Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear Made Goods, Your Racist Behavior at High Point Market is insufferable..

My sweet brother and father

ra·cial pro·fil·ing Noun: The practice of substituting skin color for evidence as grounds for suspicion.

This morning my brother and my father visited High Point Furniture Market to shop for additions to my online retail shop, Society Social. Unable to attend due to obligations in NYC, I had emailed them earlier in the week with a list of lines that I would love to support and carry, MADE GOODS being one of them. Their mirrors are unique and I thought would be a beautiful addition to my shop. Upon entering the showroom, my brother is given a mere 10 seconds. It went like this:



Oscar: Hello, what do you do?
Lawrence: My name is Lawrence. I’m with an online retailer, Society Social. We warehouse and ship out of North Carolina.
Oscar: MADE GOODS does not do business with online retailers.

After not even being allowed into the MADE GOODS showroom, my brother immediately calls to tell me the company I had asked him to visit was very short, very rude and that unfortunately I would not be able to shop their line. I was surprised by his account of the short visit so I called their California office to confirm the facts. I spoke to Lauren who verified, despite what Oscar had communicated, that yes in fact, they are open to working with online retailers as long as the company stocks/warehouses the items, which my brother disclosed right away, we could do. My suspicions verified, I told her the entire story and asked her why she might think we were not even permitted to enter. She was as apologetic as could be and asked for the name of the individual who turned us away.

I told Lauren that I would call her right back, "my brother and my father were so promptly dismissed they could not even get a name." Thus I asked Lawrence to return and he was not even able to get a word in edgewise; Oscar immediately turns aggressive.

“Who are you really? You are not an online retailer. I don’t believe you. I don’t like the way you are walking, the way you look, it’s not right. Why are you trying to knock us off?” He then proceeds to grab Lawrence by the arm to try and throw him out of the showroom causing a scene.

Now having recounted the full story, here are my main issues and concerns:
• Oscar saw something in my brother’s appearance that he “did not like,” something that made him suspicious and thus my brother was not even given the chance to enter, much less show business credentials. This is called racial profiling.
• Oscar seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about how to treat human beings. Judging someone by the color of his or her skin is no way to conduct yourself or your business. This is called racism.

Sadly enough, Oscar turns out to be one of the founders of MADE GOODS, which I will now never support. MADE GOODS, I urge you to contemplate a few things:
• In a soft economy and shrinking industry, it’s paramount to network, support each other, and to build strong business relationships. Do you think it’s beneficial to your business to treat peers in this manner especially when the furniture industry, like many, is a tight knit, “everyone knows everyone” community? (Do you think, especially as a new business owner, I’m stupid enough to build that kind of name for myself?)
• Considering the fast-paced nature of social media sharing, proof is in this very blog post, it’s even more important to take control of what you are putting out there for the world to see. Is this how you want to present your brand? Its values? Its ethical standings? Think twice because people will find out and they will find out at the lightning speed of the www no less.
• Being a participator in the furniture industry for almost the entirety of my life and having been knocked off myself just this summer, I’ve learned that unfortunately it is bound to happen. It sucks. Trust me I cried, but it’s the nature of the beast. The key to being on top is to keep innovating, to keep pushing your design, and most importantly to build a brand name so strong that people will look at the copy cats and say, I don’t want the knock off, I want the real thing. Are people going to have any kind of loyalty to MADE GOODS knowing how management treats real people? I guarantee you that your behavior was not a brand strengthening exercise.
• And besides, if we had really visited you just to knock you off, don’t you think we could’ve just visited your website? Your twitter feed? Viewed pictures posted on Instagram? Even more so, your actions were for nothing. Maybe you could’ve considered this before hurting your business anyways. 

And lastly, yes Oscar, Society Social is a real business, with a real storefront, despite what you think the color of my family’s skin or their walk was telling you. Within one year, it has been recognized by House Beautiful, HGTV, Southern Living, Daily Candy, and Real Simple to name a few. I may still be small, but I’m smart enough to know that I did not get here by behaving badly and treating people like trash. Your behavior is disgusting, saddening, and completely unacceptable. You have hurt real people and you have hurt your business.
Chedva said...

Roxy, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened. What Oscar did was wrong on so many levels - I really thought (hoped?) people in the design industry were better than that. Hugs.

Brooke Logan said...

That is insane! Strangely, I was just browsing the Made Goods site this afternoon. Obviously I will not order from them now! xoxo. No worries, Roxy.

L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys said...

Are you freaking kidding me? It saddens me to hear this especially being someone of color myself with plans of someday having my own business in the furniture and home goods market. Let this experience motivate you to continue on with your fabulous business and to search for worthy companies. What if you were allowed to carry those mirrors? That means you would be carrying pieces of a racist company. I'm sure you aren't the only one this has happened to, but if you are, rest assure that with this blog post you will hopefully be the last!

Thanks for sharing. Hugs my dear.

Jeniese said...

So sorry that this happened to your family! It still so sad that so many people in the world operate under many preconceived notions. I am glad you shared us with this so I will not do any form of business with Made Goods.

Sarah said...

