Stranded by Sandy?
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Sandy was a natural DISASTER and has caused a state of EMERGENCY. GET ALL THE WAY THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, SUITSUPPLY. I challenge you to shut your temporary doors and used the money you would have to keep them open and go out and help the community and those in need.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t work for Suitsupply anymore.
Noah has sparked an interesting conversation on the roll that retail (the front line of fashion) plays in disaster recovery. How should a retailer react to a local natural disaster? I think, at the end of the day, the best response is to do what you can to return to normalcy without making light of the situation for monetary gain. It’s awesome to offer pro-bono assistance or monetary aid, but not every company has the infrastructure to do that. This isn’t Kenneth Cole making light of the Egyptian revolution and this sure as hell isn’t American Apparel’s “Sandy Sale” that was obviously in poor taste. Let’s look at what is actually happening:
A purveyor of affordable tailored clothes is opening a temporary shop stocked with business essentials and offering expedited alterations.
While a suit isn’t on the mind of everyone that was affected by Sandy for sure, for the lawyer that evacuated on Sunday whose wardrobe is water logged and needs a suit for the trial on Monday (because his firm is trying to return to normalcy) this is helpful. This is a way that Suitsupply can use what it does on a day to day basis to help it’s customer. It’s no corporate Mother Teresa by any stretch, but it’s certainly not exploitive.
Bear in mind that Suitsupply core customer isn’t the 19-25 year old that reads blogs and wants to look good so he wears sport coats and dub monks to his final or business casual work environment. If you work in finance, politics, law, or any number of other professions that generally require business professional attire a suit is an essential. I suppose the wording could have been different, but how is it much different than your favorite cafe saying “We’re still here!” in spite of the disaster. Remember, this is their only store in NY.
It’s also a small step towards returning to normalcy from the employees’ standpoint. Let’s say they take Noah’s challenge, close the doors, and donate estimated sales to The Red Cross. What are they going to do about the loss of pay for their commission based employees? Here’s some math: think about one of your paychecks in a month (if you get paid by monthly), now trim that down by about 30%. That’s the loss in pay you’re looking at for shutting down shop for a week.
Probably not going to change anyone that was “outraged” by “The Situation Room“‘s mind, but just thought I would share some thoughts and see what people think. Unis made no promises of donating a portion of their online sales that are continuing in spite of Sandy. Uniqlo suspended online sales, but it’s not on some “moment of silence” stuff. And neither one of them needs to. I just think its a bit much to demonize a corporation for not responding to a situation the way you would have when they didn’t do anything objectively wrong.
What are you’re thoughts?