I am writing to you in response to your article titled "UnHoly Shoes
" about the Keds Buddhist product. We wanted to let you know that just this past Monday we received an email from Heidi Minx about the products , who was representing the India-based Buddhist Community.
Upon receiving that email on Monday, we informed Zazzle.com of the issue and requested that they immediately remove these shoes from their ecommerce site. I am pleased to report that the Zazzle.com team responded quickly and complied fully with our request -- and a total of about 145 designs were eliminated from the Zazzle.com site on Monday and are no longer available for purchase.
It's important for you and the international Buddhist community to understand that Keds did not design the styles in question nor were the shoes available for sale on any of our company's websites: keds.com or the Keds Collective (also at keds.com).
The PRO-Keds and Keds shoes -- with their blank canvas uppers -- are at the center of a new trend in sneaker customization. The styles in question were designed by other individuals using an independent third-party sneaker customization website called Zazzle.com. Zazzle.com is a separate ecommerce forum that utilizes PRO-Keds and Keds product to offer its sneaker customization capability, allowing individuals to create their own unique designs on sneaker products.
While Keds and PRO-Keds shoes are available on Zazzle.com, the sale and design content of the shoes is directly managed and controlled by Zazzle.com, who is responsible for screening all designs submitted through Zazzle.com for inappropriate content. However, as the product bears our mark, we do take responsibility for ensuring that our brand is represented in a way consistent with our brand values.
In addition to ensuring these shoes have been removed from the Zazzle.com site, we are currently renegotiating our contract with Zazzle.com to incorporate additional measures to preclude any similar type of content from being placed on Keds or PRO-Keds branded shoes. While our partnership with Zazzle.com presents a unique opportunity to build our brand and to reflect individual style and creativity, Zazzle.com and Keds are ever mindful of the potential for some individuals to step beyond the bounds of appropriate creative expression. We are confident that the steps being taken will address this going forward.
We sincerely apologize for any discomfort this situation may have caused to the international Buddhist community. Please help spread the word among the Buddhist community that the Keds brand team acted quickly in this matter -- as did the Zazzle.com team -- and these shoes are no longer for sale at Zazzle.com.
Kristin Kohler Burrows
Kristin Kohler Burrows
President, Keds LLC
191 Spring St.
Lexington, MA 02420