Phyrra: I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years now. In this stretch of time, I’ve had some truly wonderful experiences and some truly awful experiences. There are several companies on my ‘I will not shop from again’ list. After a particularly positive experience with one of those companies, it has made me wonder, when does a stand become a grudge? Where do you draw the line? How long do you boycott a company before giving them another chance? Or do they deserve another chance?
As an example, I had an awful time with Sigma Beauty. However, I had a wonderful experience with them at IMATS LA. I also loved a product of theirs and I want to review it. Should they get another chance since they provided me with good customer service?
What about Lime Crime? The original issues with them seem to be gone, though they’ve had some stumbling blocks like the way they handled the China Doll palette in February 2012. They’ve since come out with some nice products and they seem to have turned the company around. Is it time to give them another chance?
I know some companies I will forever hold a grudge against, such as Orglamix. The owner threatened me with a lawsuit for a negative review. That’s something I just can’t get over. However, I do feel like, after a point, most companies deserve another chance, especially if they’ve changed. While it’s certainly not my duty to support a business whose ethics I don’t like, I also don’t feel like I have to write a company off forever, especially in light of new, positive evidence.
Ultimately, I know that supporting a business that has done shady things in the past or had questionable morals is up to each individual. Everyone will feel differently about it at different times. I think I’m at the point where I’m over holding a grudge against Sigma Beauty and Lime Crime. I’m still not over Orglamix, Facefront or several others. I don’t know that I will ever be over some of those. But in general, I’m tired of holding a grudge. I want to give people a second chance.
If a company has let you down personally, what could that company do, if anything, to win you back or to get another chance with you? For me, it’s taken years to see the changes in Lime Crime and a personal, face to face experience with Sigma Beauty.
Jedi Ana: Phyrra and I discussed this topic and she was kind enough to let me add my thoughts on this subject. I think it’s a very big, interesting, issue which is different for everyone.
It raises a lot of questions: Does the size and reputation of the company make a difference? What bothers you more – conduct from a company which is unprofessional (missing/delayed orders, damaged/poor products, poor customer service) or conduct you think is unethical (animal testing, not meeting safety standards, fraud, repackaging, dishonesty, dodgy ad campaigns)? Which are you more likely to forgive, and why? What could coax you into trying the brand again in either scenario, if anything?
For me, the biggest factor is how much I want the product vs how much/why I don’t want to shop with the company. For example, I have huge problems with Sleek; I have had nothing but bad experiences every time I’ve had to deal with their customer service and think very poorly of their professionalism but I love the products. Even though it’s supporting the company, if I can get my hands on the products without having to directly deal with them (and suffer the awful service) then I will. With some other companies though, I wouldn’t.
I’m more likely to give a company a second chance if someone I trust recommends me to try them again (I never would have fallen in love with my two favourite brands – Fyrinnae and Evil Shades if Phyrra didn’t convince me to try them a second time after a negative first experience; I’m glad she did ’cause now I love them both to bits) or if I have ethical concerns and it seems like the business is showing signs of change.
I will admit though, mostly it’s just about how much I want whatever is being sold.
It’s a big, thorny, thought-provoking issue and we’re both really interested to hear your take on it!
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Also, for me the size of the company makes a difference. Bigger companies feel like the issues are less personal. I’m more likely to hold a personal grudge against a small business since I feel like it’s closely related to the owner, whereas if I had the same problem with a large corporation, I’m so removed from the owner it wouldn’t bother me as much.
Jedi Ana Yeah, when I was upset at Nyx, I was upset at the social media and the way it was handled, but I still liked the products. They’re so big, it’s easy for them to mess up :/
Jedi Ana Same here. If an indie company burns me it’s a much bigger deal, unfortunately. : /
Jedi Ana I feel like this could go both ways. Indie company owners might make a mistake that’s understandable for a single person, but a bigger deal for an entire company.
Ooh, good post!
I’m mostly over the whole 50% sale thing with Sleek but less happy about their change in lip/cheek products (no longer really fit me). So for eyeshadows and things, I’ll still buy from Superdrug, but not from their website. I don’t really engage with their social media efforts either.
The only other company I’ve had a big problem with is MUA, which is annoying as I really liked them back in 2010 or whenever it was they just started. It’s annoying, as I’ve got lots of their products that I’ve already photographed and was planning to post on the blog, but I really don’t want to give them the blog space at this point in time. For me, their customer service was far worse than anything Sleek did back in 2010, and in all honesty they don’t really sell anything that I can’t live without. I suppose I can continue buying from Superdrug if they release anything that really interests me, but I won’t be dealing directly with them again! I don’t know if this is a grudge, I do feel like I have reason to be upset, but at the same time I think they did post a roundabout apology on their Facebook page, so I don’t know. Thought provoking post, nonetheless. And great timing!
lenatallina I missed everything about MUA. I just bought a few things off their site last week for the first time, and have sort of mixed opinions of each thing, but they were cheap. There’s one thing I’m pretty excited about. No issues with the order though, I’m off to google to see what’s what!
For me with Sleek it’s just a history of terrible service and problems any time you have to directly deal with them, not just the sale fiasco, although that caused a lot of problems too. I don’t trust them to give me a hassle-free experience, which is important. But since they’re a big company, I assume the people on the sales/CS/web team who are useless aren’t the people making the products, so I don’t feel bad about buying them other ways.
Jedi Ana In that case, a present for you (hope Phyrra doesn’t consider this link-bombing/self promotion, feel free to delete if it is!) http://thestudentsguidetonailpolish.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/why-mua-are-worst-new-company-of-2012.html
Published that today. I ordered from their 50% off sale and still haven’t recieved (not the only one) and only just got a refund for a contaminated lip balm yesterday. Customer service is non-existant and they had the nerve to tell customers to ‘get off the site’ and implied that the sale was a ‘reward’ and not a failed commercial enterprise. I’m glad you didn’t have issues with the order though. They do have some decent products. I personally don’t like any of their face stuff, and it doesn’t come in my shade anyway.
I think your second paragraph is very well said and I agree with it wholeheartedly. It’s possible to filter out the different members of the team in a big company, compared to a small one. I’ve never really had any indie drama though, so I can’t speak from experience on that front.
lenatallina Jedi Ana Ew. One of my personal big issues is when a company’s CS belittles your complaints. Nothing makes them look like more of a dick than telling customers they are wrong to feel upset about something.
This is sort of half off topic but I think for bloggers, the issue doesn’t entirely exist in a vacuum. I mean in the sense that although you may personally be over their issues readers may not be and can hold it against you that you’re choosing to “go against” what you previously held. This is a particularly contentious issue.
I’m sort of in the same boat as you with Sigma, though that wasn’t because of a negative customer service experience like yours but more of an issue with their business model (which I’ve since thought through and gotten over). Lime Crime, I don’t think I’ll ever really get over. I think even if I wanted to try their products (which I don’t), I think that with the previous drama I’ve had with them, buying and using their products would bring me so much backlash that it wouldn’t be worth it. I know I’m still pretty annoyed with Illamasqua with their Blackface thing, especially since they were such jerks so with them, I’m not sure how I’ll get over that.
Issues with social media lapses and unprofessionalism vs products are pretty difficult to reconcile since the issues at hand stem from very different sources.
At the end of the day though, I suppose that if we don’t believe a company will change, they don’t have much incentive to.
Mai at Portrait of Mai “At the end of the day though, I suppose that if we don’t believe a company will change, they don’t have much incentive to.”
This is exactly what I was thinking. It ties in, for me, with the argument of ‘don’t buy from cruelty-free companies if their parent companies aren’t cruelty-free.’ I buy from cruelty-free companies who have non-CF parent companies because I want to show those companies that there are consumers who prefer cruelty-free. But companies have no incentive to switch to CF if people say ‘I will still never buy from them.’ They need to have incentive to make a chance for the better.
Mai at Portrait of Mai That’s a good point Mai, I think some readers can also feel betrayed if they still hold a boycott of a company and you don’t, or if you have a bad experience with a place they love and you talk about it. I think this is pretty silly and people need to learn how to be okay with other people not liking the same things as them, but it makes it a thornier issue for bloggers for sure.
I really like your last point. I think it’s important to reward anyone who tries to better themselves, and the same applies to companies. If it looks like a company is actually trying, I’m way more likely to give them my business.
Jedi Ana Mai at Portrait of Mai Yeah, the idea of being glitter mobbed is NOT appealing.
Jedi Ana Mai at Portrait of Mai Very well said, I agree entirely!
