Popular clothing brand Bonds has recalled more than 17,000 items of baby clothing, after a Victorian mother took to social media to reveal she had found a broken sewing needle sewn into the arm of a Bonds Newbies Coverall.
“I’m so angry that something so dangerous was left inside a newborn suit,” Brooks wrote.
“Please check your children’s clothing before putting them on them as you never know what you might find.”
The recall covers 17,332 items, including all Bonds Newbies Longsleeve Coveralls, Pop Woven Dresses and Beginnings Cardigans, sold since December 2013.
The items were sold in Bonds stores and from its online store, as well as in Myer, Big W, Target, Toys R Us, Baby Bunting, David Jones, Your Wardrobe and Trade Secret stores.
In a recall notice published on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) website, the Bonds website and in national newspapers, Bonds urged customers to stop using the products and return them to the company or place of purchase for a refund.
“Child safety and comfort is first and foremost at Bonds,” the company said in an accompanying statement.
“We were made aware this week of a sewing needle found in one of our Newbies Coverall baby suits in a [size] 0000. We were naturally very concerned and have acted quickly to address the issue.”
Bonds said it notified the ACCC of the recall and has asked all retailers to send back the products. The company has also established a customer assistance phone line and email address for concerned customers.
Independent branding expert Michel Hogan doesn’t believe the recall will do any long-term damage to the Bonds brand.
“The issue would have been if they had ignored it,” Hogan told SmartCompany.
Get SmartCompany FREE to your inbox every weekday.
While Hogan says Bonds would have probably preferred not to have been alerted to the safety issue via Facebook, Hogan says the brand’s swift actions to inform the ACCC and then recall the products holds it in good stead.
Hogan describes Bonds’ response to the incident as “very much the gold standard” when it comes to crisis management.
She says it harks back to the Tylenol recall of the 1980s in which the company conducted a widespread product recall, along with other measures, even in the face of contrary advice.
Hogan says it’s appropriate for brands to continuously monitor all communications channels, including social media, to make sure safety concerns can be identified and acted on quickly.
But she says what Bonds does next is just as interesting.
“The next step for Bonds is what it is going to do about its supply chain,” Hogan says.
“There are two pieces to this: the response to the issue and then what you’re going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”