Henry Noye Discusses The Laundress’ major recall in ModernRetail
Henry Noye, a partner and member of Obermayer’s Catastrophic Loss Group, was quoted in ModernRetail on December 19, 2022. In the article, titled “After a major recall, large questions loom for the Laundress,” by Melissa Daniels, Henry spoke about the difficulties that brands can face when something goes wrong in their manufacturing process.
While it’s not uncommon for CPG brands to run into product safety issues, it is rare to see a company recall nearly all of its products from the shelves. On November 17, 2022, The Laundress, a high-end, plant-based detergent brand, urged its customers to stop using all its products due to a yet-unnamed bacteria risk. Since then, it issued a voluntary recall of nearly all of its products from the shelves. The company is also facing a proposed class action lawsuit in federal court, and an outpouring of criticism from concerned customers online.
In his interview with ModernRetail, Henry said the first priority for companies facing product safety issues is to be transparent. And that seems to be what The Laundress has done, citing its initial social media posts, emails to consumers, and its work with regulators on the voluntary recall.
“Nobody starts a business to lose money,” said Henry, who is not involved with the case or the affected brands. “If there’s some breakdown in their process that’s going to affect their bottom line, no business is motivated to ignore that, or not be responsive.”
But companies can get into trouble if it is found out that they hid information from customers, added Henry.
“When you get to the point where a recall is needed, this is not the time to worry about egos or reputation. You need to be forward thinking,” he said. “It’s in their best interest to remain accountable, to remain forthright and to remain transparent, because they’re trying to recover the brand.”
It can also be helpful to bring in third-party investigators or firms to help address what went on, Henry said.