I’m glad LC is trying to do better, even if they’re still basically operating like a low-rent Sugarpill… if you’re going to steal inspiration, steal from the best, haha? I don’t like how they handled a few things this year:
- Stealing a photo from Etsy for their marketing campaign. As a photographer, as an artist, shit like that is ALWAYS going to rub me the wrong way; full stop. All that so-called artistic talent she has at her fingertips and she still thinks it’s okay to use Google Images as a stock image resource? You’re married TO a photographer! Get him to take pictures of kitschy looking bottles for your ad campaigns.
I’m glad that the person whose photo she stole happened to be a Legal Aid.
- 6 years later and she’s still trying to sell glitter that is unsafe for cosmetic use. LC seems to operate under the philosophy that it’s better to ask for forgiveness, rather than ask for permission. Except rather than ask for forgiveness, she’d rather just deleteFUCKINGeverything.
- Finally, as a vegan, I’m extremely wary of the fact that she can never give a straight answer about whether or not certain ingredients in her shadows are in fact, vegan. Call me nuts, but I don’t like the idea that one day my eyeshadow is vegan, and the next day, oops! It does in fact, have bug bits and animal fat.
TL;DR, to me it still seems like her products are just mediocre and that I’m paying high street prices for an image and fancy packaging. I don’t hold a grudge, I just don’t really… care? I haven’t read up on their drama in over a year, but when LC was mentioned here, I googled them again and found all of that in under 5 minutes. Hoo, boy.
liltea Yikes, yeah, and here I thought I hadn’t heard much drama out of them since last February and the Chinadoll palette.
liltea I feel the same about the last paragraph pretty much. I still feel like I don’t like the owner at all, but there’s nothing they make I particularly want to try, so the product side of product want vs company donotwant isn’t putting up a fight.
I think the issue of trust and safety is really important. For vegans, for anyone with allergies or sensitivites, you’ve got to be able to trust that the products are what they say they are. And like Phyrra’s said about shopping Cruelty Free, I think for some people it’s important to believe the company actually tries to uphold whatever ethics they say they have, too. Like making sure their products (and suppliers, and packaging, and distribution chain) really are cruelty free, eco-friendly, or whatever it says on the jar.
Jedi Ana re: ingredients/labeling this is HUGE for me since my son has anaphylactic food allergies. So if I buy a lotion, shampoo, lip balm for him–if the label isn’t correct, it can be fatal for him.
This is a timely post for me given my issues with Illamasqua. Honestly, given that my issue with them is not even necessarily that Christmas campaign, but how poorly they handled the criticism they got about it, I’m not sure what would convince me to give them another chance. Probably nothing that’s likely to ever happen (like a public apology, and maybe an offer to donate some of the proceeds from that campaign to an anti-racist cause?) – at this point, I’m not holding my breath.
But, as I said in a previous post, it’s not like they’re the only beauty company who’s ever been racist or otherwise offensive in their advertising. Lots of people still buy from OCC (myself included), despite the fact that their owners have said insensitive things about mental illness and the name of the company could be interpreted as trivializing OCD. Tons of companies have used Orientalist themes in their advertising (including MAC and Revlon, just to name a couple). The recent BB cream fad has revealed exactly how little most mainstream companies care about creating products for those with darker skintones. (A friend of mine, who doesn’t wear makeup, amuses herself while in Sephora with me by trying to find a brand that actually carries a variety of shades suitable for women of colour. Thus far she has had little succes.) Where do we draw the line?
femmeinistgrrrl On the topic of foundation for WOC, Has she tried the Shade 12 in the Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation? I was really impressed with the UD foundation line.
It’s good to hear feedback on what Illamasqua can – or cannot – do in that circumstance, too. I was upset by the ad becaues of how it came across to me, and there were so many different ways Illamasqua could handle it. Ultimately they chose not to at all. They didn’t want to admit to doing any wrong. That is why I think many people been upset. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you handle the fallout afterwards that shows who you really are.
femmeinistgrrrl I actually thought of you when I was thinking about this issue. Your concerns are definitely very real, and I think it’s important we note that we don’t owe anyone our business. We can spend our money where we want, and it’s often a very personal subject of where we choose.
Although I didn’t find the campaign racist (but understand why others did) I also thought their response was poor. I understand them not wanting to pull the image, and clarifying their position on it, but I think they alienated a lot of people and marginalised their concerns as incorrect and therefore not worth their attention. If you’ve offended someone, even if you didn’t intend to, responding by saying they’re wrong to be offended is never a good way to go.
I wonder if part of this insensitivity to the issue is a cultural thing. My only reason for thinking this is that, as a UK citizen, I know the campaign didn’t bother me and I don’t know many UK citizens it did bother (but I don’t talk to people so I don’t really know). Since they’re a UK company, I wonder if they didn’t realise how much of a radioactive issue it is in America. I would find that error understandable, although I’d think that they should employ people in their media department who is culturally aware globally so it doesn’t happen.
I doubt they’re ever likely to address the issue again, at least publicly. If you’re interested, the Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston has sent out a couple of letters to customers talking about the brand and openly inviting replies to him, personally, and pledging to reply to them all personally. If you’d like his e-mail address let me know. (I’m not trying to make you forgive them, but if you want the opportunity to give him a piece of your mind it’s there!)
Jedi Ana I’d like his email if you don’t mind! I know the issue itself can seem “old” to some and I’m honestly not sure what I’d say but I can appreciate that they are willing to have some sort of dialogue with customers
Mai at Portrait of Mai I’m a firm believer in that no one gets to tell anyone else how they should feel about things and when, so boo on anyone who thinks people should be over it by now.
The founder’s e-mail address is [email protected]
Jedi Ana femmeinistgrrrl If you’re using the excuse that they’re a UK company and they didn’t understand how it could be viewed as racist you really need to take a second look at the history of racism in the UK. The poster had huge racist context in the UK context. Have you ever heard of the Minstrel show? Golliwogs? Are you kidding me. Being from the UK was no excuse. None at all.
Every company is going to make mistakes but I feel it’s how they *handle* those mistakes that makes me decide whether to shop again or not. If it’s an issue of safety then most likely they will be on my no buy for life as I have severe allergies and need to have products properly labeled and such. If it’s a CS misstep well then, we’re all human and if the company admits the snafu, that goes a long way for me personally. However if a company is making the same mistake over and over again, then it’s just easier not to deal with the dramas.
Hottie Yep it sucks to see companies making the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Hottie Really excellent points! Safety is definitely a huge issue, and probably the hardest thing for a company to recover from. Mistakes happen everywhere – like I mentioned two of my favourite companies both had issues on my first order, and it was only by giving them another chance that I found places I loved. How they handle the mistakes really is crucial, good customer service can make all the difference. I know when I order I want a hassle-free experience, I’m going to avoid somewhere if I think there’s going to be a headache of problems.
Jedi Ana Hottie Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that we’re human and make mistakes. Sometimes a heartfelt “I’m sorry” goes a long way!
Hottie Jedi Ana It really, really does. Actually what won me over with Illamasqua was their customer service. I had a bad first time order, and they were SO INSANELY nice about it when I tentatively e-mailed a complaint, it bowled me over and made me think MUCH more highly of the company. Great customer service can turn a bad first impression into a brilliant one.
Jedi Ana Spongebob said it best, “Don’t be a jerk, it’s Christmas!” I wish people would just be nicer. This goes for everyone and it’s something I also hold myself accountable for as well.
Hottie Jedi Ana “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” If everyone did this, we’d all be much better off.
Phyrra Hottie Jedi Ana Treat people the way THEY want to be treated! Just ’cause I like being handcuffed doesn’t mean everyone else does
Jedi Ana Hottie That works too!
For me it depends on why I decided to boycott the company or if the past drama affects me. Like with Lime Crime, I was not in the know when they went nutso and pissed everyone off but I’ve heard about it now. I wasn’t going to try anything from them but I decided to after seeing several good reviews, seems like maybe they have turned it around. However there are other brands like Ciate who threatened bloggers with lawsuits over the name of manicure that they didn’t even own (not to mention they pretty much hijack all of their ideas from blogs)…they are dead to me. I don’t think there is anything that company could ever do that would make me want to give them a cent of my money.
ThePolishAholic That’s a really good point. I think time is a big decider (especially if it’s past drama and they seem to have improved) but the scope and type of the problems is probably the biggest issue. I wouldn’t shop with a company that regularly bullied bloggers, either.
