Lululemon Athletica at NorthPark Center finds itself in a tough position after posting a window display that seemingly mocked the Family Place's signature charity, Partners Card. The flip phrase "We do partners yoga, not partners card," angered Lululemon supporters on Facebook.
The company responded by claiming it had an existing partnership to bring yoga to the battered women's shelter. "Although we choose not to participate in Partners Card, we choose to give back in a different way," Lululemon posted on Facebook. "We are working in collaboration with Family Place to offer the gift of yoga, and what we can create together." As it turns out, that wasn't true.
Family Place executive director Paige Flink said the manager of Lululemon's NorthPark store reached out to her after the sign had been posted to arrange a meeting about a potential partnership.
"Yoga for a woman who was beaten is not the first thing on anybody’s mind at the Family Place," Paige Flink said.
Flink said Lululemon has been "very apologetic" about the incident and the manager "expressed real remorse that the sign offended anyone."
"I let her know that funding is the best way they can help the Family Place, but apparently writing checks directly to a non profit is not how they choose to help," Flink said in an email. "Their preferred method of providing support is through yoga classes or wellness lessons. We have not finalized any details on how they will help clients and/or staff of the Family Place."
Flink said she asked Lululemon to take the sign down on Saturday, October 26, but it stayed up until Monday, October 28. Although Flink said she's not sure how yoga fits into the mission of Family Place, she's open to considering it.
"Yoga is so much of apart of their lives that they think everyone would love yoga, but yoga for a woman who was beaten is not the first thing on anybody’s mind at the Family Place," Flink said. She's still holding out hope that Lululemon NorthPark will participate in Partners Card. Flink said Lululemon stores in Costa Mesa and Phoenix participate in "Partners Card-type programs" to support charities in California and Arizona.
"I hope Lululemon NorthPark realizes that this is a big community that they can be a part of and not be separate from," Flink said.
Messages left for Lululemon were not immediately returned, but the NorthPark store posted the following message on its Facebook page.
We are truly sorry for the window display over the weekend. Even though it was not our intention to offend anyone, that is in fact what happened. We have the utmost respect for the important work that The Family Place does in domestic violence prevention and never intended to suggest otherwise.
Supporting you and our community is our most important job, and we are partnering with The Family Place to create a wellness program for their staff. We've learned a great deal from this and thank you all so much for your honest feedback about such an important cause.