Before we get started I want to clarify what this post is and isn’t about. Plain and simple, this is a candid question and answer with Jenn from Daily Hues Nail Lacquer. There will be no editing to her direct answers. There will be no sugar coating or prancing around answers. There will be no burning her or her brand at the stake either. Warning, this is a long read ahead.
Jenn and Daily Hues Lacquer have been the source of much speculation and rumors this year. Hearsay is a powerful thing that can make or break a brand. Being misinformed is one of my biggest frustrations as a blogger and customer. There is no excuse for it. But there is also no excuse for lack of communication and habitual shipping delays. So here we will be presenting facts, clean cut. The rest is up to you to decide because at the end of the day it’s your hard-earned money. Having a customer is not a right to be taken lightly especially in an over-inflated community.
Before we begin, I'd like to note that although Jenn is apologetic – and I think that is something we can all agree on - I have asked her to refrain from answering questions with apologies. It’s not what we want.
2015 felt like it had a lot of drama for your brand Jenn. Would you agree with that?
Absolutely, some warranted and some not so warranted.
You have displayed lackluster communication skills this year. I have told you as much on several occasions. What are you doing to improve this business aspect?
I learned a lot this year, about myself, and how I was doing business. It honestly became overwhelming as business was growing, and business practices were not going along with the growth. I have learned to take more notes, write things down and stop depending on my memory of something I have said. Still a habit I am getting on board with, but still something I am working on.
It always feels like an endless cycle. Someone calls you out on your behavior on social media, you respond publicly and apologize. People commend you on your upfront honesty and it seemingly dies down. A few weeks (maybe months) it happens again.
What do you think started the down fall? Or really this endless cycle of bad customer service?
I cannot pinpoint a day or week, or month that my customer service started lacking. I think it all goes back to the way I was processing orders, the way I started doing business did not mesh with the growth and I never took the time to sit down, and reevaluate until a few months ago. I never wanted or want to disappoint anyone, I enjoy what I do, but life has gotten in the way. It isn’t fair to the customer, it isn’t an excuse either. I do have a full time job, I am in college, and I am a single mother. Some may ask, why take on all these things? Why even still make polish and make some upset or angry? Well I treat the polish as something that makes me happy, and I enjoy doing it. Almost like a therapy. I am also a little hard headed. It is hard for me to ask for help, but I have a local friend who has stepped in and realized I needed help. We have had many long talks about what I need to change, suggestions, and what she has offered up for assisting me as well. She has helped me with the reevaluations of how I process orders, and it has really helped. I have been on a great streak the last few months – getting orders out, being communicative, and responsive and all around open about any delays that come to light.
The giveaway prizes… A touchy subject, I’m sure. To recap in a very brief/vague manner: There was a giveaway where your polishes were a prize; although it was hosted by someone else you were responsible for sending the prize. The winner was announced and you were given the address but no prize was sent. The winner sent you emails. The host sent you emails. Weeks, months and still no prize. What happened?
There is no excuse for my lack of communication and downright forgetfulness on this. I sent it, it got lost. I forgot to send it, I had other issues with order influx, moving and a few other life situations. It turned into a horrible mess, and I don’t blame anyone but myself.
In your heart of hearts you know this behavior is unacceptable. You have no quarrels about admitting your wrong doing. But then why does it happen again? Especially for a situation you don’t even have to be in. I mean if you are overwhelmed and busy, why do you put yourself out there and join in on these giveaways?
I have actually stepped way back on doing any type of giveaways. I have been asked and bowed out of a lot lately. Just because of the issues I have had in the past. I just recently held my 2 year anniversary and had quite a few indies donate and that went off without a hitch. I am in 2 swap groups as well, one of whom had a member publicly (in the FB group) say she was leery about me in there but I have not had any problems there. I have had good giveaways too. The ones I messed up I have more than made up for it by sending at least 5-8 extra polishes just because I ended being a jerk. I also was in another blogger giveaway and that prize was sent 3 days after the winner was announced with my regular orders.
Moving on to a similar scenario… Some claims surfaced of customers waiting over a month to receive their packages. To be clear, what is your turn around time for packages to ship?