ThePolishAholic Threatening bloggers with lawsuits is guaranteed to piss me off. Ug.
ThePolishAholic Jen took the words right out of my mouth. I was not around for the great Lime Crime dilemma but I heard all about it after the fact. I haven yet to try anything from them but I feel like they’re turning things around in a positive direction so I’m at least receptive to the idea of purchasing from them in the future. Ciate though… No way. For me it’s definitely how the business handles their issues and their CS that makes or breaks it for me. I had such a horrid experience with Models Own a few years ago that I have not bought anything from them since.
There’s a lot of factors that I ponder before deciding whether to give a company a second chance, but there are always the lines that, once crossed, cannot be forgiven.
cinseven13 This is totally true, and I think those lines are different for everyone.
For me, safety is my #1 priority. If I can’t trust a company, that is a deal-breaker. I am also a stickler on good customer service. I recently ordered from E.L.F. There was a small problem with my order. One phone call and it was resolved. I can live with that.
Corviddreams I agree about safety. I think it’s probably not in the same category as the other concerns, because you have to be able to trust it’s going to be safe for you, but if a company is dishonest or incompetent in another regard, it would make me question whether they were also dishonest or incompetent with safe handling & ingredient lists.
Jedi Ana Corviddreams I think it depends on what area the company is having trouble with. For instance, if a company has a sale and gets totally overwhelmed with orders and there is some poor customer service from that, it is annoying, especially if it happens more than once. However, I would say that is different than a company that outright and purposely misinforms or misleads its customers. If a company will lie about one thing, it will lie about another. KWIM?
Corviddreams Absolutely. It totally depends, and some things are understandable, and a lot of errors are the sorts of trial-by-error things companies don’t figure out until they massively mess it up. Like sales, problems with companies like suppliers/distributors etc. But if I have a problem which is continual errors made by individuals at the company (like they send the wrong product, you complain, they misunderstand your complaint, you finally get the info to return the item, they send you the wrong thing again, etc) then you start to lose faith in their ability to operate. But outright dishonesty is definitely a MASSIVE red-flag that they might be lying about other things.
I’ve had a bad experience from Inglot in 3 cities and now I never really want to go buy something form them even though a lot of their products are good. not necessarily a grudge but they just put me off the brand
Sigma on the othe r hand won me over with their great customer service and promt replies.
bNiiontweet That sucks about Inglot! But I agree, I mean when it gets to the point that you think every order is going to be a headache, who’s going to bother?
This is such a super interesting topic, I’m really glad you both shared your thoughts. I agree with what Phyrra said, it is an intensely personal issue for some people and each will deal with it according to how they feel. Like companies, feelings can change over time and we can forget what our issues were that stopped us from supporting a company. For me, there are a few companies I don’t support for personal reasons… one I’m not that interested in the products to begin with so it’s not that big a deal. Another I had a pretty good experience with personally but afterwards was really, shall we say turned off, by the owner, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t ever bring myself to buy from them again. However I try not to grudge others who do support those companies because again, it’s a personal thing. If someone is happy with a company and their products, I’m not going to rain on their parade. I think everyone should enjoy what they want to enjoy.
I think some people who were maybe on the fence about LC before seem to be becoming more accepting over the last year or so. LC does seem to be trying really hard to improve their company and I think I respect that. I never had any issues with them personally, I only started having personal experiences over the past year, so it was after all the drama. I personally am pleased that they seem to be winning over public opinion because it makes me feel less guilty for enjoying them, lol. I’d like to not feel like I have to apologize each time I mention using their products or, gasp, maybe even be able to post a review on my blog! without fearing mobs of people leaving angry comments and unsubscribing, lol.
I don’t think they are for everyone and as I’ve experienced, their products are hit or miss for me, just like many other companies. But I do love several of their products and there are more I’d like to try. I’m sure some won’t ever forgive them depending on what they had to endure, but LC seems to be doing really well these days so I wish them the best.
I think what Ana said is also true, for some it depends on how badly we want the products. I think I’d be willing to put up with some stuff if I want something badly enough. But for some, there will always be “that company” that you’ll never support no matter how good their stuff is or how popular they are or how much you wish your first experience had been better. Overall though I’m with Phyrra, I’m tired of holding grudges and drama! I just want to play with makeup.
Makeupfancy I want to like this comment harder. I agree with it completely (although my issues with LC are obviously different). I wish that everyone could cope with the idea that other people aren’t going to like the same things you do, and that that’s okay!
I don’t have much to say except I totally agree, and I love your viewpoint on this and how you’ve phrased it. As a retired blogger, I can echo that I am seriously tired of feeling righteously indignant or crusading against a company I don’t like. That said though, there’s still the few that I’m going to avoid forever. But there’s also ones I’ve forgiven, and ones I’d get over if they had a product I wanted badly.
Makeupfancy It is sometimes very hard for people to be ok with the people they like or are friends with liking something/someone that they don’t like. I.e. my husband hates it when he and I disagree on movies, he wants me to like it and see it for the awesome thing he does. But some things just do not appeal to me, so no matter what I won’t like it.
Yes, I just wanna play with makeup and not deal with glitter mobs or drama.
Phyrra Makeupfancy I will admit to sharing my feelings on a certain company with friends who were, up until that point, enthusiastic supporters of said company. It ultimately led to them being totally turned off just like I was, but the issues speak for themselves. A bad company doesn’t need much help to alienate customers. Even if my friends had still kept buying from that company though, I hope I would be able to say “to each her own” and move on.
Makeupfancy I think it’s more than fair to share your experiences / feelings on a company. It’s up to your friends to draw their own conclusions after that.
Makeupfancy There’s a big difference between telling someone honestly about your bad experience (or horror stories) of a company they like (if a company treated my friend like crap, I would be annoyed because I like my friend) and sending bloggers hatemail because they negatively reviewed something you like – which happens, A LOT.
Another issue as a blogger is the difference between a company & their PR which often aren’t the same thing. Do I blame the PR company (for rudeness, lack of reply, bad shipping, not sending items to winners on time) or the company who chose them out of a sea of endless PR options?
I’ve personally had a poor experience with quite a few ULTA stores, but I still shop there. I’ve had issues with Color Club’s PR (big time!) but I still cover them form time to time because I like the product. I still haven’t tried Lime Crime….that whole thing was just such a mess. A true mess. I had a horrible experience ordering from Crown Brush online & then with their customer service. I’ll never order from them online again but I did pick up some items at IMATS LA 2013 because I could see them in person. Will they be my favorite brand. Nope, because they aren’t well-rounded.
StephLouiseATB This is a great point, and something which – hopefully for most companies – can be fixed with time. I recently had an issue with a totally unrelated company (Internet service provider) and although they insisted the 5 week delay wasn’t their fault, but a problem with their supplier… well, they were the merchant. I paid them my money, I signed the contract with them, they agreed to provide this service by this time. They chose that supplier. They didn’t have a contingency in place for the supplier fucking it up. Ultimately, the onus is on them. But this is something a company usually can’t fix instantly, and HOPEFULLY if it effects enough customers poorly, they will wise up, shop around and go with someone else in the future.
Jedi Ana StephLouiseATB I always hold a company responsible for shipping issues. I didn’t shop at Sephora for years because they were “unable to ship to military bases” regardless of where we are. I’m in freaking Nebraska, not Rome. I wrote about it, they asked me to remove it, I declined but said I was update it when it was adjusted. Years later, I did. Shipping is an OPTION not something you can’t control. This goes for all brands but it seems like those on Amazon complain the most. You give me an arrival date, I want it here by then. Simple.
StephLouiseATB Jedi Ana It has never made sense to me when people would complain about shipping to military bases. No matter WHERE they are, they are part of the USA.
Phyrra StephLouiseATB Jedi Ana Right? I mean…I’m in NEBRASKA. It doesn’t cost you a cent more either.
StephLouiseATB Absolutely. Honestly, while I will be more understanding if it’s an outside issue, the merchant is still responsible for pretty much all areas. Like Phyrra, I don’t understand why military bases are an issue, unless you’re ordering explosives.
StephLouiseATB Jedi Ana I feel the same with large companies not providing shipping options to Canada. It’s kind of ridiculous that Urban Decay expects Canadians to use a mail forwarding service that can cost upwards of $30-40 dollars to ship a $20 product. Tarte and Too Faced don’t even offer Canadian shipping options, and many other brands are the same. It’s not too bad for me since I have two Sephora’s within a 20 minute drive, but I can never take advantage of the awesome sales! You’d think that big companies could provide reasonable shipping when small indie companies are able to ship to Canada for less than $10.
