Chieh Huang, the CEO of wholesale retailer Boxed, told ABC News last year that one of his company’s basic goals is simple: “treat our customers right.” One way Boxed has tried to do that is to keep buyers from paying the pink tax, a tax placed feminine care items that are labeled “luxury,” despite many people considering them necessary.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Huang says his company is keeping their promise and will continue to absorb the cost of the pink tax despite a short term sacrifice to their earnings.
“The pink tax is still a very, very key component to us taking a stand on certain issues that we feel very strongly about,” Huang told Daria Albinger on ABC’s “Perspective” podcast:
“What you find is in over 30 states in America, women are charged basically a sales tax on feminine care products like tampons… We have to collect all that tax, but we then rebate it back to our customer on the backend…. And in a lot of those same jurisdictions, you'll find that actually condoms and Rogaine are not taxed because those are seen as a necessity. Well, for the women listening to this or for the men listening to this who have ever had to buy tampons or pads for loved ones, you know they are a necessity.”
Huang told ABC last year that reimbursing the pink tax to its customers is in part a business decision as well as an ethical one because it has been shown to help them retain customers:
“The majority of our customers are women and treating them right can actually be pretty good for the bottom line in the medium-to-long term as well, even if not in the short-term.”
He feels Boxed’s decision actually builds trust between them and their consumers. That, Huang says, has been a key component of his company’s growth during the pandemic:
“I think there is a lot of folks going out there saying, ‘Who can I trust during this period?’ That trust factor has driven folks away from other channels and towards us, putting the company into the headlines with a declaration that we would not charge customers a pink tax. We are a core part of that supply chain of moving feminine products around the country… it is an issue that we can make change in… that's why we're the first national retailer to take a stand on an issue.”
Listen to the rest of this past week’s highlights from Perspective here.