Even as retailers and brands fight to keep their own businesses alive amid the shutdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak, a significant number of them have made sacrificial efforts to support the fight against life-threatening Covid-19. While many are helping healthcare workers and those on the frontlines, others focus on their local communities by supporting food banks, animal shelters, and many other worthy causes.
The list of retailers and brands who have stepped up during this health crisis is impressive and long. Here we recognize a short list of retail MVPs who jumped into the breach to help in their communities. While this is only a fraction of the full list, it gives a representation of the kinds of good work retailers and brands are engaging in all over the world.
Without further ado, here are 14 Retail MVPs who have stepped up to help their communities during these trying times:
Toronto-based luxury coat brand Canada Goose has committed to manufacturing an initial 10,000 units of medical gear—scrubs and patient gowns—to donate to local medical facilities. CEO Dani Reiss announced that he would forego his salary for at least three months to support Canada Goose workers impacted by store closures, but ineligible for government assistance.
Carhartt, a Michigan-based apparel retailer known for its durable work clothes including jackets, overalls, and dungarees, has manufactured and donated 50,000 gowns for workers on the frontlines, and is beginning to manufacture masks. On their website, Carhartt states this kind of fight is in their heritage, as they produced for the frontlines in both World Wars.
Even though the legacy brand had to furlough many of its employees, leadership has taken a 60% reduction in pay, and commits to continue to provide healthcare benefits and supplement unemployment to equal the employees’ current pay.
Our customer Crocs continues to impress us with their generosity during the Coronavirus crisis. On March 25th, the company announced “A Free Pair for Healthcare” program where healthcare workers were offered a free pair of Crocs shoes. The company also has a “One for You, One for a Hero Program” where customers in the U.K. can give an additional £10 for a purchase of classic clogs and Crocs will donate a pair to a healthcare worker. Crocs are excellent for these workers because they are not only comfortable, but easy to clean and disinfect. The footwear brand has reported donating 450,000 pairs of crocs to healthcare heroes globally.
Eddie Bauer, a Seattle brand admired by outdoor enthusiasts, has done an excellent job supporting healthcare workers by producing medical-grade N95 face masks. The brand plans to donate their initial production run of 20,000 masks to Washington State, where one of the first Covid-19 outbreaks emerged.
Gap Inc., one of retail’s leading specialty retailers, announced on March 25th that they would produce personal protective equipment including masks, protective gowns and goggles. The company has effectively manufactured millions of units and prioritized distribution to meet the greatest need. They have been reaching out to emergency responders to offer their secure warehouses as free storage space for emergency supplies. The Gap Foundation also plans to donate $1 million to non-profit organizations
H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer based in Sweden, committed to producing face masks in March for hospitals in virus hotspots in Spain and Italy. The masks meet N95/FFP2 standards, and so far H&M has reported to have produced and shipped 100,000 units.
With N95s unavailable, cloth masks are essential as backup for medical workers. HanesBrands, a brand well-known for its cotton underwear, is manufacturing millions of FDA-approved cotton masks under contract with the U.S. federal government for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While Hanesbrands has had to furlough workers, they are still providing these employees with health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits.
Jaanu is a brand that specializes in fashionable scrubs and uniforms for both men and women. Consumers can show a healthcare worker or colleague they care with Jaanuu’s Care It Forward program. This program enables you to give the gift of scrubs digitally with messages like, “You’re a hero” and “You’ve got this.” Additionally, Jaanuu is manufacturing masks with antimicrobial scrub fabric. For each mask ordered, Jaanu will donate one to healthcare.
Lacoste, a French brand founded by tennis player René Lacoste, recently announced reaching a 100,000 mask milestone. The retailer has a goal to produce 200,000 face masks with the help of volunteer workers at its historic factory in Troyes, France. Lacoste also committed to paying 100% of fixed salaries for employees for both March and April.
Our customer Lilly Pulitzer has created 27,500 mask covers with their famous colorful prints to donate to healthcare workers and first responders. Employees volunteered their time to create these, and as a result they were able to supply over 60 organizations.
Lucky Brand, an American denim company headquartered in Los Angeles, has turned its focus to protecting its customers. Lucky Brand gives away a free cotton face mask with every order while supplies last. The denim brand has also donated fabric and funds to the Suay Sew Shop, a company that has retooled to produce face masks for healthcare workers.
Ralph Lauren, the American fashion company, has announced an extremely generous response to Covid-19. They are donating $10 million to virus relief through their charitable foundation to support the global Covid-19 response, vulnerable cancer patients, employees in need, and others. They are also producing 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their U.S. manufacturing partners.
The North Face
Premium outdoor brand The North Face has committed to donate $1 million to virus relief and 60,000 gloves to Colorado healthcare professionals and first responders. To show their gratitude, TNF is offering healthcare workers in the United States a 50% discount through the end of 2020! Note: The North Face does sell balaclavas and ski masks, which can be used as face masks for consumers in public.
Our customer, athletic brand Under Armour, is donating $1 million to Feeding America to support hunger relief—especially for children who no longer have access to school lunches. The company has also delivered 20,000 fabric face masks to the John Hopkins Health System. These were constructed by employee volunteers and intended for non-clinical staff and asymptomatic patients. Under Armour is also selling #ThroughThisTogether t-shirts and 100% of the net proceeds will go to DonorsChoose’s “Keep Kids Learning” initiative.
Additionally, the company launched a 30-day “Healthy at Home” fitness challenge on March 23rd to help individuals and families stay healthy and active while at home. In lieu of participation prices, UA committed to donating up to $1 million to Good Sports’ youth sports program. The challenge has ended, but there are still at-home workouts posted on the UA home page.
Retailers and brands across the world are working hard to support the Covid-19 relief effort. All of the donations and response initiatives are propelling the fight against the virus forward.
First Insight Inc. thanks all of our customers and all retail companies for joining together to help their communities locally and globally. Thank you to the healthcare workers, first responders, and employees working in essential businesses for putting your lives on the line every day to make a difference and fight Covid-19.