Robotobun StephLouiseATB It is completely insane. I complain a lot, being the UK, and especially high-priced flat rate shipping is awful for us because of exorbitant customs fees, but CANADA IS LIKE RIGHT THERE. You can drive to it, you don’t even need a plane. Seriously what is their problem?
StephLouiseATB I agree with your comment on ULTA. The customer service reps in my store are horrible. One person even took me off the mailing list manually in store b/c I disagreed with her over the quality of a brand. Their HQ customer service, however has always been very responsive.
Great topic! I think the big deal breaker for me with companies is how they conduct/present themselves either through customer service or other social media outlets. Julep is a brand I’m uncomfortable doing business with. They had a lot of issues when they started up their subscription nail polish box with double charging, charging after cancellation, and just pure inadequate customer service to their customers. This was followed up by them using bloggers images on their Facebook page without permission. I also always got a pompous vibe from them. I think all or at least most of these issues have been remedied, but for me the damage is done. The drama surrounding Lynnderella polishes, her brother selling them on ebay for exorbitant prices, and the owner’s attitude on her blog were enough to keep me away for life. Llarowe on the other hand, is not a brand, but is a nail polish etailer. She had issues with drama on her Facebook page and engaging in the drama herself which I found unprofessional. However, in recent months that has gone away, and I feel completely comfortable and confident purchasing from her now.
Behavior and attitude are huge factors for me. There are somethings I can forgive and there are things I really can’t look past. Products not being great from a brand are less of a factor for me. I’d be willing to try stuff again in that case. If the products are really bad, I may never use the brand again, but it doesn’t affect me the way a brand’s behavior towards its customers does!
Steph ImperfectPaint Re your last paragraph, I agree. Bad products or slow CS are things I can deal with but behavior and attitude are deal-breakers for me personally.
Makeupfancy Steph ImperfectPaint Yeah, I’m with you, too. Also, if I like a company’s customer service & general attitude, I’m probably going to keep shopping with them even if the products are hit-and-miss for me.
There are companies I try not to buy from not even because I’ve had a poor experience but because people I know have had a poor experience, and I don’t want to support a company that does those things (ELF, Lime Crime, for example). On the other hand, sometimes companies can really turn it around. I ordered a cleansing oil from shu uemura in December, and it took about ten days to ship, and another eight days to reach me once it *did* ship. I was really unhappy about it, and thinking I didn’t want to order from them again. But I contacted them through their Facebook page and they got back to me right away to ask for details, and a day later (not even) I got an email from a CS person apologizing, explaining what happened, and giving me a 20% credit on the order. Totally changed my opinion and now I’ll be happy to order from them again.
blueraccoon I love this example ’cause it really backs up the idea that how a company responds to problems is so important. Mistakes are going to happen but responding well can not only fix it, but win some customer loyalty, too. I’m glad they dealt with it so well.
Jedi Ana blueraccoon It reinforces that customer service is important, and companies that skimp on it will lose business.
Jedi Ana blueraccoon And I think in some ways that’s more important–how do they fix it? Also, it’s fair to keep in mind that sometimes companies don’t *know* there’s a problem if you don’t tell them. I could have gone on my way being grumpy about shu uemura, but I realized that if I didn’t *tell* them I’d had a problem, they’d never know.
Different example – I ordered a luminizer from beauty.com, and the wrong product arrived. I called them and they looked up the issue and confirmed they had a warehouse problem–the wrong product was in the slot, so they couldn’t guarantee me the right product would arrive if they sent it out again. But they *did* give me $10 in website credit and a 20% refund on the order, and a prepaid shipping label to send the wrong product back. So while I was still grumpy about not being able to get hte product I wanted (I ended up going to Sephora for it) at least I got something out of the hassle.
blueraccoon I had the same experience with Fyrinnae my first time. I was new to makeup generally, didn’t understand about the TAT, and one of my jars opened during shipping. I went away sour and unhappy and deciding to Never Shop There Again. Phyrra talked me into giving them another chance, and now I adore them. I also believe – on the strength of my CS received – that if I had complained or mentioned the issues to them at the time, they would have fixed them.
I think a lot of the time, the customer service I’ve received from a bad order has determined my path with the company. If it’s great, I am loyal and I trust them to always sort things out. If it’s terrible, I avoid them like the plague.
Jedi Ana blueraccoon What is TAT? I’m not familiar with the acronym.
blueraccoon Oh! Turn-around-time. It was my first indie and I didn’t realise there would be a waiting period for products to be made before they were shipped. The info was there but I hadn’t seen it.
Some things I can’t forgive even if the products are amazing. For example, I knew a company owner who spoke very negatively of her customers (even calling one a very nasty word and “accidentally” posting customer info, that customer was later harassed mercilessly) and despite everyone raving about them now that experience has severely tainted my opinion of said company. Any company associated with harassment or bullying, like Orglamix and Lime Crime have been, are automatically on a no-buy unless they change ownership.
I will usually give a company a second try unless the issues are egregious, because everyone can have a crappy day/etc once in a while, especially if my experience seems out of the norm.
Hipstermama I feel like I remember the company you’re talking about – I remember that incident but can’t remember who it was. I think probably most people would avoid, say, Glittersniffer, until the end of time. Trifecta of bad.
I never shopped with Orglamix but after Phyrra’s experience I’d like to throw things at them. I really like your last point, most especially because you used the word “egregious”. <3
I’ll tend to give companies a second chance depending on their customer service, the strength of the product, how much I like the branding, or the recommendation of a friend, and won’t bother without.
Jedi Ana Hipstermama Mon Ennui?
Hipstermama an Etsy store called WonderBeautyProducts did this to me after I asked for a refund due to a defective product. Only after I posted a warning to others on a public beauty forum did she refund me but then started posting that I was a scammer—on the forum and in a private Etsy store owners group. She revealed my info and told them never to sell to me, I was a scammer. Her brand is now carried by a well-known indie nail polish seller. It was greatly upsetting and I won’t buy from the 3rd party seller any more, either.
normalpersona That’s horrible! I wish privacy policies were actually reliably upheld and policed.
normalpersona Hipstermama Wonder Beauty Products did this to me, too! She’s shady.
Hottie normalpersona Hipstermama Seriously?! I am SO sorry. I felt *really* attacked by her and her cronies, especially when another indie told me that they had “heard about that incident” and thought I was seriously a scammer! I could not believe that people took her word when she had no proof of me doing anything wrong. The glitter in all 3 mini polishes I got melted, MELTED, and I had photos and etsy conversations. Etsy wouldn’t do anything because she was posting in a private group.
She even started a group for bloggers who would only post positive reviews of indie polishes. I only buy about 1 indie polish every 3 months or so now. I stick to who I know, as well. I was so upset I Am sorry there are others, too.
normalpersonaHottieHipstermamaShe didn’t attack me as much as she did you but she manipulates the etsy feedback system something fierce. I have a post up here about it: http://hottiemcnaughty.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/wonder-beauty-prodects-review/
normalpersona I am so sorry this happened to you….I had something similar happen from a similar seller.
I know the “3rd party” you’re talking about…..have you actually talked to the 3rd party about what happened? I don’t see how punishing them–and the other brands represented–accomplishes anything.
I do appreciate your POV though–I will steer clear of them.
Doe Deere attacked a blogger with a lawsuit over saying negative things about the products and forced her to “apologize”. She’s a lair, saying there’s no bright colorful makeup when she used Krylon and Ben Nye in past tutorials. Packaging pure pigment, saying its her own and selling it at a jacked up price? I will never buy Lime Crime products. Girl’s got issues and it just ruins a company.
Danii I’m well aware of the issue. She attacked a fellow blogger, Grey, who has since retired from blogging. That’s one of the issues that brought Lime Crime onto my radar.
Grey has “retired from blogging”?! More like faked her own death only to reappear as a makeup blogger, and then took people’s money with no intention of sending them their stuff. Let’s tell it like it is, k?
Danii Yeah, LC definitely did a lot of things wrong. I think their recent track record is better, although as liltea points out below, still definitely not great. They did – at least – fix the repackaging thing.
