Urban Decay Pulls Out Of China

So, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard the latest news in the Urban Decay debacle.

If you’ve not yet read the new statement from UD, here it is in its entirety:

After careful consideration of many issues, we have decided not to start selling Urban Decay products in China. While several factors were important in reaching this decision, ultimately we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles. We know there are many progressive consumers in China who would embrace an opportunity to purchase non-animal tested products – our hope remains that we have the chance to offer Urban Decay products to these consumers someday in the future.

Following our initial announcement, we realized that we needed to step back, carefully review our original plan, and talk to a number of individuals and organizations that were interested in our decision. We regret that we were unable to respond immediately to many of the questions we received, and appreciate the patience our customers have shown as we worked through this difficult issue.

Since our founding in 1996, we have been committed to ending animal testing in the cosmetics industry. As demonstrated by the renewed support we have received from organizations like PETA and the CCIC, this principle remains at our core. Urban Decay does not test its finished products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf, and we require our suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are not tested on animals. Urban Decay is proud to be100% cruelty-free.

If you have additional questions, please email us at info@urbandecay.com.

Well… undeniably it’s a good result, in fact it’s the only result we could have hoped for. But the fact still remains that the only reason they changed their minds is because of the backlash from millions of UD fans worldwide. If it had only been a handful of people kicking up a fuss, you can bet they would have gone right ahead with the entry to the Chinese market.

I’m not sure how I feel about it right now – obviously I’m glad that they’ve changed their minds, but I’m still fuming that they ever thought they could get away with it in the first place. Did they honestly not realise what a shitstorm they would cause?

“Urban Decay is proud to be100% cruelty-free”… Well, no. You stopped caring about being cruelty free when your blatant greed led you to the idea that selling in China would be a good thing. If that was ever your main priority, you simply wouldn’t have even considered it.

I love this bit: “Following our initial announcement, we realized that we needed to step back, carefully review our original plan, and talk to a number of individuals and organizations that were interested in our decision”. It beggars belief – they MUST have been 100% sure that they were going to do it (in fact I think they were already in the process of doing so), I mean it MUST have been definite because they MUST have known that there would be at least SOME backlash. They wouldn’t have released their original statement if they weren’t 100% sure they were going to do it… Do you know what I mean?

I still won’t be advocating the brand on my blog and I doubt I’ll buy their products again, because the whole thing still makes me feel uneasy that a brand whose popularity and success was built not only on their excellent quality products but equally their stance on animal testing, would even consider entering a country so morally backwards in terms of animal welfare as China in the first place. There still doesn’t seem to be any concrete proof one way or the other regarding whether any testing actually happened.

What do you think about the whole thing?

15 thoughts on “Urban Decay Pulls Out Of China

  1. I think all that “we care about animals” is just marketing. I mean, they don’t test on animals and that’s fantastic, but do they really care about them or just do that because they know that doing that they will have lot of fans? It’s a shame they wanted to enter the Chinese market, of course they knew the country tests on animals but UD didn’t care. It’s just about money.
    I think your post is very brave. Thanks for the info! Have a good day! (and sorry for my English… :S)

    1. I *completely* agree. If Urban Decay actually cared about being cruelty free from a moral standpoint rather than just a marketing one, they never EVER would have even considered entering the Chinese market. Thanks – and your English is perfect, better than half the English people I know ;)

  2. I agree 100%. The ‘Urban Decay is proud to be 100% cruelty free’ comment is so false, to them it was all about making money, firstly by breaking into Chinese market, and now the U-turn following what must have been a massive backlash to avoid losing their current market.
    I think it is great that consumers have had the power to make a difference. It does make me feel uneasy about Urban Decay now though.

    1. Absolutely – they must have realised that they would actually make less money in China (because they’re not familiar with the brand) than they would staying where they are. Although, I still expect they’ll be losing money either way because I’m sure I’m not the only one who still isn’t going to buy their products out of principle.

  3. Urban Decay lost a lot of credibility in this ankward manœuvre and I bet they wished they had never opened their mouth in the first place but I’m afraid the damage is done.

    Like all the brands we buy from, UD is in here for the money and they have always been. Thinking otherwise would be completely naive. That said, you can be business oriented AND still have an ideal and raise consciousness. It’s actually a force … as long as you stick to your ideals/standards.

    What I think of all this? Ironically and paradoxally, I would have respected UD far more if they had actually entered China market and fight beak and nails to try to change things for animals instead of rushing back into their comfortable slippers.

    1. You are absolutely right – I actually think I have even *less* respect for them now than when they made the first announcement. It just shows that they don’t know what on earth they’re doing.

  4. I’ve never really been a big UD fan – I like thier products but I’ve never been a collector, I suppose. I wasn’t really surprised at thier inital announcement, but they’ve really make themselves look like bloody idiots. Going into China lost them credibilty, and them pulling out and going against thier own “Change it from the inside!!!” manifesto has made them look stupid as well.

  5. I feel the same as the above comments. They had to be fully committed to selling in China to even announce it in the first place. Everything is about money these days. It’s sad that such large companies don’t use there influence to promote better things.

    Makeup for Biochemists


    1. Definitely, that’s what I was trying to get across but didn’t word it quite so well – that they were obviously fully committed to selling in China else they wouldn’t have announced it.

  6. I’ve never been a fan of urban decay but when I heard about their cruelty free stance I thought I might try them out. I definitely won’t be doing that now which is a shame but I don’t want to give my money to a brand which would be prepared to do compromise itself. It’s really shocking actually and I think it will lose a lot of potential new customers over this. Thanks for making me aware of this issue.

    1. No problem, I’m glad you know all about it now. The sad thing is, potential new customers outside of the online beauty community probably won’t have even heard about the whole thing.

  7. I think the trouble is is that being cruelty free for many big brands IS just for commercial purposes… for me, I’m just happy I can still buy a product safely in the knowledge that I am not hurting or advocating harm to an animal in doing so. I try not to look at the bigger picture where being ‘cruelty-free’ is concerned as the more I do probe into the true ethics the more I find that a lot of it is concerned purely with targeting a particular market of customers – which I find depressing. That’s not to say that there aren’t companies with truly good ethics out there, and I support them all the more so for that reason. But my thoughts on the matter are that as long as they are truly cruelty free, I will continue to buy their products over products which are not. I do agree with you though Leanne, and I feel this was a very well written post xxx

    1. I completely know what you mean – we can probably count the cruelty free brands who actually care about being cruelty free for moral/ethical reasons as opposed to commercial ones on one hand. Like I said in my original post on this issue, I’m not as vigilant about buying exclusively cruelty free products as perhaps I should be but Urban Decay have done nothing but make themselves look like the most stupid company going.

  8. I think you all may be right, but we still have to support companies who for one reason or the other stop animal testing. If we start recommending this companies in social media, their competitors will get it, and will understand that they have to stop animal testing too. If we customers choose and recommend cruelty free brands over the cruel ones, we are going to set a trend and one day animal testing will be just a nightmare from the past. Remember, money is all they care about, so we have to hit them in the pocket.

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