Lululemon Offends Again

After months of controversy over Lululemon's declining yoga-wear quality, the company is in the news for a new issue: mocking a shelter's fundraising strategy.

Reflecting what a Dallas website calls an "oddly aggressive stance against Dallas charity," Lululemon posted a sign on a local store window that reads, "We do partners yoga, not partners card." "Partners Card" refers to the work of The Family Place, a Dallas-based not-for-profit organization that provides housing, counseling, and other resources for people in abusive situations.  


The Family Place website describes the Partners Card:

"Partners Card is the signature fundraiser for The Family Place, Dallas' largest domestic violence agency. 100% of your Partners Card purchase goes directly to supporting survivors of family violence."

People who buy a $70 Partners Card through the organization receive a 20% discount at hundreds of local stores-a list that doesn't include Lululemon.

Responding to the criticism, Lululemon posted this message on its Facebook page:

"The intention behind the window decal was to share our love for yoga, not to offend our community. Although we choose not to participate in Partner's Card, we choose to give back in a different way. We are working in collaboration with Family Place to offer the gift of yoga, and what we can create together."

In another post-this one from the corporate headquarters in Canada-the company seemed to be taking action:

Lululemon apology

In response to an inquiry from Dallas Culture Map, The Family Place expressed appreciation to its supporters:

"Every Partners Card we sell at the Family Place provides a night of safety and shelter for victims of family violence. We understand that not every retailer can give the 20% discount, but we are thankful for the hundreds who do and for the thousands of donors who buy a card. We look forward to working out a way Lululemon can join our important mission to end violence in the homes of Dallas County."

 Discussion Starters:

  • What were Lululemon marketers thinking when they put up this display? What do you think the store was expecting, and how was management misguided?
  • How do you assess Lululemon's apology-both the store's post and the corporate headquarter's approach of working with Lululemon?
  • In the headquarter's post, the company says it's creating a wellness program for staff. Is this an appropriate solution? Why or why not?