If you're new around here, you may want to glance at our shipping & returns policy before diving into this article. But the part of our return policy I would like to discuss in this blog is our policy to accept returns for gift cards only. We don't do exchanges. We don't do money back. Here's why:
It's a policy very common among slow fashion businesses that I believe was popularized and normalized by Elizabeth Suzann. It's been the policy at Danu Organic since day one and I don't think that will ever change. Most of our customers totally get it, but about twice a year we have somebody asking us to change our policy just for them and give them a cash refund which we do not do.
There are theoretical and logical systematic issues that make this policy the best choice for us at Danu Organic. Theoretically, it encourages would-be purchasers to more deeply consider their purchases before buying, slowing down the rate of shopping, which is essential for sustainability.
Let's also look at the theory of boundaries in business. The USA is the model country for the worst of capitalism, and all of us Americans, myself included, have been fed the "customer is always right" memo since birth. As I've grown up and applied thought to the issues and solutions of capitalism, I've rethought this and I've got to say, I strongly disagree with that mentality. I look at business as a relationship that should be reciprocal between the people in the business (founder/employees/suppliers/etc) and the people outside the business (customers/consumers/clients/etc). Are we in right relationship? Did that feel good for me and you? Because ultimately, one goes to work with self-interest in mind and one purchases with self-interest in mind. Asking to be an exception to the policies we all equally abide by is leaving the territory of right relationship and becoming the energy of the issues of capitalism.
From a logical perspective, our average cost of shipping an order that weights about 1lb both ways with shipping, labor and rent of our shipping space is $30-40. We offer "free shipping" on orders $75+ but the shipping, to us, is of course not free. It's built into the cost of the garment in a very complex way based on weight of the garment. At this point, shipping costs takes away any potential profit we could make until we scale our customer base to a larger size.
At the current size of our business, we can't afford to give cash back for returns. We often don't even have it in the bank account. That money is spent the second it comes in on paying our rent, employees and buying fabrics.
We get that sometimes when you shop for clothes online, they don't fit how you expect, etc. and we don't want you stuck with clothes you won't wear because that's not sustainable so we do allow infinite shipping/return/gift cards. We offer such a wide selection of garments that is always changing, we really only want customers to place a first order with us who actually see and respect the level of care and quality we put into our clothes. They aren't wear once and carelessly return garments. Don't like the pants? Try a t-shirt of bra! Our clothes are so foundational it doesn't seem hard to get something you love and we are here to lovingly help (firstname.lastname@example.org) with even the most numerous fit questions until you have something you love.
Giving gift cards only back for returns is also a way we "artificially" keep our prices low. If we were to start giving cash back, our prices would have to go up significantly because we'd lose the small bits of investment your gift cards hold. Despite that our clothes are totally an investment for most as we aren't accustomed to paying the true cost of fashion as a culture, we work really hard at Danu Organic to keep our prices as low as possible and this is one of hundreds of ways we do that. Occasionally when we're really cash strapped you may remember us doing a gift card pre-sell.
Hopefully this helps you understand and respect not only our policies (aka personal boundaries) but other small businesses policies too. The majority of our audience is basically a cheerleading squad but every once in a while we get people who don't respect our boundaries and it can bring the whole company down for weeks as we collectively figure out how to deal with whatever demands are being made upon us. This is an all too common story I hear talking to other friends who have small businesses and it's a super toxic part of capitalism I hope to see fade away as we enter a new paradigm of collective respect for each other and the earth.
That being said, I do understand you may occasionally have a gift card you don't want and there are some ways you can move it along. My favorite is to sell it on an account like @selltradeslowfashion or other slow fashion resell site. This keeps your shopping choices yours which feels like a necessary step in righting the balance of business.