If you open any entrepreneurship or marketing manual, you'll read that, when you open an (online) business, one of the mandatory things to offer is free returns. Meaning that if the customer isn't happy with your product can exchange it or request a refund within 14/30/60.... days. Well, instead of offering this, inchiostro and paper says:
Think before you buy on our shop. (and any other shop) and if you are not 100% sure you'll fall in love with our product, do not buy it.
What does that mean?
It means that I rather have you not buy anything from inchiostro and paper if you are not 100% sure you'll love it. And it also means that I rather sell less, but sell better. I rather keep building this little international #inchiostrofam that's truly passionate about our products than selling +100% more. This is why you can't buy our products on Amazon for example (even though it would make my life 3000% easier). This is why I keep selecting our retailers among independent bookshops even though I've been offered to be one of the top department stores chains in the US. And I said no.
Luckily, in the past two years since I've started this tiny brand, we've only had one return request (it's a record, I can tell ya).And while most companies are competing to make it easy to send these gifts back through policies such as free return shipping, in-store returns, and instant refunds, I, as always in my life, have decided to go against the current and do not offer any kind of free retun policy.
In a few hours, most of you will be unwrapping unwanted presents and crap given by friends and family. From several researches and studies, it seems that in the US only, "this year, $100 billion worth of product is expected to be returned between Thanksgiving and New Year, up by $6 billion from last year". If you didn't notice, we are talking billions, not millions here. By the 26th, many presents will have already been boxed up, ready to be sent back.
Returning products you don't like comes with an enormous environmental price tag attached. When you send back your too large/too small dress, have you ever thought about the carbon footprint associated you are creating? Several companies in the returns logistics business that works with companies such as Ikea, Amazon say that 15 million metric tons of carbon are emitted because of returned products every year. And this is not all! The most absurd thing is that companies aren’t able to sell most of the returned goods through their website and stores. Only 10% of products returned this holiday season will be restocked on shelves in an effort to sell it to new customers. But the remaining 90% of products will end up in landfills.
It's too expensive for large companies to check the quality of each returned item. Here at the #inchiostrolab, we can obviously do it. Our business is so small still that in that 3/4 cases of damaged and returned goods, I could check and assess the quality of the returned planner. But, multiply that for, I don't know, a million or more returned goods? No business has the capacity to hire enough people to check every single item since it would cost more than simply throw away everything.
What does this mean?
Well, this simply means that every year the equivalent of 5 billion tons of returns end up annually in landfills. So, in a summary: "companies use the earth’s precious resources—water-intensive cotton, oil-based plastic, metals—then emit greenhouse gases to transport them to factories around the world, where they’re turned into products. Then, at the end of that long journey, a significant proportion of those goods will end up in a customer’s house for a few days only to be thrown into a landfill" Optoro, a returns logistics provider, told to Fast Company recently.
So, what can we do?
In the last few years, Christmas has turned from the magical moment of the year to spend quality time with our loved ones to a crazy rush to buy things for our loved ones. This Christmas, I hope we had a little impact on helping you make the right choice, even with our little motto:
changing the world one planner at a time
because it's true that by using our 2020 Weekly Planner, your life will change as well as the one of the people around you. Because you know that the inchiostro and paper's weekly planner is not only a nice and well-organised planner, but also a life-changing journey that lasts a whole year. I hope that when choosing your inchiostro and paper Christmas gift you really thought about it and that you won't regret your choice and that you'll be with us for the entire year. And today, I want to share with you my idea of a better, more sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas.
1. Don't be afraid of asking your family and friends what you really need or want.
In general, in life, everything would be so much easier if we were franker and tell what we think. It's been over 10 years since I clearly state my family and friends what I need (a new jumper, dozens of books, a trip or something for travelling). I rather miss on the surprise than wasting something or having to return it.
And considering that every one of us has far too much stuff, if you really don’t want or need anything, just say so! You can make a collective donation to a not-for-profit organisation like Plastic Oceans or maybe support a small start-up by raising funds for them.
2. If you get something you don't need, like or want, don't just return it.
As an idea, you could organise a Christmas gifts swap party and exchange things. If something is left, take a bag and bring it to a charity that helps people in need.
3. Buy experiences instead of things
For a few years now, I've stopped buying toys for my nephews - they have far too many. Instead, I started buying them ice-skating, cinema, museums tickets. So not only they have something fun to do, but I also get to spend some time with them and make new special memories. You are about to spend a lot of time with your family and friends in the next few days. Why don't you share your sustainable choices and talk about not returning presents? Why don't try to share the idea that buying less is better, buying small is amazing and changing the world is possible.
Make sure to read our other articles on our blog: