Hampstead mum turned away from sale at top fashion company Mulberry for having new baby in a sling
PUBLISHED: 12:11 07 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:53 07 October 2016
A new mother has told how she was turned away at the door of a Mulberry sample sale for having her seven-week-old baby asleep in a sling.
Francesca O’Neill, 30, claims security guards at the Mulberry sample sale in the West End told her she would have to check the sling and a small shoulder bag into the cloakroom before she could come in.
Ms O’Neill, from South Hampstead, said: “I couldn’t believe it. My baby was asleep and the small wallet-sized bag had a dummy case and a small bottle of formula in it for my baby with my phone, money and keys. It was outrageous and shocking and completely in breach of maternity discrimination laws.”
The barrister told how she had travelled to the sale in The Music Rooms, in South Molton Lane, by tube at around 3pm on Wednesday with her son Toby in the Baby Bjorn carrier to buy her husband a bag.
When she arrived and had queued up, she was confronted by a large six-foot tall security guard at the cloakroom as she went to pay the £2 entrance donation.
Ms O’Neill said: “He told me that I had to put the small bag and the baby sling into the cloakroom. I told him there was no way I was going to wake my baby, who was clearly asleep. I explained I just wanted to pick up a bag for my husband and not browse and that a member of staff could accompany me.
“He point blank refused to let me in.”
Eventually a cloakroom assistant called a manager who came out to see Ms O’Neill.
“I explained my situation and that the small bag had essentials in in case Toby woke up. But she also refused to let me in. I was in shock. I explained that this was maternity discrimination but she would not let me in. She didn’t even apologise.”
Ms O’Neill left and later phoned the nearby Bond Street store and asked her to get head office to contact her, but with no luck. She also contacted Mulberry on Twitter and tried to phone their press office.
She said: “I had travelled all the way there to be turned away. It is disgusting and I won’t be buying anything from them again.
“I gave them numerous chances to contact me and resolve it but they just ignored me, so I decided to go public.”
Ms O’Neill then wrote a post about her experience on the Hampstead Mums Facebook group, which generated a huge response from other members expressing their outrage.
We emailed Mulberry and are waiting for the firm’s comment.