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#PRFail: Dallas Yoga Store Gives Prestigious Women’s Shelter a Half Moon

lululemon_partners-card_window-displayIn my fare burgh of North Texas, there are many notable non-profit organizations that advocate several important causes. One such organization is The Family Place.

Since 1978, The Family Place has been a resource for victims of domestic violence through shelter, clothing, prevention and life skills. And if you are in Dallas/Fort Worth, you are familiar with this important place and its executive director, the great Paige Flink.

Among those who know its acclaim is highfalutin Yoga store in the posh NorthPark Center, Lululemon. Until recently, only those with a certain proclivity in D/FW was aware of this fru-fru place. Now, because of a slam against The Family Place, even the serfs and house staff know about it.

Noting from the picture, Lululemon created a kitschy phrase, “We do partners yoga, not partners card!” Seems harmless enough until you realize The Family Place’s signature fundraiser for battered women and children is called the same thing. In the words of a famed American philosopher, “DOH!”

Upon seeing the phrase and hearing the news, social media blew up. Lulelemon folk, after departing its local Starbucks for a half-calf-lowfat-whip-whip-latte-no-frap-who-the-hell-cares-its-called-a-coffee-at-7/11, decided they may have done something wrong. Even though its corporate apology was practically apoplectic to the point of whiplash, it didn’t quite do the trick.

First, the apology:

The company responded by claiming it had an existing partnership to bring yoga to the battered women’s shelter. “Although we choose not to participate in Partners Card, we choose to give back in a different way,” Lululemon posted on Facebook. “We are working in collaboration with Family Place to offer the gift of yoga, and what we can create together.”

Nice. Doltish, but nice. And, as it turns out, they lied. Stay classy, Lululemon. It’s bad enough you didn’t do your homework on “Partners Card,” but you flat-out beguiled your public and the rest of North Texas.

And now, Paige Flink’s response:

“I let [Lululemon] know that funding is the best way they can help the Family Place, but apparently writing checks directly to a non profit is not how they choose to help,” Flink said in an email. “Their preferred method of providing support is through yoga classes or wellness lessons. We have not finalized any details on how they will help clients and/or staff of the Family Place.”

To wit, Lululemon traipsed back to social media after getting slapped in its downward dog with this:

We are truly sorry for the window display over the weekend. Even though it was not our intention to offend anyone, that is in fact what happened. We have the utmost respect for the important work that The Family Place does in domestic violence prevention and never intended to suggest otherwise.

Supporting you and our community is our most important job, and we are partnering with The Family Place to create a wellness program for their staff. We’ve learned a great deal from this and thank you all so much for your honest feedback about such an important cause.

MEMO to Lululemon: What Flink did? That is classy. I’d crack open the coffers and screw yoga…write a check and present it to Paige for better PR.

(And now for some non-plugola, if you would like to support a great organization, you can learn more about writing a check to The Family Place here.)

 

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