Midweek Musings: Community & the State of Retail

Community Organized Facemask Donation

While I was prepared to optimize my 9-to-6 schedule for productivity, I wasn’t expecting to feel this sense of… timelessness that is starting to settle in after only two weeks of WFH. I often find myself forgetting exactly what day of week it is, especially without regular “outdoor” anchors. So I wanted to take a moment midweek to parse through some feelings and thoughts.

What I am thankful for:

Community organizers

Who have stepped up to lead the charge on homemade PPE donations. Big shoutout to Niamh (organizer of Craneway Craft Fair) for organizing mask making kits and logistics for volunteers, and Field Day Apparel for donating fabric to use. After writing this post, I sewed and dropped off 50 to be donated to Kaiser, and have another bag of 50 to tackle this week.

Positivity and determination

From colleagues present and past. Our company unfortunately had to make the very painful decision to part ways with many good people last week. In talking to colleagues – no, friends – impacted,  I was moved by their strength and their optimism for the company, despite this setback. I’m determined now, more than ever, to push through to the other side and make sure their efforts and hard work doesn’t go to waste. 

I am also thinking about:

Should we be shopping?

There are a ton of sales right now – and as mentioned in this NYTimes article, many of these are a cry for help.* Retailers, like restaurants & bars, have a tough business model that is reliant on healthy, consistent cash flow to survive. On the one hand, I want my favorite brands to make it through the other side of this. On the other, it feels wrong to shop during a pandemic. And, I still want to maintain mindfulness on what I add to my closet. In the meantime, I’ll try to support by at least sharing & promoting these brands.

Which brings me to my…

POV on The Everlane Situation

If you haven’t heard by now, Everlane laid off 200+ part-time retail and customer support (CX) employees. This was significant because their CX team was in the process of trying to unionize – and the organizers were included in the layoff. They have received an endless stream of vitriol on social media and rightfully so. It took Everlane almost 5 days to address the layoffs as they instead aggressively pushed sales. 

While it is terrible, sadly retailers large and small have been downsizing as the pandemic rages on. To be honest, Vice’s coverage has been quite sensational with implying the CX team was targeted and calling this union busting. As it stands, the remaining part-time team members will be converted to full-time with benefits. It is also unclear if the organizers had the critical mass of signatures needed to become official.

The tl;dr is that I agree 100% that Everlane handled this very poorly. Layoffs in this climate are inevitable, but they should be handled with compassion and respect. Both of which seemed to be sorely missing, unfortunately. Unless any new facts come out about the union situation, I’ll be slowing down posts about the brand. I’m leaving my existing reviews up, because I do really like the Everlane products I own. And I certainly won’t judge anyone for taking advantage of their 25% off sale to invest in affordable pieces.

I was planning to review their Transit Backpack, which I had been using for work & gym these past few months. Instead, I encourage folks to check out these Lo & Sons options that are 40% + 15% off – the Edgemont and the Hanover. I have been a loyal Lo & Sons fan since 2011, and sincerely hope that they can make it through this tough period.

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