As a consumer, I've had some less than satisfactory shopping experiences lately. In an effort to provide as much insight as I can and create awareness, I am writing this blog for you.
First of all, Tate really wants these ear muffs from Justice for Christmas. They are furry with sequins on them. I became cautious when I went online to buy them and they were nowhere to be found. I went to three local stores that never received them. I can only assume there was some issue with the supplier and these will simply NOT be available via any avenue. It really stinks because Tate's the typical kid who wants what she wants. Yet this is a gift I cannot buy.
Secondly, I am having problems with Sleek Make-Up. I wrote a blog about my last order from them in May. My final conclusion was that while they may take a while to ship, the products are so great they are worth the wait. I'm not so sure about that now.
I placed an order with Sleek before Thanksgiving. They had a huge 50% off the entire site sale and they simply were NOT prepared for the avalanche of orders they received. It took a week for my order to get confirmed so I could pay for it. And ever since, I've been waiting...waiting. I stupidly placed another order the Wednesday after Thanksgiving because they launched a new Sparkle eyeshadow palette. That order went off without a hitch, but again, I have not received the product...and it's a Christmas gift for me, from the fam.
I have emailed Sleek relentlessly, yet not gotten a reply. I have tweeted to them about it, but no reply. They have disabled posting on their Facebook fan page, which I consider worrisome. But people are still posting on the most recent comment they made, so I did that. Again, no reply. Sleek is a company that is very popular and widespread in Europe. I cannot fathom that these issues from this 50% off sale have crippled them to the point of completely shutting off all customer service. BUT that appears to be the case.
This really stinks because I really do LOVE their products. They are insanely affordable and the quality is top notch. I actually ordered some palettes for my work kit this past order. I suppose the next step will be to dispute the payments. I suppose I can only truly love them when I am in the UK and can buy their products first-hand with no middle man.
***UPDATE: I just got an email from Sleek. The first order was shipped Nov. 25th, the second November 26th. They said they would email me the tracking info tomorrow. We'll see.*** (Guess what? No email today!!)
Last but not least, there is a mineral make-up company that I've been dealing with for about a year now. I really wanted to love this company. They used to sell on Etsy, but this fall they launched their own website. I had been holding off writing a review of their products because I had had a couple of disappointments and hoped for some redeeming gesture to right all wrongs.
I ordered a couple of things earlier this year. I got a pastel collection of colors that were quite nice. I ordered a "Wizard of Oz" collection, but was disappointed because some of the sifter seals were not secure and product had gotten loose. I ordered these tiny vials of cosmetic grade glitter, but was disappointed that there was no consistency in quantity. Some vials were kinda full, some were only half full. The price I paid was kinda ridiculous and I would feel like an idiot if I told you. I also ordered 3 random "pay it forward" offers she had going once and only got 1 set of pigments. (The listing listed the various things you could get if you bought one and they varied from her bath line to a set of pigments, with no stipulation about quantity of purchases.) At the time, I did consider the possibility of starting my own mineral make-up line because I thought I could provide better customer service, consistency, packaging, etc. The fact is that the market is saturated (with both decent sellers and hacks) and I already contend with that with my jewelry, so I am not about to start again in what could be a fruitless effort. I may end up ordering some stuff and making things just for myself, but that would be it.
After my extended stay in the hospital this fall, I went home to recover, got back online, became a fan of this mineral make-up company's Facebook fan page and really got excited by what I saw. There was a constant stream of new collections with eye-popping colors! There was newness every day! I did start to grow suspicious of things when posts would be made for suggestions for new collections and by the end of the day, there they would be! Yet there would be an 8-day turn around time. Were these already made up or not? I am a make-up artist, this is my career. It is of utmost importance that what I see is what I get.
So, I ordered more stuff to treat myself. I had had a rough couple of months and felt I deserved it. Well, I added to my stress because orders didn't come in. I sent emails. A few were ignored, but as you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The owner and I began corresponding. There were promises of having thing shipped with extra goodies for my troubles. But I'd get no tracking number and nothing would arrive. After a month of this nonsense, I sent an email stating that I don't spend my money just to throw it away, I expect what I ordered in return. She said she'd personally see to it that it got shipped and that she'd include extras and one of her new make-up brushes. Well, that didn't happen for another week. I finally got the package. It contained parts of the two orders I was missing. But NOT everything. This concerns me because she allegedly sent out the first order, although I am skeptical because the tracking number says that the USPS received the info, but has not picked up the package. In short, the package wasn't sent. But the package I received had some things and a ton of extras, yet NO brush. I was a happy camper, although after a chat with the owner I was wondering if she was trying to confuse me with the extras so I wouldn't know what I did or didn't have. I know exactly what I'm missing, now that I've gone through photos and emails, but I have opted to take this big "deal" she is offering, for people who have missing orders, where a package allegedly stuffed full of products will be shipped out in lieu of what you originally ordered. While I wanted what I originally ordered, I currently just want to be done with it all. In the meantime, things have gotten so out of hand, the seller has basically shut down the shop for a week to catch up on orders and make customers happy.
