BFCM Charity Program - An honest feedback

BFCM Charity Program Report

An honest feedback

As promised when we launched the program during Black Friday 2018, we are now publishing a full report containing our analysis of the program’s success, and of course, the receipts. Let’s be frank, it wasn’t a huge success and sales were significantly inferior to the event last year, but it was to be expected: we’ve told you not to buy what you don’t need, and you didn’t. That’s certainly a moral success, although it did slightly undermine our sales. From a moral perspective, we have received dozens of positive feedbacks and very few negative. We were really happy to see that charity is a concept widely shared among Budoka, and we owe you a huge thanks for your support!

How Much?

We’ve donated a total of 547,626 YEN. That is 273,813 YEN to Amnesty International and 273,813 YEN to Doctors Without Borders. It represents 15% of the 3,650,853 YEN sales we made between Thursday 22nd 5pm and Tuesday 27th 5pm JPT.

Receipts of the donations

Receipts of the donations

A success or a failure?

It was undoubtedly a success if we consider the ethical impact. We got much support for the vast majority of our customers throughout the event, and that was definitely most important for us. We are very grateful for all your nice feedback. Thank you very much for sending it!

Regarding our sales, it is not a great success but it was to be expected since our very motivation for the charity event was to fight consumerism and to make people realize that they do not have to buy what they don’t need. Our strategy had an ethical purpose rather than a commercial one. Consequently, sales during this period were 30% (corrected number) inferior to last year’s. It’s a significant loss, but we’ll recover over time.

Now, there is indeed something that leaves us a little puzzled. The Black Friday not being a real thing in Japan, Seido was the only industry to do something - although not huge discounts - during this period.

We would have expected our sales to be at least slightly superior than usual, but it wasn’t the case. We don’t really know why, but we take note. If you have an idea, if you didn’t buy for a reason that you would like to share with us, please contact us and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Addressing some concerns

In addition to the dozens of positive feedback that were kindly addressed to us, we have received 2 negative comments. It’s not much, but we would like to address the concerns.

Not rewarding our customers isn’t nice.

We already offer two kinds of rewards to our customers: a monthly discount of 10%, and personalized quotes for all orders over 60,000 YEN (6+ tangible products). Black Friday is a concept that does not really exist in Japan and you will notice that none of our Japanese competitors do anything special for the Black Friday. We didn't cut our monthly discount, it was still live, as usual.

Last year, we offered a 10% discount (similar to the one that is currently running) and presents with all orders (the main one being a book, because we value culture over money). Even if we had made as many sales as last year this donation would have cost us about twice what last year event cost us.

It’s easy to do charity when getting huge tax deductions.

First, let's precise that in order to obtain a tax deduction, one must pay enough taxes to begin with. In addition, Japan is one of the countries that offer the smallest tax return on donations.

Consistently with the previous point, you will notice that we never offer more than 10% discount on our website. Because we can't. We believe that more than 10% discount only means that products are overpriced and that huge discounts are only consumer manipulation in order to make more sales. Yes, it's efficient, and yes, we know all those techniques, for having studied the subject, we know them as well as any professional market does. We chose not to apply them because they are immoral from our perspective.

Nonetheless, we offer a 15% charity donation. Why? Simply because we have calculated that we would get about 1/3 of the donations in tax deduction. That number would be 50% if we donated 20%.

The tax deduction we can get on this project only allows us to give more and has absolutely no relevance in the discussion.

In 2011, Seido was a very young company, and at the time, the founder made roughly $500 a month. Of course, the company’s income was not taxable. Nonetheless, when a charity event to support the victims of the Tohoku earthquake started, more than $2000 were donated. From a company that was not taxable and with the owner not making enough to even pay a rent, I hope this is enough to demonstrate that tax deduction has absolutely no impact on our decision to run a charity event.

And now?

Now, doing such a charity event out of nowhere probably surprised many of our customers, and mixing the “Don’t buy what you don’t need” doctrine with “we’re giving to charity” might not have been the best idea.

However, a few days ago we received Mr Osawa from Amnesty International and we spent two hours talking about their work, mostly in Japan. We talked about the importance of raising awareness on some controversial but incredibly important topics, such as how rare-earth elements that are everywhere in our high tech tools (such as our smartphones) are mined, often by children in horeful conditions, for instance as in Congo.

Not only the protection of those children is important, but also the awareness of the population that use devices containing such elements.

We also talked about death penalty in Japan and about how it is used for political rather than ideological reasons, and also about the liberty of speech for Journalists that has been reduced. We also learned that Seido is one of the few dozens companies donating to Amnesty in Japan, and that our donation does make a huge difference here.

The Amnesty team in Japan

The Amnesty team in Japan

We are still very motivated by our charity actions, and we are currently considering a way to make it a regular concept.
We are currently considering a monthly “charity” event, between our monthly discounts, for a day or two every month.
We would stop all discounts and offer a percentage of all our sales to charities.
We are not sure exactly which form it will take, but we are working on it.

Please allow me to conclude by stating that Seido is not designed to be the number one.

It's designed to respond to the expectations of an important part of the Budo community that was not well represented in our industry before Seido was created.
We believe that our support to charities is one of the expectations of a part of the community. Values of equality, support of human rights, etc. are far from being addressed by the Budo Equipment industry, so we hope that our actions will resonate in the heart of those who practice Budo with those values in mind.

Let’s walk the Budo way together for a better world.

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