Let me tell you a story. It begins eight years ago, when stumbling across social media a woman sees beautiful prints and sweeping fabrics. That woman is me. She falls in love. Further, she discovers that the brand is based in Australia – a land which she has long romanticized and longed to visit. The brand exudes her love of whimsy, bohemian style, and swirls of fabric. The clothes are more than her and her young family can afford, but slowly over the years with savings she builds herself a wardrobe full of lovely pieces. She is loyal and devoted. Over the last two years, she sees the prices inflate. She reads more and more complaints about quality. She reads more and more complaints about terrible customer service (posts that get removed after a day). But like the girl who just doesn’t believe it when her friends tell her they saw her husband kissing another woman, she dismisses it.
“That can’t be true. There had to be mitigating circumstances.” She excuses it away. She willfully looks the other way. Until she finds the pictures on his phone. Or in this case, until the terrible CS happens to her. Until they make a mistake (I choose to believe that instead of a willful lack of disclosure), and she pays they price – literally. That’s when she learns, on her own, the lack of care about loyal customers and complete disregard on retention. That’s when she herself feels gaslighted by the platitudes of ‘inconvenience.’
The thing is that good CS is not that difficult. It’s something that shows where the focus is, and what you’re about. And it matters to me a great deal. As a business owner myself, I’ve insisted on discounts. When I had to cancel a shoot last minute because I was grounded in another country when my flight was cancelled, my client understood completely and told me a discount was not necessary. But I gave it to her anyway – as a way to say thank you for your business and understanding. I’ve thrown in extra images at no cost for repeat customers. Sure, it’s more effort on my part, but it’s a thank you for coming back.
When I ordered a skirt from Purity Lace Designs, took off the tag, tucked it away in my closet because it was the wrong season, and two months later when I finally went to wear it discovered there was damage on the lace, I knew I had no leg to stand on. I had gone past the returns period and took off the tags. I had literally nothing in my favor. I pleaded my case that I hadn’t worn it (citing my insta as proof), and hoped that I could get some – any help – even a swatch of that lace so I could attempt a repair. The lovely team offered me a generous compromise – I ship it back at my expense, they send me a fresh skirt at theirs. They made a loyal fan right there.
Now, I’m a sartorial divorcee. I’ll no longer be purchasing, and while I’ll still enjoy my older pieces and what I have, I’m happily selling a ton through DMs on insta, and on Depop. But what’s funny is that if they had done anything – any gesture, and tiny ‘loss’ on their part – they would’ve kept a customer and gained all that future business. It breaks my heart a little to write this, because as I said, I didn’t want to believe, and I hoped it wasn’t true. C’est la vie.
Plenty of fish in the sea. So send me your favorite brands, this girl needs to date.
And also, I’m happy to sell off my assets, so if you want one of my pieces, check out Depop or hit me up in a DM on insta.