Jedi Ana Phyrra How can someone whose all “sunshine and rainbows” be so awful? It makes zero sense. Yeah, I love the look of Cupcake Thief but still wouldn’t buy it. All the stuff she does/has done just upsets me. I just started blogging and know I probably won’t get the attention of major companies and don’t plan to, but if you run a company, you have to be ready to receive negative reviews! Such as I don’t like how Geek Chic can take forever to ship and the way they just close the site at random, but they have some pretty nice stuff. I want to give them a second chance on their shadows since I saw they revamped the Portal series (I love Portal; have the original shades.) So not cool, LC! I thought they were cool when I saw them on Shana Logic but then I found out all the awful stuff she did. Nope! No buy.
Danii Ahh, I adore Geek Chic. Remember they’re still pretty new, I think their customer base has dramatically increased and it’s still just the 2 of them, and I’m not sure it’s their full-time job. Indies are often 1 or 2 man operations and they have to close to catch up, or everyone’s orders will be delayed. They can’t afford to keep everything in-stock as well, so manufacture + large orders + small staff = long times & closing. It’s the same for a few small, popular indies.
Jedi Ana I understand that, believe me. I’m pretty sure I read that they make everything in bactches or by hand, I can’t remember. I got them when they were still pretty unknown in the beauty world and I was pleased but also disappointed by one shade. Portal Blue. Their description was way off and frustrated me but its okay.
Danii Yeah it’s still a small operation. I forget sometimes because of how snazzy the site is and the huge range they have now! I need the Superneutrals collection and the re-formulated and expanded Portal set is on my list, too. Also really hoping they add more lip balms because I love the formula.
Jedi Ana I’m only looking out for Portal Orange & Blue as well Companion Cube. I have enough browns (have the NAKED palette) and I don’t like yellow. At all.
Jedi Ana Danii liltea Actually, they didn’t. Maybe in some aspects, maybe in all of their cosmetics! But their recent holiday product, a hand mirror, was completely repackaged from an asian company and sold for more than double the price. That suggests to me that the issues with the brand are not being solved, just hidden better.
ElloMello1 Really??? That’s horrible. More reasons NOT to buy from them! :/ Sugarpill is really upfront, seeing as Shrinkle posts behind-the-scenes shots of photoshoots. I want companies to be upfront, not hiding and lying.
Danii ElloMello1 Sugarpill is awesome, no doubt about it
Danii ElloMello1 Yes, there’s a good comparison post here: http://lifemovesfast-runfaster.tumblr.com/post/36379599209/alibaba-mirror
ElloMello1 Ah, yeah. I meant the eyeshadows were actually changed. Although given that I would assume they don’t have the facility to manufacture mirrors, I’m not surprised at all it was a re-sale. Ditto almost everyone selling makeup brushes.
Phyrra Danii ElloMello1 Sugarpill IS awesome.
Phyrra Danii ElloMello1 It also goes to show that an open and friendly attitude can go a long way! Shrinkle/Amy doesn’t sneak around or pretend there are no flaws in her line, she addresses them directly and asks for feedback to improve her products. Kudos to her.
Jedi Ana That’s a good point that they don’t have the tools to hand make mirrors – and it would have been fair for LC to use as an explanation when people found out. Instead they said, on their official Facebook page, that it wasn’t the same, that they made the mirrors themselves, and then deleted any comments that said otherwise. Sigh.
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait for the day when Shrinkle busts out Sugarpill lip products.
ElloMello1 That absolutely does NOT surprise me!! If I started a brand, I’d pick up mirrors on wholesale and let my customers know that I only decorated the mirror/compact but didn’t make the whole thing and sell it for maybe at the most $10 (factoring in material costs).
Jedi Ana yes, pretty much everyone selling makeup brushes gets them made in China. Some are nice, some are not. Some are marked up 3xs their value.
Jedi Ana ElloMello1 That would be AWESOME. A Love+ lippie to match my favorite red?! And Poison Plum. When does Cold Chemistry come out?? ARGH! I love Amelia Arsenic (DestroyX from Angelspit) and I love Sugarpill. Its like a scary supernova of awesome.
ElloMello1 Jedi Ana And then they said that the site who was selling the mirrors had put up a picture of the design they ‘spent months perfecting’ on accident. Bald-faced lie.
I’m with Mai at Portrait of Mai and femmeinistgrrrl when it comes to Illamasqua. As a WOC of beauty blogger, that whole Christmas campaign was such a slap in the face. There’s nothing short of a “wow, that was horrible of us, sorry” that will make me try that company. They’re not making anything unique that I can’t find somewhere else.
I guess in that same line, PR is a bigger issue for me than CS. Since I work in CS, I know that sometimes we just have bad days or bad customers. But PR is your job to make me like you, to make me want to buy your products, and if you are failing at that, you are failing your company. Smashbox had a whole issue at a counter once where the MUA did not want to help a customer because she was too fat and Smashbox was not made for people like her. When she contacted Smashbox, they never apologized, instead practically confirmed what the MUA had said. I think there’s so many companies out there, that I can afford to be picky and have these high standards.
Another big no for me is owners/brand faces. LC has been mentioned a lot, so I’m not talking about that anymore. But another example is the owner of American Apparel. They have pretty clothes, “locally” made and all, but I cannot deal with that guy. So I try to avoid that company as much as possible (which has become increasingly difficult).
hermajesty05 Mai at Portrait of Mai femmeinistgrrrl WOW I did not know that about Smashbox. I’ll go google now, but do you happen to know where I could read about that? I’m so disappointed, I love Smashbox foundation but as a hefty lady I might be banned by their standards. Rude as hell.
ElloMello1 This is the story.
hermajesty05 ElloMello1 That is horrible. Definitely a deal-breaker for me. I feel judged silently at makeup counters often as a heavy girl who doesn’t tend to go makeup shopping while wearing makeup. It’s sad that Illamasqua alienated so many people with their poor response, because as an extremely anxious self-conscious person, the only makeup counter I’ve ever felt accepted and at home at was an Illamasqua one. Their staff – in my experience – have always really embodied the company line about makeup being expression and all forms of beauty and yadda yadda. I hope they do something to fix it, and I hope they get on the fat acceptance bandwagon, because it seems like something they’re conspicuously silent about.
hermajesty05 Holy cats. Well damn. I have some Smashbox items but I certainly won’t purchase more! Even if I weren’t a plus-size woman, that is just….so….WRONG. Thanks for speaking up!
hermajesty05 ElloMello1 Whoa! As a zaftig woman myself, that’s just utterly appalling. Note to self, don’t buy Smashbox – I don’t normally anyway, but now I’ll actively avoid it
hermajesty05 Mai at Portrait of Mai femmeinistgrrrl HOLY CRAP at Smashbox. They’re not really sold here so I’ve never bought from them but that would absolutely be a deal breaker for me.
The difference between PR and CS is interesting, and I think it’s challenging for a lot of companies, especially indies. Running a business, making a good product, are all different skillsets and different from PR and with social media so popular and indie owners so accessible, I think it must be difficult for people who don’t naturally have that talent or haven’t learned the skill and can’t afford to hire someone for it. I think the PR thing for me ties in with the branding.
I know what you mean about the face of the brand. There’s one brand I can think of that is probably perfectly fine, and loads of people like it, but the way the company line is written just… bugs me. It sounds bad to me and makes me avoid them.
I posted the e-mail address for the founder of Illamasqua further down the page who, before Christmas, invited people to e-mail him personally about the brand. I doubt they’ll ever publicly apologise but I would hope that if someone brings it up to him he’d have a better response than the one posted.
Jedi Ana this is so true about PR and CS. That’s why I’m a little more forgiving of indies. It’s tough and there’s a lot of roles 2-3 people need to play, and losing customers for a misstep hurts their business. I’m more willing to give them 2nd and 3rd chances.
hermajesty05 Illamasqua is putting out great stuff and some of it can’t be found elsewhere. OCC doesn’t have a bright green lippie like Illamasqua released in their I’mPerfect collection. They did apologize and accepted the feedback they were given (I follow their Facebook.)
Danii hermajesty05 Danii, a lot of people were unhappy with their reply (and refusal to pull the image) and I understand why, even though I also like Illamasqua and I didn’t find the campaign offensive. If you have new information (an apology people aren’t aware of on their FB?) then please link, but careful not to cross the line into telling other commenters that their feelings are wrong. I like Illamasqua, too, but it’s not our job to make other people like them.
Jedi Ana Thank you for this comment, and the email!
Jedi Ana hermajesty05 I’m not saying their feelings are wrong, its just not an appropriate reply to get upset over one campaign image. That’s the only time Illamasqua has made this type of mistake to my knowledge. I noticed it was mainly Caucasian women upset by the campaign too, while black/African American/Black American (whatever you want to call them) weren’t upset by it. Sifting through a month+ of posts to their Facebook.
