Lululemon’s Chief Product Officer Sheree Waterson has come forward with a response letter to customers after being lambasted on their facebook page with reports of declining quality (poor construction, fraying seams, dye leaching). The quality issue that lululemon is having is something being widely discussed on their facebook page and throughout the internet by many many bloggers (I Love Feta Cheese, Erin Marie, Lainey Gossip, Lululemon Addict) and on investor blogs in the comments sections (read comments here). This is a public relations nightmare for them. I am really glad that they are at least acknowledging that there is an issue (although the letter is specific to the dye leaching issue) and are stating in the letter that they will graciously be accepting returns on items that do not meet quality standards.
Do I like this letter? I can’t help but feel this is just more public relations handling of the situation instead of an actual apology. They had their backs against the wall over the past several weeks with such public postings of quality issues and so they HAD to issue a statement at this point. They can no longer deny you a return on your flash items turning purple when there are several pictures posted publicly on their wall proving this is wide spread. I don’t see an acknowledgement in this letter of an actual decline in quality. They are saying that ‘some people‘ for ‘some reason‘ are experiencing dye issues and that despite their best efforts stringent quality controls already in place, these rogue items are still slipping past. They aren’t saying ‘we are having an issue with our dyes’. Their commitment is that they are going to ‘continue innovating and pushing boundaries when it comes to design, technology and color‘. I see no commitment in rectifying this situation that is happening now – poor construction, dye leaching, fraying seams and thinner flimsier materials being used. Do I like this letter? It’s an act of saving face, no more and no less.
I will like it when I see that they are taking steps to turn things around. I am hopeful and optimistic that they will because they stand to lose greatly if they don’t. As a fan of the brand I will buy the quality items when they are made but I will scrutinize each and every product for quality workmanship, color fastness and the quality that I associate with items sold at their price point. It’s as simple as that. Make the quality items you used to and I will buy them. Please don’t waist my time on the very frustrating return process in the meantime though. I hold you to your commitment now to making returns easier when there are problems. I look forward to the changes ahead.