Retail Therapy: Sephora's 'starter witch kit' brews up trouble
The product, slated to be sold Oct. 5, drew sharp criticism from the Wicca community about how to sell mystical products without being a witch about it.
It's been another weird week in retail. Sephora got burned for cultural appropriation, Nike customers started burning perfectly good products and Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop brand had to shell out $145,000 for making false claims about its vaginal egg collection.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
The Sephora product that caused a Twitter witch fit
With Halloween just around the corner, it's important to remember a few things: Three Musketeers are underrated, any adults trying to go trick-or-treating as Ron Burgundy this year should probably be accompanied by their kids (that is, after all, who trick-or-treating is aimed at), and witches are real.
How do we know this last part? Because the Wicca community (at least those that overlap with the 'active on Twitter' community) has thrown an absolute fit over Sephora and Pinrose selling a "Starter Witch Kit" — replete with Tarot cards, fragrances, a quartz crystal and sage — which was set to debut in stores starting Oct. 5, according to Glossy.
While launching a witch kit may have seemed to the retailer and brand like a seasonally appropriate way drive traffic and sales in the months leading up to Halloween, it's also apparently a guaranteed method for getting an entire community to hate on your brand over social media and spark claims of cultural appropriation — because the most important diversity issue in retail right now is definitely the appropriation of Wiccan culture and not workplace lawsuits or the ever-increasing number of CEO's charged with sexual misconduct.
Twitter comments ranged from users slamming Sephora for not taking Wicca seriously as a religion to others asserting that Tarot "is not an entry-level skill" and that anyone buying the kits wouldn't be able to achieve the same results as real witches. The outrage even led to a change.org petition and — like magic — all the protests worked.
Witches be crazy, man.
How hard is it for people to grasp. #Wicca is a legitimate religion like Christianity. It's not a joke so I don't get why @Sephora thinks that a "Witches Starter Kit" is remotely okay to sell? Where's the "Christian Starter Kit" or the "Jewish Starter Kit"?— Zadidoll (@zadidoll) September 2, 2018
In light of this disturbing Sephora witch kit fiasco, please comment below if you are someone who sells and/or makes products for use in spellwork, witchcraft, and other occult practices and I’ll give you a promo!! I want people interested in witchcraft to buy from good sources— pink witch ???? (@sapphicstrology) September 1, 2018
Sephora selling “witch kits” actually makes me really upset. Witchcraft isn’t something you just throw around, people put their entire being into this way of life and work so hard at it. I’ve been made fun of way too much for being a witch for it to just become another trend.— ???????????????????? ⚰️ (@kayyloween) September 1, 2018
sorry still on this @Sephora witch kit thing— mermaid queen ????????♀️✨ (@MerQueenJude) September 2, 2018
you don't START with tarot, that is not an entry level skill.
i’m all about trash talking sephora witch kits but don’t act like half of y’all didn’t get into spirituality and any of this stuff if it wasn’t for the capitalistic market for it and the initial aesthetic interest.— super astronomical (@WHITELIGHTCAM) September 1, 2018
the witches making a stink abt the sephora kit on twitter arent actually mad about the appropriation of a thing that has roots in many different cultures anyway but are actually mad that something they like is getting popular and they'll be "like other girls" again— artemis (@maartjeskivvies) September 2, 2018
On the sephora "witch kits" being cancelled pic.twitter.com/HAHacTj9xX— Salad Enthusiast (@lxLittleBirdxl) September 6, 2018
Nike customers get lit over Kaepernick pick
In other news about fans overreacting, Nike's decision to run with Colin Kaepernick for its Just Do It campaign caused not only massive unrest on social media, but also a movement to burn Nike merchandise … that was already paid for … by the customer.
Don't get us wrong, we've got no problem with customers expressing their opinions about retailers — and fire is definitely a dramatic way to do it — but it's a strange kind of logic that compels Nike dissenters to essentially light a stack of cash on fire. Don't like those Nike Air Jordans anymore? Give them away! Sell them to a neighbor! There are so many ways to rid oneself of Nike products that do not include setting fire to a pair of shoes that probably cost a lot of money.
For the record, early data suggests Nike's sales haven't taken a hit, at least not yet. According to research from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products grew 31% from Sunday through Tuesday over the Labor Day weekend when news of the Kaepernick campaign broke, compared to a 17% increase during the same period a year earlier. So much for righteous anger tanking Nike's brand.
Plus, why burn Nike products when there are so many other promising, burn-worthy apparel items? Take, for example, Adidas' Dragon Ball Z collection or this denim waistband that doubles as a belt. Better yet, burn a man candle! Yes, men really do need their own brand of candles — and at $49.95 the "Mandle" is a real steal, and only comes in manly fragrances like "Sweet Musk & Amber" and "Vetiver & Spice." We can almost guarantee that burning Nike clothes just doesn't have the same return on investment — acrid smoke just doesn't smell as good as this bottled up masculinity.
(Overheard, II)— Larry Elder (@larryelder) September 6, 2018
I returned a pair of Nike shoes yesterday for a refund, and the clerk asked me what was wrong with them. I told her they hurt my feet when I stood up for the national anthem.#JustDoIt
If I 'boycotted' all the athletes, musicians, actors & companies who's words or actions I strongly disagreed with, I'd be sitting alone in a dark, silent room, naked & starving.— Eddie McClintock (@EddieMcClintock) September 6, 2018
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to throw on my NIKEs, we're going to Chick-Fil-A!!
hello i will gladly take your Ford trucks full of nikes but will also settle for videos of you attempting to burn down your ford truck thank you— Dijana Kunovac (@dijana_kunovac) September 6, 2018
Goop dishes out $145K for false claims about vaginal eggs
It's never good for a retailer to get called out for giving the public false or misleading information about a product — it's arguably even worse when that product is a jade or rose quartz egg meant to be, to be blunt, inserted into a woman's vagina "to increase sexual energy and pleasure," per the product description.
And yet that's exactly what happened, according to Bloomberg, and Goop was forced to pay $145,000 to settle "unscientific claims" about the products, including that the eggs "could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles and increase bladder control." Mind you, this is coming from a company that has published opinions in the past about why customers should start a "jade egg practice" and continues to insist that it has done nothing wrong.
But while many have poked fun at Goop's various products (including us, last week) — and, more specifically, the validity of their product descriptions — it's worth noting that there are others out there releasing equally obscure products, like this $22,700 clock called the Grant that looks more like one of the spider robots that scans your retinas in Minority Report than a timekeeping device.
Then again, MB&F and L'Epée aren't recommending consumers insert the Grant into their eyeballs. They just want $20,000 for a clock.
Complete with gears & a shield, this magnificent robot-clock by @MBandF and L'Epee, called Grant is a visual feast as much as a timekeeping machine! https://t.co/sYvGNWjMoe #luxury #clock #robot pic.twitter.com/vSMKh6YOsV— LuxuryFacts (@luxuryfacts) September 6, 2018
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