Why I am boycotting Ralph Lauren
I have been reflecting this year as it is coming to a close. I like to look over every single arrangement/posey/wedding I have done for the year and see my growth. This year has definitely been FULL of growth for me as a designer, business woman and just overall “woman.”
One of the events I started to reflect upon was one that was referred to me late January. I was so excited, it was a Valentine’s Day pop up shop for one of my favorites… Ralph Lauren.
It was the perfect event for my company. I would provide *900* roses, plus some arrangements, then my team and I would be responsible for making little rose wraps for everyone attending this pop up.
Sounds like an easy gig, right? Boy, was I wrong.
As soon as I started to get the details for the event, I definitely started to get this strange feeling in my stomach. There were specificities like,
“Keep the leafs on the roses (but DO NOT add filler/foliage- we ONLY want roses)”
(And yes, they did spell LEAVES wrong. Very professional.)
“Provide to us 3 different varieties of PINK roses for us to approve.”
“You should wrap every bouquet with luxe white kraft paper.”
None of these requests are necessarily out of the ordinary, a little picky, but as event designers that is just the norm you have to deal with.
But then there was this one,
“Also will you be providing 2 florists or 1? Please provide names and shirt, pants, and shoe size.”
Every florist working the pop up must have a uniform. Ralph Lauren was going to send each person a shirt, pants and shoes to wear.
Again, nothing too crazy, right? Until I ask this question,
“I do have someone arranged to work the booth that is plus sized. Is this going to be an issue?”
And when I say plus-sized, I mean BARELY plus sized. And for someone that is on the curvier side, and I am not trying to hide that on my website, social media or life in general so I would not have thought this was an issue. Oh but wait, here is the response I received…
Them: “Unfortunately I do not think they have plus size for the current attire as they are custom. So sorry about that Is this an issue or are you able to source another florist. I think the largest size they have is 14 in pants. Please let me know. Thanks!”
Me: Is there anyway that you could talk to your clients and maybe make an exception? I don’t mind, and if I need to source out white pants and then maybe just get me the largest top you have?
I completely understand that this is custom but with this being a week’s notice it is going to be extremely difficult to find someone that is willing to work 8 hours doing the quality of work I require and can trust.
Yes, that is correct. They contacted me a week (plus a couple days) notice. And expected me to drop EVERYTHING (including trying to navigate a death in my family at the time.) They wanted me to get a quote, specs, sizes of workers and contract done THAT SAME DAY THEY INQUIRED WITH ME.
Them: “They clothes have to be by Ralph Lauren designer brand. So sorry about this. I will see what I can do. Thank you so much. I’ll update you shortly.” (And yes, another typo.)
At this point, I did not know whether or not to scream, cry or curse. I think a little of all of those. How could a company that creates such beautiful things be so disrespectful, exclusive, and inconsiderate to people that do not even have any affiliation with said company?
I AM AN ARTIST. WHY DOES MY APPEARANCE HAVE TO SHOW MY WORTH OF MY CRAFT? I AM HERE TO PROVIDE A SERVICE, NOT BECOME A BARBIE DOLL FOR ANY LABEL.
Needless to say, I did not get the gig after spending an entire 24 hours in constant communication with them. The girl on the phone called me and said, “We have had just so many *problems* with the florists we contract out so we are going to hire in-house for this pop up.”
I am so sorry that I was considered a “problem” florist.
And guess what? They did not go with someone “in-house.”
They hired a florist I knew. She used the flowers I had already pre-ordered because I… well… did not get to use them. She did a great job I am sure, because she is a great florist. And my beef is not with them hiring a different florist.
MY BEEF IS WITH ANY BRAND “FAT SHAMING” REAL PEOPLE. WE ARE BEAUTIFUL, AND WE MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS.
I will NEVER forget how much this encounter upset me. Do you want to know the worst part? At the end of that phone call, the girl ended the conversation with, “If we are ever back in Houston we would love to try and work with you next time.”
Keep your money, Ralph Lauren.
…also, if anyone would like to purchase any DIRT CHEAP Ralph Lauren shirts, you can find them on my Poshmark account.
Signed, A Problem Florist.
Take a look at me and my problematic work: