Brands are realizing that Mother’s Day isn’t always a happy occasion

Blurry vintage shadows silhouettes of mother and daughter walking
Brands Parachute and Etsy are letting subscribers opt out of Mother's Day marketing.
Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Liz Cheney fights to hold onto her place in GOP leadership, Jessica Alba IPOs, and brands are realizing Mother’s Day is tough for some. Have a terrific Thursday!

– A Mother’s Day opt-out. Mother’s Day 2021 is nearly upon us, and some brands are recognizing that not everyone wants to be reminded of the occasion.

Parachute, the bedding and bath linens company, sent an email to subscribers in April letting them opt out of marketing about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

The holiday “can be sensitive times for many of us. So if you’d prefer not to receive emails about these holidays, you can opt out of them here,” the email said, offering a link to a webpage. “You’ll still be kept up to date on everything else, and won’t miss a thing.”

Parachute founder and CEO Ariel Kaye told me the brand has heard from customers who find the occasions triggering. “This is a challenging time for anyone who’s lost a mother or father or who has a strained relationship with their parents,” she said, acknowledging that they can be tough days for individuals trying to conceive too.

Parachute didn’t have the technical capability to offer customized opt-out options in prior years, but given the “tremendous loss and grief in general” of this pandemic era, the company “prioritized figuring out a way” to make it happen, she said. (It required changing email service providers.)

Homemade marketplace Etsy sent an email that offered customers a similar opt-out option in March. 

Susan Dobscha, a marketing professor at Bentley University, says the new approach represents “marketers finally realizing they can’t do this one-size-fits-all” strategy. They’ve been “chasing aggregate data, without knowing the context of the data,” she says. And the “relationship between child and mother could not be more contextual and unique.”

Kaye says 2,100 accounts—“a small percentage of subscribers”—opted out of the emails, but “even if it had been one person who opted out, it was worth it.”

You can read the full story here.

Claire Zillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Kristen Bellstrom.


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-Stacey Abrams, on her book While Justice Sleeps

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