Danii hermajesty05 I’m sorry Danii and I’m sure you don’t mean to cause offence but this: “its just not an appropriate reply to get upset over one campaign image” is EXACTLY doing this “I’m not saying their feelings are wrong”.
Saying that someone’s reaction isn’t appropriate is precisely the same as saying their feelings about it are wrong, and that’s a very rude thing to do. I’m sure that you don’t mean it to be, and that you just really like Illamasqua and their brand message. I’m with you on that, I think they’re great and I love the positive messages they’ve put forward, but just because I – or you – weren’t offended by an image doesn’t mean that others are inappropriate for being offended by it, or for feeling so strongly that they want to shop elsewhere. That’s their right and we should respect it and not say it’s inappropriate, just like they’re not calling us inappropriate for not being offended or for liking a brand that offended them.
Jedi Anahermajesty05 I think its unnecessary to get upset over this one event when its been a month and people have forgotten about it. They stopped using the whole image, only the white side during the rest of December. Why not leave it as one strike against the company and give them another shot? I noticed it was also mainly people residing in the US who got upset and left angry messages on Illamasqua’s page.
Danii hermajesty05 What I’m trying to hammer home here is the idea that while YOU THINK it’s unnecessary to get upset about it, while it doesn’t upset you, while you think it’s a relatively small mistake, while you see no problems with their response, etc, this is not the same for everyone, and it’s rude to tell someone you think their reaction is inappropriate or unnecessary just because it is one that you do not share or particularly understand. ESPECIALLY for an issue like racism, someone’s reactions are going to be hugely impacted by all the negative experiences they’ve had in their life.
For some people, most particularly people who have been effected by racism throughout their lives, or watched their loved ones be effected by it, this is going to be a huge issue. Ultimately it’s up to them who gets their money, who gets the benefit of the doubt, and it’s not our place to tell them they’re wrong or advocate on behalf of the company.
I don’t want to make you feel bad, and I hope I haven’t left you feeling like the bad guy. I know that you don’t mean to offend anybody, and you just like a company that has only really made one mistake. But I also want this comment space to be a place where everyone can post their feelings on the subject without feeling like their feelings are wrong or that they should feel bad for having them, so I’m going to ask you to drop the subject now.
Danii Jedi Ana hermajesty05 we obviously have different opinions of what lines companies are able to cross. Racism and insensitivity is 1 for me that I cannot excuse, no matter what culture they’re coming from. I’m not asking you to stop buying from them, but giving reason why IM not anymore. Please respect that.
hermajesty05 Mai at Portrait of Mai femmeinistgrrrl Excuse me while I never even CONSIDER buying Smashbox… not that they’d want my fat-ass to do business with them anyway!
I spent hundreds of dollars with Pure Luxe before I saw the owner threaten a blogger with a lawsuit for raising questions about the safety of her blacklight eyeshadows. I won’t shop there again, ever.
I don’t shop at Ulta any more because their online shopping system and shopping cart are incredibly buggy and not connected to their inventory, and in this day and age, there is just no excuse for a company that size to do e-commerce so poorly. It took me three days and three phone calls to their customer service line to complete my last order with them – they had to get level 3 techs to take “ghost items” out of my cart and reset it, so I had to re-add everything. Then when I received my order, stuff was missing, and there was no invoice so I never knew exactly what I was charged for, or how (whether they honored their BOGO50 as advertised, etc.). And this was the second order in a row that was such a headache, and there’s just no excuse for it. They don’t have anything I can’t get somewhere else, so I’m done with them until or unless they start hiring some IT professionals.
I understand an indie “one-woman shop” occasionally having IT troubles
but when e-commerce is one of your primary foundations for your
business, do it right or pay someone who can.
E.l.f. messed up an order once and I wrote to them and they immediately shipped replacements next-day air. The next time I ordered, it was messed up again, and I wrote to them, and they shipped a replacement again, next day air. Two messed up orders isn’t a good track record, but I’m willing to try again because they made it right, ASAP, politely and contritely.
This is such a great post.
9thmoon You pretty much sum up exactly how I feel about orders being a hassle due to mismanagement. If the customer service is consistently great, you can trust that at least if there’s a problem, it will be sorted without fuss. If the whole thing becomes a hassle, you’re not going to want to try and go through an ordeal just to give a company your business.
Agreeing about e-commerce. Most indies, at least, will use Etsy or Big Cartel or some other easy system if they lack the skills or funding to make a fancy website, so it’s at least functional while they work on an independent one.
Jedi Ana 9thmoon Truth. It’s expensive to build a site but when you’re an e-commerce site it’s so important for it to work, be secure and most importantly be easy to spend money on! I mean, that’s the point, right? Make it enjoyable to spend money there. The Rhinestone Housewife was in the thousands to build but it’s the base of the business and I didn’t want a rinky dinky site.
9thmoon Blacklight shadows have ALWAYS been a questionable thing, particularly pink. Pink blacklight powder is not recommended to be used around the eyes and one pink I found on etsy said they don’t recommend it for use around the eyes.
Danii 9thmoon Yeah, depends where you are though. There’s plenty of UV reactive neon eyeshadows here in the UK sold legally as safe for use on the eyes which are banned by the FDA for eye use in the USA.
Agree on Pure Luxe being shady though. They were repackaging TKB pops, and selling UV and glow in the dark eyeshadow. I don’t think glow in the dark eyeshadow is even legal in the UK.
The only odd experience I ever had was with a company that I had JUST heard of, made two purchases from on Etsy, waited forever for my items to ship – and luckily, they (eventually!) arrived. But then, boom! Right after I got my order, everyone else was flipping out about theirs not arriving, the owner made countless excuses as to why, saying things had shipped, and then one day, disappeared from Etsy (and as far as I know, and according to the still-there Etsy feedback, TONS of people never received what they paid for)
. I was lucky in that I got my products (though sadly, the eyeshadows which were INSANELY GORGEOUS in the photographs, were barely-there with little color payoff when I got them… BUT, the owner had included like 6 full-sized freebies, I was SO torn), but if this shop ever resurfaces (am I allowed to say names? Rockabetty Beauty), I doubt I’d purchased again. I’ve Googled around and have seen very little mentioned on the topic, does anyone know what happened to this shop?
BrittaniMacDonald I think they went under, like Glittersniffer. From what I read, they didn’t pay people for orders, they just disappeared.
Phyrra BrittaniMacDonald Wow, it was really odd for me to even end up in a situation like that, I generally only buy from a brand (riding the Broke College Student Express here, like many of us) that I’ve read lots of glowing reviews on, but one night I fell down the Etsy rabbit-hole and just fell in love – not to mention all her feedback at the time was actually positive – so I ordered. I will NEVER impulse buy on a company again after that mess!
Just an FYI, Glittersniffer re-opened and has started selling again. She has about a dozen customers, but she’s still determined to make this her business even though she’s never refunded anyone a dime.
BrittaniMacDonald I think a lot of indies have gone under this way. I have a lot of sympathy for indies in this position naturally because, as someone suffering from mental illness, I empathise with the feeling of being so overwhelmed you feel incapacitated, and then so completely guilty at your failures that you feel like you don’t dare to own up to them or try to correct them. I feel so awful for anyone in that position, however they ended up there.
But it’s not OK from a business. I know that I am completely unreliable, easily overwhelmed, and can’t handle much responsibility, so you know what, I don’t sell people things. I know I couldn’t manage to do it so I’m not going to. When money is involved, everything changes, and you have to meet your obligations – give people what they paid for, the product should arrive on time, as described, in the described condition. Adding freebies that aren’t asked for, being incredibly nice and making excuses and promises that aren’t then honoured, might be with good intentions but they’re not what you asked for and they don’t take the place of delivering what was ordered, as described, on time.
I think once you start in that downsides slide of being overwhelmed with backlogged orders, complaints, e-mails, etc, it’s also incredibly hard to dig your way out. Like I said I probably have too much sympathy with the business owners in this position, but as a wronged consumer, you’re totally within your rights to feel annoyed if you don’t get what you paid for.
