Thursday, July 30, 2015

Indie makers and their businesses


How do you see the indie makers? As friends that happen to make nail polish, or as business women (and men)?

There’s something I have been wanting to get off my chest for a while, and today is that day.


The nail polish world has been growing really fast over the past few years, and I mean really fast. The demand for more interesting and/or alternative finishes, colours and combinations got so high, that some girls decided to take things into their own hands and make their own polish.

The indie market grew (and is still growing) ridiculously fast. And why shouldn’t it? Every girl with an eye for colours and a good imagination and the cash to buy the necessary supplies can mix their own pretty polishes – and why not sell them to other enthusiasts? I’m right there with you so far.


To me though, this whole indie scene is business. Yes, I do know the first names of the makers of some indies, and yes, I do chat with a couple of them occasionally. But - when it comes to throwing money over the counter, then it changes from being online friends to also being a business relationship for me.

I expect professionalism, I expect good customer service and I expect communication from any business I deal with. Those are the buzz words for me.

I won’t mention any names or brands today, but let me give you a few examples of very recent not so good experiences:

1.   Bad communication
So, I ordered six polishes from a shop on Etsy. I got the message: ”Thanks for your purchase! Your item(s) will ship in 2-5 business days.” (It’s an automatic response, no actual persons were involved sending it).

After 6 business days I contacted the shop again (yes, I am like that!). I asked them when they expected to ship my polishes. This message was left completely unanswered, but my polishes were marked as shipped the following day. So, were they actually waiting for me to write again before sending my goods, or what? To me it is highly unprofessional to not bother answering your emails. It only takes a minute to write that the polishes are now shipped and sorry for the delay. That’s just sloppy and arrogant.



2.   Bad Customer Service
There is a brand that makes some polishes I really like. I live in Europe, and that means that postage usually is pretty expensive. It’s nobody’s fault but the postal service’s, but there are ways to get around that. 

I wrote a message to this particular shop owner and asked if I could combine the shipping on two smaller orders. The answer was NO. I asked the shop owner a couple of other questions about restocks, and ordering with another Danish friend to keep postage down, but every question was answered with a resounding NO. 


I think that some of the smaller shops really need to be flexible and work with their customers, instead of seeing them as a pain that asks stupid and annoying questions. All the NOs I got from this shop owner has made me stop buying her polishes at all, and I even consider selling off all the ones I’ve got. Yes, I am like that. There it is again - arrogant, no business sense, and no respect for customers or their money, obviously. Well, no more of my money is going her way, so it’s a resounding NO right back from me.



3.   Unprofessional behaviour
Delays are unprofessional, period. 
Yes, I know that things that we can't control occasionally happen. But when it happens again, and again, and again, then there’s something going on that should not be going on. 

When that order is paid for, the shop owner must do everything in their power to get things out ASAP. Guess what, it’s the law.
I don’t want to hear tedious excuses and long explanations. I’ve passed my money over your counter, and I want value for that money. Now please. Yes, I am like that! You’re a businesswoman/man – get a grip, run your business properly. Or I stop buying your stuff and move on, plenty more out there like you wanting my money and willing to step up for it.



I know this sound a bit harsh, but seriously, we wouldn’t accept the same behaviour from a non-indie maker. We accept it in the polish world because it’s more personal, because we know the girls, and possibly because we feel that a little bit of their current popularity rubs off on us. That is not how it should be. They want us to buy their stuff, don’t forget that. They make polish, and anyone can actually do that if they have a mind to. If you want to make it AND sell it, do it properly, don’t take your customers too much for granted. Fashion moves on extremely quickly don’t forget, and customer loyalty is a very easy thing to fuck up. Tomorrow you’re history if you’re not careful.

How do y’all feel about this? Please let me know in the comments below. Is it okay for these businesses to leave messages unanswered? Do you continue shopping in shops that are sending out your goods way too late and make excuses every time? How about the ones who make no effort to help you in your efforts to spend money with them, doing quite the opposite in fact?

Or - do you support the good indie makers out there who value your business, want you to wear their product and who are willing to go a few extra yards for their customers? Do you offer them your customer loyalty? I know I do, because I am like that!

Thank you for your attention.

17 comments:

  1. I'm with you all the way!
    In regards to delays it can however be out of the indie makers hands, but I agree if it seems to be basically every time you order, it really is unprofessional.
    One brand I really love used to be that way, fortunately not any more, but I WAS on the brink of saying NO more...

