June 02, 2020

Boredwalk and This Week's Protests

(This is our second post on this topic, please read the first one for context.)

This week we have decided not to create any organic posts on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so attention can be focused on the protests. We have received several comments from people today who also want us to "pause" or "cancel" our Facebook/Instagram ads. I am certain none of those people work in our industry, because comments like that reveal a total lack of understanding of how these ads work.

You cannot really "pause" ads on Facebook or Instagram; ads can be off or on. And if you turn off ads, you can't just turn them back on at the same budget later — you'd have to restart them as if they are new ads. The platform places restrictions on starting budgets, so turning off ads for any length of time would require us to reset our whole ad budget and would limit our ability to spend on ads. It would also reset the algorithm's "learning" which is what it uses to put the ads in front of the right audience so we can run a functioning business. When you launch a new ad on these platforms it doesn't necessarily behave profitably right away; in fact, it could (and probably would) lose a lot of money for several days before it figures out how to run profitably. You have to run ads over time usually to get them to be consistently profitable. If we turned all the ads off today they'd have to go back to square one when we eventually restarted them, thus crippling our business for the foreseeable future.

Resetting all of the ads would cause a drastic drop in our sales that would take more than a day or two to recover from. We, along with our staff, depend on those sales for our livelihood (along with our vendors). We are a small artist-owned business, not a huge rich corporation. We are not in any better position to do without income for days or weeks than you are.

Willfully damaging our company's ability to support us and our team in an already battered economy with high unemployment would be reckless and not productive. It would also put us out of compliance with loans we've accepted, which could carry pretty severe legal penalties. In borrowing funds to get our business through the pandemic we were required to attest to being good stewards of our business. Taking actions to drastically harm income isn't being good stewards of the business.

On the other hand, being able to continue to run ads and make money puts us in a position to have funds to make more donations to organizations that are actually able to be productive and helpful. While I understand that turning everything off might seem like a show of solidarity, it's a PR move that changes nothing and only adds to the economic damage we've already suffered. The real show of solidarity comes with running an ethical business with a commitment to living wages and putting our money where our mouth is and supporting social justice organizations that advance the cause. We were doing those things before the current protests became news, and we will continue to do those things long after it fades from headlines.

Anyone who has a better idea of how to still run a profitable business, pay our employees more, AND be a more socially conscious business should apply to work here. We're hiring this summer. If you have better ideas than us and more substantial experience than us in achieving the goals you think we are failing to achieve, please come show us how to do it better! I'm not being flippant. We are hiring for a general manager later this summer, and if you think you can do the job better than we are doing it please do apply for the position.

We are looking for candidates with substantial experience in the e-commerce space, so having ideas without a proven track record isn't really going to be enough to get hired for this role, but if you have a proven track record of managing profitable e-commerce businesses that deliver good wages and social responsibility we'd love to hear from you.