The USPS is a frequent scapegoat for this seller. And while I know the holidays are hectic, I can't believe that her local USPS is soooo bad that dozens upon dozens of orders are lost. There are countless posts on the FB page about missing or late orders. It was a relief to know I wasn't the only one, but it made me sad at the same time to see that others were going through the same thing. I guess it also makes me sad to see that a seller allows this to happen.
**EDIT: As of today, the owner has posted pics of the progress of packing up orders and getting them shipped out. Looks like she is really trying to save face. And I think there's a good possibility the Sanrio collection I originally ordered is in it. But there are no tracking numbers for these parcels since they were all packaged by hand and not labeled via Paypal. I will keep you posted.**
Since then, there has been a mass exodus of fans, with them each making statements about their experiences. Some question if products are just directly repackaged, as they are, from the supplier, with no art of color mixing at all. Others question if the products are actually vegan. And I read an alarming blog (and did the follow up research) that found that some of the pigments I ordered are soap dyes and not approved for cosmetic use!! This is pigment that should be diluted in a soap or some other from, then diluted again when mixed with water on your skin...not applied directly to it! I know from my experience with MAC that not all colors are approved for eyes and lips, so I was skeptical, but thought there may be something I didn't know. Silly me.
The die hard fans are holding firm and defending to the death and that's fine. I wanted to have that enthusiasm too. But I've found another vendor for some identical products at a fraction of the price and I will be using that vendor for future purposes. I think this is simply a case if growing too much, too fast...or perhaps it's just plain, old greed.
If you'd like to read some of the blogs, here are some links:
Krissi's Art Studio
Brandy's FB Note
**The whole FB thing has turned into some serious drama. There are rumors of the owner making threatening phone calls and sending angry emails to people. You can hear one of the voicemails HERE. Please be forewarned there is inappropriate language. I also find this practice concerning.**
***UPDATE - Here is what was posted by the owner of the mineral make-up company posted today:
"To all my customers and friends,
It’s with much humiliation and regret that I need to address you on several matters. In the past year I have made an unbelievable amount of changes to my business. Unfortunately, not all have been beneficial ...to GS. In my desire to “take it to the next level”, I have unintentionally let major aspects of this company decline in quality. I wish to apologize whole-heartedly to all the great ladies who have recently decided to leave the page and the company. I do not have hard feelings and realize I would probably have done the same thing I’m sad to say. I also wish to apologize to all the newer ladies for having to see all this hashed out on my fanpage. I take complete responsibility for all the negative comments made of late. I am not proud, but I am enlightened. I have had complete tunnel vision, looking ahead and not around . All those women who left were friends, not just customers. I would like to think I would never treat my friends in the manner as I did those whom I took terribly for granted. I will say on my behalf though, I never sold things with out intending to deliver them. I did however oversell things and then have to scramble to get them, though that was not intentional as some have implied. My actions from this point will be scrutinized and that is to be expected. My plan is to take it slow and get back to the roots of what GS is. I intend to stop selling before product it is stocked. I intend to ship orders within 5 days of receipt. I intend to email people immediately if, for some reason product is not available and give an estimated ship day. I’m going to need to limit the time I spend on emails. The new policy will be to email me if your order has not shipped in 5 days of payment. I will ask people to please not email me unnecessarily, so I can focus on the other aspects that need my attention to better serve you. Please don’t take this as I don’t want to be emailed, take this as I won’t be getting all the emails because things are running smoothly .The last few days have been a real wake-up call for me and very difficult. I guess the biggest lesson was no matter how “better” I made up for shortfalls, the fact is, people just want what they ordered, and no amount of extras, etc. can make up for that. I again apologize to current and past supporters of GS.
It seems heartfelt and thought out, unfortunately it seems that many think that it's simply too little, too late. Perhaps she can turn her business around.***
The bottom line is that people simply want what they pay for. That's what I know I want! And I don't want to have to be jerked around to get it. I don't want substitutions, if you don't have it, refund it! Don't sell items you do not have ready to ship! I pay the money on the spot, so my order should be treated with the same diligence as the vendor expects payment. I am talking about ANY vendor, not just the ones mentioned in this blog. Apart from my unexpected stay in the hospital in September, I strive to get any orders I get out in the mail on the day or the very next day at the latest. I know what it's like waiting around on the receiving end...waiting and waiting...
So do your research, read reviews and blogs and be informed before you make any purchases. It pays to be informed.