The following is an edited version of a letter I emailed to Dior Corporate:
I am reaching out to you to share a series of negative experiences I had with the manager of the Dior boutique in the Miami Design District. Over the course of two years, I spent a lot of money within the boutique and became one of their top clients. My spending increased when I moved to Miami from Philadelphia last August. However, four months ago I made the tough decision to finally stop visiting the boutique. I do not enjoy ratting people out, and for a while, I planned not to say anything. But the more I think about it, Dior is my favorite design house and I hate to see its reputation tarnished, and it makes me sick that I can no longer, in good conscience, shop with the brand. The manager has a very poor reputation among the Miami Design District and Bal Harbour sales associates and clients. Even though I have heard horrible stories about the way he treats his employees and other clients, I can only speak of my own experience.
I will begin by saying that he was always super pushy when I tried on clothes. I never found it appropriate that he hovered outside the dressing rooms while I tried on the latest ready to wear designs. I worked with a female sales associate whom I trusted and had a relationship with, and did not appreciate his input, and practically rehearsed and so obviously fake, compliments. His aggressive behavior was always a source of discomfort and seemed far more appropriate for a used car salesman, rather than a manager of a luxury boutique.
For the record, I have only glowing and positive praise for my former sales associate as well as the entire sales team in the boutique. It pains me to hear, so many months later, through various sources, that they are being mistreated and often forced to tears by the manager. I always sensed I was entering a toxic work environment when I entered the boutique.
Last January, all my wildest dreams came true when I was invited to attend the Dior Haute Couture show in Paris. I was beyond excited to purchase a gown for the show and to finally make my very first, and long-anticipated couture purchase; I have been a ready to wear customer of Dior since the final season of Galliano (I previously shopped from the now-closed Chevy Chase boutique). Unfortunately, and to my distress, my dreams were quickly shattered. Literally, within seconds of accepting the invitation to the show, the manager shoved a cell phone in my face and told me I needed to make a high jewelry purchase. He showed me a list of available pieces and demanded I choose one so that he could arrange for it to be held, and that I needed to pay for it before the trip, without even seeing it in person! In other words, Dior wanted to invite me to the show as a thank you for being a loyal client, but only if I spent a minimum of 70k euros. Allow me to explain, if I had not been pressured, I almost certainly would have made a high jewelry purchase in Paris. If that wasn’t enough, he told me I needed all new outfits for the trip. I was thrilled to purchase a gown and a few key pieces, but suddenly all the Dior pieces I owned, even ones purchased earlier that week, weren’t good enough. By the end of the evening, I felt as if I was handed a huge bill, not the invitation of a lifetime. I cried for days from all the pressure the manager placed on me and ultimately made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and canceled my trip. Let me be clear, I love to shop and spend money on luxury, but I will not be bullied and told how I have to spend my money.
Still, I continued to shop with Dior out of my love for the brand and because of my relationship with my sales associate. I exchanged pleasantries with the manager in the store, but I refused to stay a victim of his fakeness. I even planned to still purchase a piece of couture when the atelier representatives and seamstresses next came to the states for fittings.
When the rooftop Dior Cafe opened I was invited to attend before it was open to the public. I was encouraged to order whatever I liked and then was presented with a bill. I can pay for my own coffee, but when I am given such an invitation, I expect to be treated. The cafe’s clientele became a major nuisance when I shopped in the boutique and on multiple occasions I was yelled at by a hostess for using the store’s elevator or restroom and accused of trying to sneak into the cafe.
There were several other incidents but rather than list them, I will say that the final straw came when I did not receive an invitation to the store’s private sale. This cannot be blamed on my sales associate as she was dealing with personal issues. I believe it is the store manager’s responsibility to ensure his top clients were made aware of the sale. I only ever found out about the sale because another client, who I know for a fact had a far lower spend than me in the boutique, posted her sale scores on Instagram. The manager’s only answer was to deny responsibility and invite me to return to the cafe, presumably so I could purchase another mediocre and overpriced coffee at my own expense.
I have not returned to the boutique since. On the contrary, I have been running around to every other store in Miami spending very large quantities of money that I normally would have spent with Dior. I am more than happy to provide receipts for my purchases with other brands to prove my point. These brands include Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Valentino, Chanel, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
You should know it truly hurts my heart that I can no longer reconcile purchasing Dior as I believe it is still the best design house. I made a couple of subsequent purchases through the website and via Saks until I realized Dior does not deserve another dime from me, and the truth is, after the incident with the couture show, I should have immediately stopped buying Dior. Fortunately, there are many beautiful ready to wear and jewelry brands who appreciate my patronage and respect me as more than a number.