The older I get, the more annoyed I get with advertising campaigns and social media accounts. I feel almost embarrassed to state the obvious, but if you’re running a business, you should probably learn how to run your business well. Before people state that I have no idea what I’m talking about, I previously made my livelihood as a manager of a global British brand and in a high-performing store of a multiple CFDA recipient. While social media can be used as an advertising platform (and should be), when it’s solely used as free advertising, I’m no longer a follower. I can just read your website.
Before I begin with all these problems that have bothered me very much as a customer, I want to explicitly state that I do not request samples, nor do I profit by having this blog (all ads listed on the site do not benefit me, but rather, WordPress). I do not use affiliate links. I purchase everything I’ve ever written about unless it was given to me by a friend who has absolutely no affiliation with any company. I have a full-time analyst job and do not wish to pursue other career opportunities outside my industry. This little blog was born out of a longtime love for lingerie and to write about what I liked. Writing about companies I’ve dealt with honestly is important, and I would never ever bully or threaten a brand by using this blog in order to get special treatment – and let’s face it, I’m just an insignificant speck in a sea of well-written blogs. Without further ado, here are five things that I look for in lingerie companies that determine whether or not I will support them or continue to support them in the future.
1. Respond to your customers on social media (and to their emails).
First and foremost, why do companies have social media accounts if they refuse to interact with their customers? I honestly don’t get this. If you don’t care about the “social” part, stick with the “media,” and maintain your website. I’ve tweeted and posted on Gossard’s Facebook page and have even sent in emails inquiring about fit, and to this day, I’ve received nothing. Half the time, their advertised promotions never work, and I see numerous customers inquiring about them with no response. Big “faceless” companies have provided me with better service than Gossard ever has. I unfollowed them on all social media accounts because what’s the point? I can look at pictures on their website if I wanted to. If I ever purchase Gossard again in the future, I’ll purchase from ASOS or a boutique. Perhaps their focus isn’t on retail sales. I don’t know; I can’t figure it out.
2. If your customers are ready to make a purchase, tell them where they can make a purchase if you’re not in the retail business.
After much excitement over Huit’s SS15 collection, I contacted Huit and inquired where I could buy their Fleur de Peau collection. The Ivy colorway was released in December, but after searching for it online at all their linked stockists in January (both international and domestic), I couldn’t find it. I had the money, and I was ready to buy. As a customer, I don’t expect to be catered on every whim nor do I think I’m always right, but I would venture to say that it’s a good thing when your customer has the money, knows what she wants, and is ready to make a purchase. Huit is not in the retail business, so I suppose I can cut them some slack, but simultaneously, I don’t understand why it should require an hour of research to look up where I can buy their products but still come up empty-handed. I was ready to purchase the entire collection, but I spent my money elsewhere. I actually like Huit’s lingerie a lot, so if I see a store carrying their stuff in the future, I will probably make a purchase if I happen to see it.
3. Don’t steal your customers’ pictures.
Captain Obvious, but I’m still shocked I see it happen and find it extremely distasteful when companies like Agent Provocateur do it. Sometimes they give credit, sometimes they don’t; I guess it depends how their PR people feel that day. One customer asked for credit, which AP has ignored without update. If you want to share your customers pictures (please do! this is awesome – I LOVE when companies do this!), please give credit. It should go without saying. If your customers are freely promoting your products, the least you can do is give them credit for any images or posts that come from them. Seriously, don’t steal it.
4. Strongly consider – and reconsider – how your brand is portrayed/advertised.
If you wish to market your brand a certain way, be aware that you may isolate some of your customers. For me, this breakup is with Bordelle. I’ve purchased quite a bit of their lingerie, but after following them on social media, I will not purchase from them again in the future even though I generally like their designs. The incessant “bad/kinky/power bitch” message is incredibly off-putting. While I understand the philosophy behind reclaiming words, I am still uncomfortable with “bitch” for the following reasons: women are still being called bitches for voicing their opinions, and lingerie still has social stigma attached to it. To me, these advertising campaigns feed into the stereotype that lingerie is solely for men or used as a weapon of power over men by a certain “type” of (straight) woman. This may not be an issue for some people, but I personally do not like it. I don’t feel that being called a “bitch” in any sense is empowering, nor do I strive to fit the notion of what a “powerful” woman is to one brand.
I feel that a strong, confident woman can be portrayed much better (for example, Kiss Me Deadly is a brand that comes to mind for female-positive depictions in their advertising campaigns). I closely identify with being a strong, independent woman who has been self-sufficient. I worked long and hard with that one opportunity that appeared after 6 years of tears to get to where I am today. I bought a home. I built a boat. I’ve managed to build a great network of relationships at work and have finaaaaaaally gotten the respect of many men at work in an extremely male-dominated industry.
This scandalous/sexy/naughty thing is neither outrageous nor shocking to me. I just find it completely uninspiring.
5. Promote diversity.
I love, and I mean LOVE, when companies share photos of customers in their lingerie. LOOOOOOVE. While I do post pictures of me in companies’ lingerie for my reviews, if they don’t share it, no big deal. I don’t post for them; I post to show fit and how it looks on my body for others who may be looking for customer photos and notes. However, when companies just post customer pictures of their lingerie on thin, pretty, and tall white women even when their “other” customers share their photos, I can’t even deal with it. I mentioned this on Twitter, but if you’re a company who allegedly promotes diversity and women of all sizes, don’t curate your clientele. As a customer, this gives me the impression that you only want certain women of a certain “standard” to be shown in your lingerie. Nope & goodbye forever.
If you’re a company who doesn’t realize, recognize, or care about minority buying power or the plus-sized market, for example, learn. Furthermore, this comment should not be interpreted as to changing your niche market, nor is this to say that if you make small busted products, to start making full busted products. There are numerous companies that I admire and respect and will try to support in some shape or form even if their products are not marketed towards me. Diversity is also not exclusive to the color of one’s skin nor their size but also inclusive of sexual/gender identity/orientation.
I had touched upon this in a previous post, but I’m starting to realize that diversity is a big deal to me. I would venture to say that I’m willing to support companies based on this characteristic alone. This is just an observation, but if a company cares this much about diversity, chances are, the products they offer would be of – at least – good quality.
I speak primarily for myself as a customer, but I believe in brand loyalty and continuing support brands who value me as a customer. With these types of companies, I buy things at full price instead of only during a sale. I am willing to pay for high-quality, well-made items. Loyalty has always been important to me, and I really wish it was a quality that was still valued by many companies today.
I’m curious: as a customer, what are your dealbreakers? Are there any brands you will not purchase from? I would love to have an open discussion about this! By the way, if you are a huge fan of some of the brands I’ve had problems with, great! Please keep in mind that my bad experience does not negate your good experience and vice versa. I am not here to change your mind, nor am I here to discourage you from shopping with them ever again. :)