In a “blistering” five-page email obtained by the Washington Post, Birkenstock Americas CEO, David Kahan, excoriated Amazon for attempting to buy Birkenstocks through third-party sellers, after the brand pulled their shoes from the online behemoth’s digital shelves earlier this year.
“I have never in my 25+ years in this industry ever heard of a retailer on such a scale as Amazon, actively soliciting other retailers for a brand’s inventory,” Kahan wrote in the email, adding later that he took “their desperate act as a PERSONAL AFFRONT and as an assault on decency and all we… hold as shared values.”
He went on to say that if any “authorized retailer” sold even “a single pair” to Amazon, they’d close the offending account “FOREVER.” (The all-caps choices were his, for the record, and if you ever wondered what the flames emoji would look like if it was an email, you can read the unabridged version here.)
Birkenstock stopped selling their German-made shoes on Amazon due to concerns over the proliferation of “counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers” on the site, according to the Post. And, apparently, Amazon missed having the crunchy-turned-trendy footwear in its marketplace. “In past weeks, [Amazon] has contacted tens of thousands of U.S. retailers about its Fulfillment by Amazon program,” the Post story notes. “Among the merchants it contacted were shoe stores that sell only Birkenstocks.”
Once Kahan found out about these “back-channel means,” he sent the email, in which he also called Amazon “pathetic” and “a wolf in sheeps clothing.” But hey, in the face of what he’s calling “a middle finger to all brands,” at least he’s raising one back.
(Also, it should be noted, that the outlet who obtained the email, The Washington Post, is owned by the guy who founded and runs Amazon. So shoutout to them for still doing great work regardless of any Bezos-flavored conflicts of interest.)
You can read more about it at The Washington Post.