This is completely unacceptable. Who do they think they are? I'm so sorry for you and your brother's experience, and sincerely hope that Made Goods doesn't make the mistake of attempting to defend this behavior.

Society Social is an inspiring and wonderful business that I have enjoyed watching grow over the past year or so. It is a true reflection of your family, your talents, and a love of life. I am and always will be happy to support you and your company. Carry on in spite of people like Oscar that claim to represent the character of small businesses. On top of the racist remarks, his defensiveness showcases a complete disregard for the business he's in - that of providing a service and product to aspiring customers. It's completely ridiculous...

I really hope you can enjoy the rest of your time at High Point! With so many vendors around, Made Goods and their mirrors - however beautiful - have completely lost my interest and support... and I imagine that of your hundreds of friends and customers. We love you!

Liz {Sequins And Stripes} said...

Roxy, this story disgusts me! Good for you for sticking up for your family, and making everyone aware of how terrible the people behind the MADE GOODS brand is. Big hugs for you!

Lorri@ReturnToHome said...

This is terrible! Shame on them.

Mary Keller HOME said...

karma will get 'em... :)

chris williams said...

The Te family rocks! What a terrible example to follow by one of the founders of that Made company. First impressions are everything in business as well as life. There are no do-overs. Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you!

Albertina || MimosaLane said...

Wao!!! Roxy, so sorry you and your family had to go through this. This is so terrible, terrible....I almost could not finish reading the post. I will never buy their products especially knowing the person who did this was one of the owners...really? how sad. Chin up....you are too good...and you need to do business with people with ethics....no loss....there are better businesses with whom you can work with for sure who sahre the same values as you!

Nicole Dufour DuRocher - BKLYN contessa said...

Asinine, infuriating, ridiculous, disgusting,bigots ... yeah that about sums up Made Goods! I could not believe that a company in 2012 would behave so horribly. Roxy, we have known each other (virtually) for years, you are a good person with a stellar brand ... which is why they are even more despicable for their response to you. In support of you with me rt-ing your blog post tweets I have received from made goods have insinuated that you "claimed racism because it makes for good tweets + blog post", that it did not occur at all the way you stated, that they do not allow competitive manufacturers into their showroom, and that they couldn't be racists because they are a minority owned company. I pointed out in my tweets back that clearly with 400 twitter followers they are new to social media and rule #1 is that AUTHENTICITY is what makes for good tweets and blog posts. Feel free to read the exchanges, if it weren't so disgusting their stupidity would be almost comical! Buck up buttercup ... us New Yorkers stick together *wink*

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this as one with asian heritage myself. My grandmother went through racial profiling when she moved here from Japan. Tell your brother and father to check out Leathercraft Inc. It is american made furniture at the high point market. Stylish and custom made.

Lindsey Suggs said...

Wow, that is unbelievable and truly disgusting. Good people have to stick together and I would be thrilled to support you, your family and other authentic, real, compassionate and genuine individuals like you. You are fab so keep it up. Screw those stupid mirrors and Oscar the Grouch!

Wes Cameron said...

Poor Oscar has no idea what he's missing out on...you and your family have such a sense of entrepreneurship and fashion. Not to mention tremendous work effort! Definitely something to aspire to for the rest of us! I'd like to think that 2012 would bring less ignorance...
Much love for all of y'all :-)

Sam [The Peak of Tres Chic] said...

OMG!!!!! I am SO PISSED OFF for you and your family. They came and showed their things to the interior design firm I used to work for, but now that I have heard this story I will NEVER buy anything from them. That is just disgusting. I am so sorry, Roxy, for you and your family's experience today.

LiveLaughDecorate said...

Ouch. How silly, stupid, ignorant could he have been? Major disrespect to your family and a MAJOR loss of business on their end. Adding to list of where NOT to shop.

Gaby [The Vault Files] said...

I am shocked by this. I honestly can't believe it. I feel sorry that your family had to go through that, and I feel sorry for that company for having that behavior as they will be treated in life just as they treated you. I think is clear that they won't get anywhere, and unfortunately, they deserve it.

Sierra said...

This is gross...amazing mirrors, but shocking behavior. I'm boycotting too!

Nat said...

Ugh, this story makes me sick to my stomach! That is completely awful behavior and totally unacceptable- how in this day and age do people still act like that! I'm sorry you had to deal with this- I'm not even going to click that link and give this awful company a minute of my time

Tamra {ever swoon} said...

You got my text, and you better believe i'm penning my thoughts to MADE GOODS. I've dealt with this in my life and so has my family. I'm frustrated and sad for the situation SS and your family was put through. I'm sad for MADE GOODS, I'm sad for the hate in their life and ignorance they live with.

What I'm not sad about is how this will NEGATIVELY affect their made goods business. I will make a point to ask all retailers if they work with Made Goods before purchasing any goods. If they do offer made good products, they will not have my business. PERIOD. I will not give business to other's who lack human decency and respect.


I love you, Rox.

Yanira Garza said...

