In the last 72 hours, Black Milk Clothing received a substantial amount of attention, but it is in no way positive spotlight. BM, based in Australia, is known for their nerdy and geeky printed attire featuring powerhouse franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Mass Effect. They sell an assortment of clothing that ranges from swimsuits to dresses and leggings. It sounds pretty spectacular, and I have to admit, I wanted to purchase a few products from them myself. But I never bought anything from BM and I’m pretty glad I haven’t.
Three days ago, one of their social media/PR/Marketing team members posted an Expectation vs Reality picture featuring one of their models and the character Amy from Big Bang Theory. It was titled, “When I try to be a geeky goddess…”
Wasn’t the funniest joke or the worst joke when it comes to poking fun at the female image, but as you can assume, some women weren’t all that happy with the post. Where the deeper controversy occurs is when people voiced their opinion and they were severely punished for it. Granted, some of the comments were negative and trollish, but from what I’ve seen, the majority of the BM community is a rather mature audience and they illustrated that with their replies. BM didn’t stand for well articulated responses, so they did the worst thing a company could ever do to its customers/community. They deleted those responses and banned all those people.
Their official response to the first wave of banning is summed up here:
Needless to say again, that didn’t go very well with quite a few people. Yes, a small percentage of the overall community expressed that the post was not funny, but that small percentage is still comprised of BM customers. To tell your client or customer to “suck it up, deal with it” or to “eff off” is not an effective way of putting out PR fires. Worse yet, BM made a conscious decision to ban people, paying customers, altogether claiming to rid their page of a negative environment.
Someone forgot to remind the BM team that THEY need to suck it up. They posted something, there was a little backlash, but it wasn’t something that ultimately harmed the company. How many times have you talked to a friend, said something without really thinking and your friend responded, “dude… not cool” and you immediately reply is, “yeah, my bad. Anyways, did you know-” and the conversation just picks up after that? No harm truly done, and you remain friends. Companies like BM have to be a little bit more careful with their slip ups because they are a company. They rely on the their products being sold, and they backstabbed the very people that made them the company they are today. Companies should do what they can to make sure that they still have customers. Sure, they may have lost a handful of customers because of a poorly executed joke, but their mismanagement of their Facebook page ensured they lost a lot more than that.
Companies can’t keep everyone happy, that’s just a given. But BM really went out of their way to be the negative environment they claimed to stay away from since this whole thing started. For a more detailed breakdown of the now deleted Facebook post, you can read up on BM’s horrible treatment of their community on this Buzzfeed post and on Jacqui Collins’ blog. Jacqui was a long time supporter of the BM line and because she made several posts that contained well thought out points, non offensive material, and nothing to insult the BM company, they banned her. I read everything she posted. Not one word was disrespectful.
A small note from Jacqui’s blog: I have been buying, wearing, and promoting Black Milk since 2010. Despite being a slender woman of 115lbs, I felt terrible and fat the first time I tried on the Bad Kitty Catsuit I had so excitedly purchased. It was a group of fellow Black Milk fans who brought my confidence back up and made me happy to wear it. That is what Black Milk is supposed to be.
BM’s final statement, before the entire post was deleted, was this.
As stated before, I never bought anything from BM. I did like that they apparently stood for female empowerment, making a woman feel and look sexy in her own skin, but now I am definitely sure that they don’t stand for such a thing. If you are still a fan of BM, then you are a fan of BM. If this brand makes you feel beautiful and makes you see yourself in a positive light, then more power to you. Just remember the type of people you are backing. The loyalty isn’t a two way street with this company. To those who are no longer a fan of BM because you felt hurt, betrayed or angry because of how they treated you, I say this:
There are many venues out there that can empower you. I do understand that many of you saw BM as a source to boost your self esteem, that you gravitated toward this community because you all encouraged each other to throw your insecurities out the window and be sexy and free. You can still have that, so don’t be upset. In fact, be happy that BM made it so easy for you to no longer purchase their items. They straight up said that you should leave. The band aid has been ripped off and now you can move on and love something else. There are tons of communities out there that will treat you right even if you butt heads because of difference of opinion. Go out and find something that makes you love you for you.
Continue to respect yourself, and please be confident in yourself because I know many of you who have made BM purchases in the past, and you are some pretty damn sexy women. And it makes me proud to know so many awesome women. BM can be replaced. That little geek inside of you cannot. So let’s go out and find something to nourish that little nerd in us all.
And because I like to have fun myself.
When I express my concerns to a company I love…