Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why can't everyone be awesome?

People are so vastly disappointing. I want nothing more than to support every indie designer out there that I can. But I am so saddened by my most recent experience with a label that I thought I could believe in and support wholeheartedly. I never asked for a discount, but, because they offered me one, they count selling one of their items to me as a favour. Last time I checked, I shouldn't be paying a not-small sum of money to receive a favour of the legal sort. And yes, they did tell me that they did not accept returns. However, I assumed this meant that I couldn't change my mind once trying them on if I didn't like the style of the piece on myself as opposed to on the models in the pictures. And that is a totally fine policy for a small label. However, for this label, their no return policy apparently gives them license to sell products that are not as pictured (and aren't properly made), with no fear of losing out on the money I parted with. I've had to resort to putting into action non-characteristic characteristics in order to at least try to get my hard-earned money back (ie. I am not a mean person in the least, and avoid confrontation at all costs). I feel horrible for having to write such unapologetic emails, and even moreso for likely having to escalate the dispute to a Paypal claim. Apparently I will probably not get my money back since I did receive something from the seller. But there needs to be accountability on the part of the seller, and hopefully they'll at least learn something from this. And hopefully none of you will have such a horribly disappointing experience.

So here are a couple words of advice for those wanting to start their own labels or other type of business:

1) The absolute worst thing a business owner can do is to trample all over their customers. Customers are the reason why a business can survive, and you have to treat them with care and respect, especially when your business is just starting out. If it means losing a few dollars at the beginning in order to gain the trust and loyalty of customers, so be it. You need to not only have quality products, but also build a name for yourself. This is most easily done in the form of return customers and/or customers who tell others about your business.

2) Just because you have a product you want to sell does not mean that you should be running your own business. Make sure you've thought out every aspect of running a business, and perhaps look into obtaining a business degree if you're serious about having an efficiently run label. Or look into taking on a partner that handles the business side of things, while you focus on the designing aspects.

3) Never ever ever cut corners. A poorly made piece put up for sale, especially with a high retail price, reflects very poorly on your label, and will never help expand your label. If something isn't made right, make it again. Don't tell your customer to get it fixed themselves at their own cost - this is simply an added slap in the face to the customer. Offer to fix it yourself, or offer a return/exchange.

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