I've never really taken the time to comment but I love your blog and I love your shop. I can relate to your story and it breaks my heart. As a young mother, I hate that my child may in fact witness this and experience it as well (we are Latino). Good for you for pointing out their behavior so publicly. I plan on sharing on my feed. I'm so sorry for what you went through. One thing you didn't mention is if your family is okay? I'm sure they are shaken up and hurt but I hope they are calm and taking it easy. All my best, from my family to yours.

Shoko said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Roxy! How terrible. Major props to you for speaking out!

Dayka said...

This is so disgusting and unfortunately, the behavior is not surprising to me at all. Not because of any personal experience with MADE GOODS, but because of how elitist I've noticed that the design industry can be over the last few years. I *love* that we still depend on racial stereotypes to get by...and the assumption here was that, since your brother was of Asian descent, he was "obviously" there to knock their products off. I wouldn't have even linked to their site after all of that madness...

More importantly, KUDOS TO YOU, Roxy, for having the courage to stand up, speak up, and call them on the carpet about their inappropriate behavior. Too often this stuff is never addressed for fear of becoming personal non grata in certain design circles, but vendors need to know that we're not going to spend good money (and cross promote their products!) to be disrespected. I liked you before, but I love you now....you got balls, girl! :)

Dayka

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Oh man, they are going to regret that decision!

I am SO sorry your brother had to experience that. Or that people ever have to experience that. It's really terrible.

I think the way you conduct yourself and your business will continue to garner you support and fans. As for Made Goods, I'm highly disappointed. Shame on them.

xoxo

Becca - {extra}ordinary wonders said...

Roxy I am SO sorry to hear this! I can't believe that someone would behave that way. I hope that others read this post before thinking about purchasing product from them.

designstiles said...

Oh my goodness, how disappointing. So glad you're not one bit discouraged and had it in you to point their rudeness out. Good for you, standing up for your family and your company. You will continue to go far and they'll one day recognize your small business go BIG. And we'll all be like, HA!

Bromeliad said...

Tacky. Glad you did not tolerate it for one second.

Lindsay said...

Yikes, that is truly abhorrent behavior. As evidenced by all the comments before me, I think you know that we're all rallying around you, your family, and Society Social! xx

Lindsay said...

I'm so sorry that you and your family experienced this. :(

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for writing this post. That takes courage! It sounds like Oscar needs to take a look in one of his mirrors and determine if he looks who is looking back at him. I hope this post generates some buzz about his heinous behavior and that his treatment of your brother comes back to bite him. Stay strong! I have loved watching your business grow and can't wait to see what the future holds for you!

Erika [small shop] said...

OMG I'm so disgusted Roxy. This is just shameful. I don't get these companies, where the hell do they get off? What makes them think they're so special? Beyond the racist aspect, it's the customer service that seems to have gone out the window -- sucks when we work our asses off everyday for the customer/client!

Reminds me of the Wisteria customer service debacle my friend recently encountered when her glass table broke in half. They laughed at her on the phone.

Disgusted. All of it. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

Your Southern Peach said...

Wow, that's disgusting! You and your family handled it with dignity and class which speaks volumes of you and your wonderful business. It's certainly their loss my sweet friend.

Anonymous said...

having worked in retail for years, I always wanted every customer to feel welcome and appreciated. When it is the owner exhibiting this unacceptable behavior, there is no chance for this company. They should not be in business. Thank you for taking a stand. I do not care how amazing a product is, if no love or warmth comes with it, it is unappealing to me.

Tobe | Because It's Awesome said...

Looks like I won't be experiencing their brand firsthand...Ever. Disappointed that you/r family had to endure such disrespectful behavior. Especially disappointed that this kind of thing still happens at all.

Hang in there, #FIRL. ox

Nichole Loiacono said...

Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic. I'm officially boycotting Made Goods permanently. It's sickening, and sad that they feel they have the right to do this. I hope this story spreads like wildfire across the www. Maybe that will teach them (and others) to give the same respect to everyone as is deserved!

Leah said...

they are going to lose a lot of customers over this! so very sorry to hear this happened to your family and can't even imagine how stunned your brother must have been. wishing you the best with your company!

cerebral e said...

Dear Roxy, I am so sorry to hear about this. Sadly, racism is alive and well.

Anonymous said...

I feel really bad about what happened to your brother, but honestly, where is the racial profiling? Why are you assuming that they did not let him in because of his race? Are you implying that they only allowed certain races to shop their showroom? That seems odd.

Chassity (Look Linger Love) said...

Roxy,

I'm so sorry to hear about this. You and your family deserve better. Unfortunately, the world has some people who don't agree!

Lesley Myrick said...

I just went to the MADE GOODS site. They've redirected your link to a "Blog reponse" page - with NO response (http://madegoods.com/blog-response). Just filler text. Interested to see what they have to say...and so sorry to hear what your family went through.

ashley nicole catherine said...

wow, roxy, this is SO uncalled for and so upsetting!! i hope oscar and MADE GOODS takes a good, hard look in the mirror after this!!

drew elizabeth said...

Very upsetting to hear that MADE GOODS treated your family this way! How awful.
I would never support a business that treated someone so poorly. I am sure after your review they will be rethinking a few things & loosing some business...

Anonymous said...

To Anon above, do reread what he said..... disgusting Made Goods!!!

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