American Apparel Responds to Resignation Letter

We asked The Consumerist’s resident American Apparel lurker, Weronika Cwir (pictured), what she thought of Laurelle’s resignation letter we posted earlier this week. The letter was written prior to Weronika’s matriculation at the AA school of the future of the now, but she did manage to pen a heartfelt and revealing response that paints a softer side of the vestment micro-giant.

Straw spun to gold (but does that make it any less real?) after the jump…

Weronika writes:

    “I didn’t post a comment because the letter is from before I started working at AA, I’ve never met Laurelle, and I don’t comment on things when I don’t know the facts. As for the rest… I too have moments when I feel overworked and I question whether staying here is the right choice. I empathize with L. It’s true that opening stores is very hard work, and that American Apparel store managers have a lot of responsibility. It’s not for everyone. It seems that for L, it boiled down to how much she was or wasn’t making. I think I understand how she felt. Sometimes I think of how much money I was making before, how much I could make now somewhere else, and I question my sanity. But I’ve worked as Dov’s assistant, and I know quite a bit about how money is distributed in the company. She mentions lay-offs of the garment workers… I don’t know if it happened or not, but I know Dov wouldn’t do it unless he absolutely had no money at all to keep paying them. And I am sure he would hire them back as soon as he got some. The letter is from March 2005, and in February 2005 the CFO (by all account an amazing person) suddenly died, and I imagine this resulted in some financial chaos. Dov himself doesn’t take much cash out of the company. He has two pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes, doesn’t do drugs, hardly ever drinks (and then it’s beer), and it’s impossible to get him to go out to a restaurant. He just works all the time. His expenses are basically rent (not much) and groceries (frozen dinners from Trader Joes) and lighting equipment (he’s nuts about light). And though he doesn’t pay us corporate and retail folk much, he does come through when we need him. I know because when I was his assistant I’ve mailed checks to people (once even an employee who had quit) to help them out in various emergencies. And seniority does count. Maybe not in dollars (not yet?) but in the amount of responsibility and trust you are given. So I am still here, in this far-from-cushy job. Yes, I hope that there will be an IPO and that I’ll make money off of it. And if it doesn’t happen, or if it does and suddenly Dov turns into a greedy monster and doesn’t share… Well, it’s still a valuable experience, I am learning tons about business, all aspects of it. I am sure that Laurelle did too, and I hope that she is putting it to good use wherever she ended up. “

Comments

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  1. karl hungus says:

    Wow, way to romanticize the situation! I was a staff member when that letter circulated around the company, as I said when it was first posted:

    It is a perfect example of how things are (were) run at AA. Most people leave because they get fed up with the “by the seat of our tight pants” business plan.

    You say you know all about the distribution of money in the company, but you don’t bother to explain why it was that compensation for time and overtime was nowhere near up to par.

    Its not that I didn’t enjoy my time there but getting any extra money for say, seniority or hard work is like getting blood from a stone. Her letter also only shows the tip of the iceberg of how terribly the upper management treats the retail staff.

  2. How is it that American Apparel manages to extract ungodly amounts of cash out of not only hipsters ($60 for a flipping fleece?), but more and more, mainstream consumers, but can’t pay the store managers even a competitive wage?

    Part of me believes that the mystique that surrounds the American Apparel brand actually works to convince employees that they should work for less money and for longer hours. Talk about brand presence…