Soon after The Good Place actress shared the news, criticism followed over the plant-based brand — featuring diapers, wipes, washes, lotions and sprays — being exclusively sold at Walmart. The superstore, which is America’s largest private employer, has been the target of widespread criticism, notably over its low wages. Many of Bell’s followers took note.
In response to a video in which Bell and Shepard — here referred to as “Mom” and “Dad” — explain their latest venture, more than one commenter asked, “Why Walmart?”
One of the Instagram users who asked the question went further: “Aren’t they still anti-union and don’t they still treat their workers like s***? Have you seen the Walmart doc? I think this is one of those unintended consequences thing that gets one into the bad place,” referring to Bell’s NBC show about the afterlife. “Actually, Walmart might be the bad place?”
Another commenter called Walmart “one of the worst companies in America,” with a sad emoji. “Would LOVE this if it wasn’t linked to them.”
One person put, “Awww… everything was perfect” about the announcement “until the partnership with Walmart. I can’t blame underpaid families for shopping there because it’s affordable, but also can never ever support that enterprise or the family that owns it. Any company that has thousands of products assembled via child labor (especially companies monopolizing the market) need to be put in serious check. Why choose to sell your awesome baby stuff there?”
That comment drew a response from Bell, before the whole topic appeared to be deleted. The star replied, “I don’t agree with everything either. But I’ll say this: I spent a lot of time educating myself on their practices. They do not in fact use child labor and have VERY strict checks and balances to make sure that stays the case. They were one of the first companies to tell all their product manufacturers to use non-toxic dyes in clothing (which were harming workers who dye the clothing) or they wouldn’t sell em. Their buying team is diverse, and representative of all kinds (which surprised and impressed me). And their economy of scale is the only place we could have sold that would give us the economy of scale to make the product with premium, safe, effective ingredients at a price point that all Americans could afford. We believe people shouldn’t have to break the bank to care for children, that’s why we started [the company].”
There were many other comments posted relating to the Walmart issue, but Bell apparently didn’t respond to those. Plenty of fans also wished them well on their new line.
Bell and Shepard promoted Hello Bello on both The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Today show on Monday — and they spoke with WWD as well. They are partners in the line with former Honest Company’s Sean Kane (the man behind Jessica Alba’s highly successful baby line) and Jay McGraw (TV producer and son of Dr. Phil McGraw) on board as co-chief executive officers. In the WWD article, Bell spoke about their Detroit roots, and called Walmart the “accessibility center,” saying, “It’s a one-stop shop. As a working parent, you don’t have time to seek out the fun boutiques in your area to shop for your children.”
According to WWD, the pair was hands-on in developing the line, and that Shepard wrote most of the marketing materials himself. Shepard said that part of his contribution to the brand is to “encourage dads to be super involved” after seeing that the infant sections of stores are typically “targeted for women.”
The couple, who previously partnered in Samsung ads, will star in videos and social content promoting the brand.
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