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Ulta apologizes for ‘very insensitive’ marketing email for Kate Spade perfume

Ulta has apologized to customers for sending what it admits was a ‘very insensitive’ marketing email that unintentionally referenced Kate Spade’s suicide by hanging.

On Sunday, the beauty retailer sent out a sales email to subscribers with the subject like: ‘Come hang with Kate Spade.’

But as shoppers were quick to point out on social media, Kate Spade — the woman who founded the brand baring her name — died by suicide in 2018, with reports at the time stating that she hung herself with a scarf in her New York apartment.

On Twitter, horrified critics called the email ‘disgusting’ and ‘tone-deaf,’ wondering how no one realized the mistake before it was sent.

Now Ulta has responded with a mea culpa, saying they are ‘deeply sorry.’

‘At Ulta Beauty, our teams are human, and this was truly an error with no attempt to do harm,’ they said.

Beauty retailer Ulta sent out a sales email to subscribers with the subject like: ‘Come hang with Kate Spade’ – which earned swift backlash on social media

The phrase choice was awkward given that Kate Spade, the woman who founded the brand baring her name, died by suicide in 2018

The phrase choice was awkward given that Kate Spade, the woman who founded the brand baring her name, died by suicide in 2018

Now Ulta has responded with an apology email, saying they are 'deeply sorry' for the 'very insensitive' word choice, which was not intentional

Now Ulta has responded with an apology email, saying they are ‘deeply sorry’ for the ‘very insensitive’ word choice, which was not intentional

‘In an email we recently sent featuring the kate spade new york brand of fragrances, a very insensitive choice of words was used and for that we are very sorry,’ Ulta’s apology email read.

‘We have the utmost respect for the kate spade brand and the joy it brings to the beauty and fashion industries,’ they went on.

‘We’re keenly aware that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is a very serious and important issue in this country, and not something we would ever take lightly. We are working internally to ensure something like this never happens again.

‘To the Spade family and to our Kate Spade brand partners, we’re deeply sorry — and to our guests, we apologize for this upsetting mistake. Simply put, this is below our standards. Thank you for understanding as we strive to do better.’

The backlash had certainly been swift after the original marketing email was sent this weekend.

‘I cannot believe I got this email today. Is this some kind of sick joke? How insensitive and absolutely tone deaf. Apparently nobody in marketing at Ulta remembers how Kate Spade died. Disgusting,’ wrote one angry subscriber.

The promotional email infuriated some shoppers, who took to Twitter to complain

The promotional email infuriated some shoppers, who took to Twitter to complain

‘Hey @ultabeauty…your E-Mail title is “Come hang with Kate Spade”…a little insensitive, don’t you think?’ tweeted another.

‘I’m guessing they casually forgot how Kate Spade died?’ she wrote a third.

‘why did ulta send out an email with the subject line “come hang with kate spade” WHO LET THEM SEND THAT OMG,’ a fourth chimed in.

‘The @ultabeauty email tonight is the perfect example of how key style guides are. Tone can vary + each brand should have a glossary of terms. There are the things a thoughtful content team works on. I hope they revisit their processes after this severe error,’ another critic lectured.

Yet another called it ‘awful,’ writing: ‘Kate Spade was amazing and an icon. Your lack of attention to detail is sad at best, negligent and hurtful at worst. Do better. #MentalHealthAwareness.’

Some imagined there would be hell to pay.

‘Ulta Beauty corporate probably having a MELTDOWN realizing somebody sent out a promo email with the subject line “Come hang with Kate Spade” … somebody’s losing their job lol,’ one wrote.

Most people acknowledged that it was likely unintentional but insisted that it was no excuse

Most people acknowledged that it was likely unintentional but insisted that it was no excuse

‘Didn’t believe Ulta sent out that Kate Spade email until I just checked my email. Some one is about to be fired,’ said another.

Kate Spade started her eponymous label with her husband, Andy, in the early ’90s. The Spades put their own money into the line, showing Kate’s handbag designs at trade shows until they received orders from the likes of Barneys and Fred Segal.

Though they never gifted the bags to celebrities — as so many brands do for exposure, hoping the stars will be photographed with their bags, shoes, or dresses — they soon found themselves in Vogue and earned fame organically.

By the time Kate and Andy sold Kate Spade New York to Neiman Marcus in 2006, it was iconic and had expanded beyond bags to clothes, other accessories, and home goods.

But Kate’s ongoing battle with depression led to her suicide by hanging in June 2018.

Kate's ongoing battle with depression led to her suicide by hanging in June 2018

Kate’s ongoing battle with depression led to her suicide by hanging in June 2018

She was separated from her ex-husband, Andy, with whom she started Kate Spade

She was separated from her ex-husband, Andy, with whom she started Kate Spade

Shortly after her death, her ex-husband Andy — from whom she was separated — shared a statement with the New York Times.

‘Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives,’ he said.

‘We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly was not hers. There were personal demons she was battling.’

For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day,’ he went on.

‘We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority.’

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