Hand showing dress with no tag(l), Shein app on phone(c), Shein tag(r)

Primakov/Shutterstock @kara_lynn33/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘They will charge $65 for a $5 T-shirt’: Boutique worker says owner forced her to take tags off new Shein clothing before displaying them on racks

‘Most boutiques and even bigger companies do this.’


Alexandra Samuels


A Florida-based boutique store worker claimed that her boss forced her to display Shein clothing on its racks—a roundabout way of passing the fast-fashion company’s merchandise off as their own.

In a recent TikTok, the worker, Karalynn (@kara_lynn33), said that this incident was one of her “final straws.” She also said that the boutique, which she did not mention by name, had been “taking advantage” of her. As of Tuesday afternoon, her clip had amassed more than 7 million views. 

‘Put it on the website’

In the text overlay, Karalynn said the incident began when a Shein package arrived at her workplace. She said she noted that the box had 16 of the same dresses in various sizes. Not knowing what to do, Karalynn said she texted her store’s owner.

“She said, ‘Cut the shein tags off, put our tags on it, take a pic of you wearing it and put it on the website,’” Karalynn wrote.

The worker said she ignored the text “for obvious reasons.” The next day, however, she said she noticed that the Shein tags were removed from the dresses and thrown in the trash.

Indeed, based on the accompanying video caption, it appears as though Karalynn wanted to warn prospective shoppers of this “scam.”

“psa if you go to a boutique in northeast Florida make sure their items aren’t on shein,” she wrote.

@kara_lynn33 psa if you go to a boutique in northeast Florida make sure their items arent on shein Anyways @SHEIN you may want to see this #boutiqueclothing #shein #boutique #scam ♬ original sound – Funny Sound Effects

What’s wrong with Shein clothing?

It’s one thing for a company to pass off another brand’s clothing as their own. But Shein, in particular, has attracted a number of bad headlines over the years for selling clothes containing high levels of chemicals. 

According to Business Insider, a 2021 investigation into Shein found elevated levels of lead, and other chemicals linked to health problems, in samples of children’s, adult’s, and maternity clothes. At the time, Shein said that it “regularly [tests] products and [takes] action when non-compliance is found, including terminating suppliers.”

Other content creators, meanwhile, have raked in views for making videos alleging that wearing other fast-fashion brands, like Fashion Nova, can cause cancer.

People who watched Karalynn’s video, however, mainly took issue with the fact that the worker’s boutique would likely upcharge the retail company’s clothes.

“They will charge $65 for a $5 tshirt and I think that’s insane,” one viewer wrote. 

“I get that everyone has to source things from somewhere but you just KNOW the prices aren’t fair,” another added.

But apparently this is a longtime practice for boutique stores. Other workers said they were aware of mom and pop shops doing the same thing. 

“I saw the owner of a boutique in my town at TJmaxx buying every size of the same shirt once,” one person revealed.

“Boutiques in Utah do it too,” another worker said. “Insane mark up!”

“Most boutiques and even bigger companies do this,” a third viewer wrote. “It’s cheaper for them … that’s why I buy from Shein 90% of the time.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Karalynn via TikTok comment and to Shein by email.

The Daily Dot