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    1. I think a lot of them start up as a cozy spare time thing. Then suddenly the brand gains popularity and grows way faster than expected - and some of the indie makers are overwhelmed and not at all prepared. They strive to cope but at some point it's no longer possible - and then all of the above begins.
      If they it this point doesn't get help the spiral only goes one way, and that's downwards...

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    2. I know that they start up as a spare time thing, but at some point they need to make a choice imo. Is it a business or not?! :)
      I hate to be a nag when my polishes aren't shipped, but on the other hand: It's my money that's out there - and I definitely want something for them. :)

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    3. I was not defending them, merely guessing how many of them end up in that downward spiralling...

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    4. I know and I totally agree :)

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  2. I don't buy indies. OK, I bought one. Simply, the shipping is too expensive. But I don't like when I have to ask about my orders in general after a few days and after I had asked, they were shipped. I usually give 2-4 days for shipping and more days than that are too long. I come back to the store again only if it's the one that has the stuff I want in their offer.

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    1. Shipping is expensive, also for me, but I really like some of those pretty indies, that's why I try to work my way around the high postage prices by buying polishes together with friends who live close by and suchlike.

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  3. I am sooo with you in this! A indie polish maker is a shop owner first and should of course answer mails and send the purchased polishes in the time promised. Some indie shop owners do this perfectly. Others are not so willing to offer products and customer service for fans overseas. I have completely stopped buying polishes from a brand I loved because I do not like their selling strategy. In the time US-customers can buy 3 or 4 new collections there is not one single new collection available in Europe. And shipping to Europe from the original shop owner is extremely expensive. Sorry, but that does just not work for me.

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    1. I agree with you, there are a lot of good indie shop owners out there, and I think I'll dedicate a post to them as well, because they deserve to be named as well.

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  4. I love Indies, and I don't mind paying extra for the product or shipping. But for me it is a business and as such I expect professional customer service. A simple email can take the sting out of an unexpected delay. A reputation takes a long time to create but can be destroyed in an instant. I vote with my wallet. Good service will always get return custom if I get poor service I go elsewhere.

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    1. Communication is key for me. I actually wouldn't mind delays much if the show owner contacted me herself and didn't wait for me to get impatient.
      I definitely vote with my wallet too. That's the only thing that really works in the long run.

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  5. I have only started buying indie polishes but have to say I have had WONDERFUL customer service from Smitten Polish. Just wanted to put it out there - beautiful polishes but also good customer service and fast replies!

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    1. That's great to hear! I've decided to make a follow up post on this with all the positive experiences I've had, because there are obviously a lot of positivity too :)

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  6. I've never bought any 'indies' (I have DLs and aEngland etc., Lol I know if I start, I'll be VERY poor ;-)).

    But I'm with you on this. Regardless if it's polish or not. You expect good customer services. I used to work in a customer facing role and did my best to help each and everyone. No matter how many I saw a day, the one I was with was the most important person in the world. Then on to the next. If I needed to sort something out for them and it took a few days, I'd always phone them to keep them up-to-date with what was happening.

    Bad communication sucks big time. No matter if you are getting 10 emails or 10,000 emails a day, you should get back to them! I know I would. Auto message aren't great, are they. You prefer something more personal and that does make a difference - yup I'm like that too!

    Being flexible is VERY important too. After all you are one given them money for their product. You need a bit of give and take. And if they are willing to help out, you do feel better and more likely to use their service again AND tell others. Word of mouth is excellent free advertising ;-)

    It is a business at the end of the day. No point in having a fancy website, great photos and publicity if you aren't good at dealing with the customers.

    I won't mention names or shops but I used to shop and spent lots of money in a certain place, on polish. One of the assistant always called me and kept the new polishes for me. I'd go in and get them on my days off. This person left :-( and I was promised by one of the colleagues I'd get a phone call and message to say the new ones were out and I'd get them put aside for me. Never happened. I went in and asked about it and they said sorry they would call me in future. 2 years later I've NEVER had a phone call. I rarely go back into that shop now and spend my money elsewhere. My husband also went in to buy me some, and the assistant was also was nice it him. After the assistant left and my husband went in the other colleagues treated him like sh!t. I thought screw them. :-(

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    1. That's exactly what happens when a shop stop caring. You get a costumer that returns if you do like you did: treat them like the most important person in the world.

      Word of mouth. That's why I'm trying to do here - also to show that there are some of us who wants good customer service (again).

      Thank you for your input, I appreciate it! ♥

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  7. "All the NOs I got from this shop owner has made me stop buying her polishes at all, and I even consider selling off all the ones I’ve got. Yes, I am like that" - I'd do like you said too ;)

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    1. Vote with your wallet. That's the only way! :D

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