and the last looks at the preservation of public lands used by citizens here in the United States.

As a company, MiiR doesn’t run too many sales or promotions. Papé states that their pricing, which is more mid-range in the drinkware space, allows them to be more affordable than competing brands without even having to offer numerous discounts.

“We don’t believe in paying too much and then giving discounts all year round. We look at the long-term viability of our business. We don’t believe in discounting our way to success. We’d rather just donate to a non-profit than give a 60 percent discount for no reason,” he says.

This year, MiiR also has a few new items that testify to their quest for more environmentally friendly production. Their Climate+ collection of cups and bottles contains 25 percent less stainless steel, no new plastic and 110 percent of the carbon footprint offset.

And the TruEnamel Collection, Papé says the first of its kind: reminiscent of the old enamel camp mug and similar to what enamel cookware brands such as LeCreuset offer, MiiR has developed a patent-pending process for fusing real fired glass enamel over vacuum-insulated stainless steel, creating a striking, high-gloss glass finish to the barrel. It took years in the making, he explains, because it required manufacturers to get on board and go through multiple iterations until the design could be perfected.

When asked if the influx of companies with reusable cups has affected their business, Papé is not concerned: “We will continue to push the boundaries of generosity and design in the coming years. We are not just copying and pasting.”

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