Jedi Ana BrittaniMacDonald I have the same sympathy for the same reason, and it’s important to try and be understanding when you’re dealing with another human being instead of a massive company. This is why I might give an indie that’s relaunched a chance, provided they were honest, gave a heartfelt apology, and did everything they could to make up their errors once they were back and capable of dealing with it. With the way mental health is treated in this country in many areas, a lot of people start companies not knowing they have issues, and think it’s an issue of ‘willpower.’ Those who aren’t aware of what’s going on with their brains are unfortunately more likely to find out the hard way.
BrittaniMacDonald Yeah, she went under and now is a rep for Mary Kay and left a lot of people waiting for product/refunds. Boo.
Yep, I was one of the people that never received my order. That was 60-something dollars down the drain. I would never order from her again if she opened back up. I don’t typically hold a grudge when a company messes up a little bit, but she just took the money and ran.
BrittaniMacDonald Avoid. She’s definitely on my S-IT list. Lies lies lies and I had to file with Paypal to get my money back–and she STILL insisted she had mailed not one, but two packages (a replacement for the original order). Surprise! I didn’t get a single package. She is still in business, last I know–but not on Etsy.
Oh oh oh. Coastal Scents edited one of my product reviews and deleted another, but they left five-star product reviews from people who said in their comments that they hadn’t even received the product yet and were rating it five stars because they were “so excited to try this”…. I will never order with them again. That’s an example of acting in BAD faith. Dishonesty.
9thmoon I hate companies who do that! Although I always suspect EVERY COMPANY of doing it and don’t trust on-site reviews. I’ve had so many of my reviews of products pending indefinitely when they’re below 4 stars.
Jedi Ana 9thmoon Google came out recently saying that they were going to crack down on Google Reviews and for companies to stop leaving fake reviews or they’ll be penalized. (I’m paraphrasing here). I think Google is doing it to prevent the fake reviews.
Phyrra Jedi Ana 9thmoon Some websites (usually large retailers) will integrate one of the independent review sites into their website, which I really like. I put a huge amount of faith in Amazon reviews and Dooyoo reviews.
This is such an important topic to address! There are a lot of companies that are on my “possible sh-t” list because the makeup community has done a great job documenting poor customer service, unsafe products, offensive ad campaigns, or making huge claims about product performance. It does sometimes feel daunting to weigh out what I feel is moral and ethical, what I know has happened, my interest in the product, and whether or not some of the experiences are true or not. I’m a researcher by trade, so maybe that’s why I look for a definitive answer in terms of “Am I supporting something that’s hurting people or doesn’t care about their customers? “, but the more and more I become invested in the makeup blogging world the more I realize these questions are becoming more and more difficult to answer.
Here’s my present “possible sh-t” list:
Lime Crime – The products seem to have improved, but the PR behind it hasn’t. They’ve been stealing images, seem to really have it in for Christine from Temptalia and some other bloggers, and delete things off of their Facebook page all the time. I know that certain blog posts and an entire tumblr is dedicated to calling them out and that must be frustrating for them, but they’re also putting a lot of fuel into their own fire. The Velvetines and Geradium lipstick though look nice and perhaps if they had a sale I’d consider trying it out. I just wish they’d really consider that the overly defensive/anyone who says anything negative about us are just “haters” is off-putting and takes away from their products.
Illamasqua – The blackface ad campaign rubbed me the wrong way and their kind of apology was even worse. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake, but I am tired of the you-don’t-understand-my-art-plebeian! defense being brought up when there is valid criticism. I’ve tried their products and was impressed, but I’m still not sure I want to go back.
Urban Decay – I’ve been a loyal fan of UD since I was a tween, never had any problem with their cosmetics, and have always gotten good customer service. Their flip on animal testing was really surprising and to me undermined so much of what they’ve stood for as a brand (and also why I was willing to spend more $$$ on their products). They’ve been an old reliable CF staple for me, but I’m not as comfortable supporting them now that they’ve decided to enter into the Chinese market.
As for my actual sh-t list:
Mon Ennui Cosmetics – I saw some of their drama from the Doe Deere Lies tumblr after the owner attacked the girl running the blog and they are just a big ol’ clique of mean girls. The owner has no problem naming names, constantly puts down other brands and company owners, and intentionally makes copies of other companies’ successful products. I’d be terrified to let this woman have any of my personal information.
Sigma – They’ve just made so many mistakes and been so aggressive with bloggers that again I wouldn’t feel comfortable buying from them.
Bare Minerals – I have allergies to metals and when I asked the sales clerk for an ingredients list she just told me that everything was hypoallergenic, natural, and non-comedogenic and nothing would cause a reaction. I ended up having a huge allergic reaction to their mineral foundation, huge mistake for me to just trust a clerk without really knowing 100% the accuracy of their claims. I wish they would train their employees better to understand what type of questions they get.
michelle_laurin Just an FYI, Urban Decay is not selling in China. They are still cruelty-free. I’ve had a few posts with information directly from my contacts at their company. They have pledged to stay cruelty-free, despite being purchased by L’Oreal. The Body Shop, also owned by L’Oreal, is still cruelty-free and they have been at the forefront of pushing to end Animal Testing.
I’ve heard that a lot about Mon Ennui. I haven’t tried them personally.
Sadly, I think there are uneducated makeup associates in every store I’ve had people tell me X brand is cruelty-free, only to find out that they’re not, when they’re at Sephora.
Phyrra Thanks for letting me know about UD, that makes me very happy
michelle_laurin Phyrra I feel that buying from a “cruelty free” company that is owned by a testing company is still supporting animal testing. The money ends up in the pocket of the parent company, at the end of the day. Just my opinion.
CarreenCole michelle_laurin I totally understand that viewpoint and respect it. I do think that companies lack incentive to go cruelty-free if they don’t feel their is a market for it. However, we know quite clearly that there is a market for it and people want it.
Phyrra CarreenCole michelle_laurin I think that every company knows that there is a market for cruelty free products. I cannot figure out why companies still choose to do animal testing. It is completely unnecessary. Animal testing has been a very outdated practice for quite a while now.
I hope that the U.S. bans animal testing soon, like the EU did!
CarreenCole michelle_laurin I hope so too! Between Israel and the EU bans, I hope that the US bans animal testing as well. I don’t see how US companies can sell in the EU or Israeli market now.
CarreenCole Phyrra michelle_laurin I believe animal testing is cheaper than cruelty free methods for a lot of companies, who have large, multi-year contracts with labs that would be pricey to break. Never forget that with gigantic conglomerates, it’s all about the cash.
michelle_laurin A product can be hypoallergenic and still make a person have an allergic reaction because no matter what your ingredient is there’s someone out there allergic to it. It sucks that this happened but I hardly think this warrants distrusting sales clerks and maligning poor training (considering these people are on slave wages).
If you have serious allergies it’s just good to be on alert because no matter what, anything can aggravate your allergies >: It totally sucks.
I think my attitude is similar to Ana’s, as I’m not a blogger and haven’t had similar situations to Phyrra’s. It really depends on how much I want a product vs. how ready I am to ‘forgive’ whatever infraction they committed. It took my a good 9+ months for me to get over the whole NYX sale thing, and I didn’t even want to, or try to, order. It wasn’t the fact that they had troubles during the sale, but their attitude about it that turned me off. And I’m still ticked off at Sinful for stealing blogger pictures (don’t know if they ever made that right, so I should look into that). But I don’t know that I’d write them off completely. I think I could get over ‘unprofessional’ conduct, especially from a smaller company, as I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe something came up in their life and they handled the situation poorly. Who hasn’t been there? As opposed to unethical behavior, I’d have a much harder time forgiving that.
Good post with some excellent points, ladies!
UneLuneBleue Bluuuuue! I’ve run out of helpful comments to add to the conversation and I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said.
UneLuneBleue You are so right about the Sinful issue. Intellectual property theft is completely inexcusable.
Yay! An Ana! What a pleasant surprise!
how much I want the product factors in a lot to it for me, too. That’s
why I still buy nyx and sleek after their sale fails. but, I also factor
in what I consider to be intent and culpability, because I am aware
that sometime customers service representatives don’t end up
representing the company in such a good way, or that executives make
derpy choices, or that sometimes things are just really busy and get out
of hand. As long as I feel assured that whatever the issue is is not
inherently malicious or consistently representative of the entire
company, there’s a good chance I will buy the products…eventually.
Being able to handle an issue with poise is, obviously, a major boon for
the company in my eyes, just as throwing a temper tantrum/trying to
cover it up/shifting the blame is a major malus. I try to be pretty
easy-going about this because all companies go through growing pains and
make mistakes, and they cannot become better if they are never offered a
I refuse to give my money to companies I
feel have some kind of major root or systemic error. Orglamix is a good
example, and lime crimes is another for me, personally. Since I feel
that the owner and founder has shown a pattern of malice, rudeness,
harassment, and a bunch of other nasty stuff, I no longer have any
positive expectations from her for the future, and that in turn has
tainted my perception of the company to the point where I could not,
morally, bear to use any of the products. Essentially the only way I
would end up buying lime crime is if the company were seized/taken over
by another entity and the connection to the original owner severed
entirely, because I o not want to support her through the company.
are just my PERSONAL policies, though. I don’t think anyone should feel
like they have to hold a grudge for any reason if they don’t want to,
and giving someone a second chance doesn’t reflect negatively on your
character at all. After all, you can still dislike a product/company
without holding a grudge. It is smart to be prepared for negative
outcomes, though, and to be able to gauge when you should just wash your
hands clean of something entirely.
leelas I agree with just about everything you said, and you phrased it all really well. I’m a little jealous. You should write a blog.
I particularly like “As long as I feel assured that whatever the issue is is not inherently malicious or consistently representative of the entire company, there’s a good chance I will buy the products…eventually.” and I think this is where corporations get an advantage over small businesses, too. With small businesses, I care more about the owner not being a jerkweed and being honest, whereas with larger corporations I care more about my order history being generally hassle-free.
leelas I also agree with you. For me it is the ethical problems that keep me from purchasing from a brand. For example, all of the issues you listed with the owner of Lime Crime AND the fact that she was reselling items that she bought, for many times the price. That is just scandalous, in my book.
And then there are issues like a “cruelty free” company selling out and being taken over by a testing company. Like Urban Decay selling to Loreal. I was a huge fan of Urban Decay, after they sold to Loreal, I returned all of my palettes. I will not support from companies that claim to be “cruelty free” but are owned by a testing company. I.E. The Body Shop, Clinique, NARS, Burts Bees, MAC, etc…
Thank you for weighing in on the subject!
Just an FYI, Urban Decay is not selling in China. They are still cruelty-free. I’ve had a few posts with information directly from my contacts at their company. They have pledged to stay cruelty-free, despite being purchased by L’Oreal.
The Body Shop, also owned by L’Oreal, is still cruelty-free and they have been at the forefront of pushing to end Animal Testing. I believe they were directly responsible for the EU ban on animal testing.
This ties in, for me, with the argument of ‘don’t buy from cruelty-free companies if their parent companies aren’t cruelty-free.’
I buy from cruelty-free companies who have non-CF parent companies because I want to show those companies that there are consumers who prefer cruelty-free.
But companies have no incentive to switch to CF if people say ‘I will still never buy from them.’ They need to have incentive to make a change for the better and stop testing.
I’d really like to see brands own up to their failures, and to see what they have changed. If there were a statement from Lime Crime apologizing for their mistakes, I would feel a lot better about their products.
The bottom line- all companies mess up and have a few hiccups here and there. This.. 90% of the time means PR will have to clean up and that involves lying. A stand becomes a grudge when a company does something to personally violate your beliefs and ethics. When it comes to cosmetic brands, there is very little that can be done to make me decide that I dont want to deal with them anymore. So my list is very short. For instance, there was a cosmetic company that sent a palette to a customer and one shade had full blown mold growing on it. She showed pictures in a forum (MUT) and they contacted her threatening to sue. Now, if that company had decided to replace and apologize, I would have no issue. But they decided to threaten, which made me decide to never buy from them. It’s not about the mistake you make, it’s how you fix it. You name a brand, I can name something they have done wrong.
glitteryglossy You are so right “It’s not about the mistake, it’s how you fix it.” This is so true. Handling mistakes well is critical.
I end up holding grudges less often out of customer service issues and more frequently over repeated poor product performance. No matter how lovely your lipstick or polish may look, if I have had multiple negative experiences with quality and wear, I simply will not buy your product. In fact, it may even affect the probability that I buy other products from you in the future.
I really don’t know. I haven’t personally had any big issues with a brand or its PR that would make me put them on my will not work with list. I really think it would vary on a case by case basis, and it would take quite a bit of time to observe their business practices to make me rethink my position.
Repeated shady practices would do it. For example, as a blogger I am familiar with bloggers having had their content stolen for major company campaigns, and if a company had more than one error in that area I wouldn’t promote them. If they didn’t learn their lesson about who they hire for their advertisements and it happened again I would assume they wouldn’t have that much respect for bloggers and their work, and I therefore wouldn’t want to promote them and bring them business.
This is a tough one and you make some excellent points. In 2 cases, the owners lied outright. To me, that’s a ban for life. I can handle lots of things–and I don’t think I’m unreasonable. I understand how “life happens”. But telling the truth is important–I can’t support a company when I don’t trust them.
One I struggle with is Zoya. I *love* the polishes and products. They were my first love in 3-free polish. But I got treated like crap by customer service more than once. I stopped buying for awhile, then thought maybe I should give them a second chance–and they did it again. I’m a die-hard lacquerista so it’s hard to take a stand….but I find that if I just wait, I’ll find similar polishes or outright dupes. When I feel that their CS is no longer “the customer is always wrong” I might give them another chance.
Doe Deere is still stealing people’s artwork and not crediting, still bad mouthing and then sucking up to the same people and aside from Lime Crime selling slightly better quality products not much has changed. The fact is she’s still a sketchy person. Maybe for me it is a bit of a grudge but I don’t care. I don’t think I could even try to like a LC product after all she’s done, I just don’t want to be associated with that or encourage it with my dollars.
If I get burned by a company or the company does some rather shitty things (not talking little mistakes) I’m not one to give second chances. I haven’t really seen a company actually turn things around completely so I might be swayed when one does. If a company just goofs and fixes their mistake I don’t mind. Once Fyrinnae sent me the wrong order but the e-mailed me about it before I even got the package and let me know my correct order was on the way. Since they handled it correctly I still shop with them. I’ve had companies lie to me about shipping a package and give me repeated excuses like the post office is messing up or they’re ill or their car died or their cat is missing- bull shit excuses and I had to file mail fraud to get a refund. I certainly am not giving a second chance to them.
I used to run a review website and I only had one company, now out of business, that gave me a hard time. Reviews were written on products that people bought themselves, no one got anything for free. When the owner of the company saw a negative review he went ballistic and threatened us right and left. He wanted that review down or he’d sue. We had no choice but to remove it even though it was legitimate. That was a company that none of us went near again. If he had other good products no one on our active website would have known after his behavior.
I think if the company has changed their ways and/or given great customer service I can forgive but then again do we ever quite forget??
This is such a great topic. I had to smile to myself, because my family and friends tease me about my personal boycotts. I rarely completely have them & avoid a company, but when I do, I am resolute! I think this is an issue that really reflects the fact that we all vary so much in our personal priorities and motivations, and so there are countless valid responses and opinions.
For me, as for so many others who have responded, great customer service can remedy innumerable problems. For that reason, I always try to give a company not only the opportunity to make something right, but to let them know what that would be for me. If I just give up on them without letting them know why they have lost a customer, it doesn’t really benefit anybody — they may lose the chance to rectify the issue, and I may lose the chance to continue purchasing from a company that does the right thing overall. In other words, I really try not to cut off my nose to spite my face. That being said, there are a few instances where I would be hard-pressed to change my mind: issues with safety violations (such as unhygienic practices or unsafe pigments/colors) and intentional fraud or unethical behavior come to mind.
I try not to hold grudges, because they do cost me mental energy sometimes, but once I am pushed over my line, it’s relatively easy for me to just let go of a company. I have yet to truly be unable to find a similar product to one that I have given up. So it’s not that I hold a grudge, it’s more that they just made my decision-making process easier by narrowing down my options. It also means that I am more easily able to remain emotionally neutral when others like a company I don’t support or vice versa. I have never understood the glitter-mobbing that goes on and it really turns me off.
Personally, I subscribe to the philosopy of “promote what you love, don’t bash what you hate”. It’s a lot less emotionally draining.
I’ll mention a negative experience, sure. Honesty is important. But if I don’t like a particular brand, whether for customer service or ethics or just poor products, I probably won’t talk about it much unless asked or it’s directly relevant to something else I’m talking about.
Eilena I think this is a great way to be. Promoting what you love and skipping the bashing is definitely less draining.
I know this is a late response but I have to say Lime Crime hasn’t learned anything and deserves 0 second chances.
Thanks for the fascinating discussion, everyone!