Lately with my new organizing of my office and polishes – which I have to say I am excited about, I am getting packages out within 2-4 days. Some are taking a week, although I am letting them know if there are any delays because “XYZ” if I can’t get them out in less than 5 days. I went out and bought small baskets, labeled them all with the polish name to separate them, and as I make batches, I get them labeled and actually bubble wrap them so when orders come in I can basically grab the polish, put it in the mailer, add my business cards and it is out the door. This has helped exponentially with cutting down process times. I think the ones where they have waited a month is now few and far between, those were some from last year’s 50% off sale that pretty much drowned me, and honestly I was not prepared for. Sales are now less (I haven’t done another 50% off sale), but my Black Friday sales were great, and I got all the orders out almost right away that evening or the following Monday. This is what I mean by things are getting better with my business practices and I have been having great success the last few months.
There have been customers whom quote you saying you forgot to send out their package. Have you ever said that before, “Opps, I forgot to send it” to a customer and thought it was a valid response?
I have forgotten some packages before. I have said “Opps, I forgot”. Is it valid not likely, is it honest – yes. Have I sent an extra polish for a mixup? Absolutely! I always try and make it right, I always ask what I can do to make it better. I think people appreciate that.
Again, I understand you’re a one woman show. So are many other indies. I feel there is a piece of the puzzle missing here for you. We are going into a new year, what are you changing in order to current these shipping issues?
I will continue to keep myself organized. Like I mentioned above, the organizing of my office has really helped me keep track, and get things out on time. It wasn’t like I was not organized before, but my volume of orders have increased and I never did anything about it. I have learned that humility is ok, and asking for help is ok too. I have asked many of my friends in the polish community for feedback and it has been to my benefit.
Emails… all cards on the table here, how often do you check and respond to your customer emails? Do you have an actual business structure where you dedicate certain times a day to respond? For example, do you tend to stay away from your business email on the weekends?
I usually respond same day, on any day except Thursdays mostly. Thursdays I have class this semester from after I get off work until about 8pm. I also don’t do any processing of orders. My new semester starts in January and I don’t know what day I have class so it may not be Thursdays. The weekends is when I get a lot of my work done actually, I may not answer as many emails, but I am making new batches, restocking, bottling, labeling etc.
Facebook has become a vital part of an indie reputation. It’s the easy go-to source to find out the 411 on a brand. Why did you delete your Facebook business page? I understand you have a fan group, but a lot of people felt you deleted it as a way to get rid of some of the negative comments being left constantly.
I never actually thought about it looking like I was trying to hide. The Facebook business page was always an afterthought. It was pretty pitiful actually. The fan group was created and it became a much more interactive page, which is what I wanted for the business page but it just never transpired as such. I think constantly is a strong word however, there were negative comments and I responded to them, just like I do in any other forum. If people want me to bring back the business page, I would happy to. I just need that feedback. Maybe a page admin is in order. Something I have never done before, because I never thought my brand would be big enough or anything like that. If someone has thoughts, I would be happy to discuss that in the comments or an email. I think I can just bring it back through Facebook, and nothing will have changed.
Speaking of Facebook, let’s talk now about the latest situation you have found yourself in to close the year. A common occurrence is for indies to offer their fan group a custom polish every so-often. Although there is no concreate rule, fans are usually under the impression that a group custom is made exclusively for fans of the group and not sold anywhere else. Agree or disagree?
I absolutely agree, unless an indie has stated they will sell it to the general public, or someone buys the rights to that polish.
Now for the situation you’re in. This was NOT a Daily Hues Lacquer fan group polish, but a polish created for a nail polish group not associated with your brand. Correct?
That is correct, a different FB polish group where I asked if I could do a group custom and if anyone would be interested.
So in your own words, what happened?
I created the custom for Unicorn Blood Cult (UBC). After the approval of my inquiry, I posted again what they would like to see. A general inquiry brought a bunch of responses, but glitter, neon, and sparkles was most of the consensus. I had used this awesome neon glitter mix in one of my Bi Monthly Duos from 2014. I had some left over, and it fit into the request. I used that and micro silver holo glitter, not the linear holo base from 2014. It was such a pretty polish. After everyone got their polish, I made another batch after ordering more glitter. I went through that batch as well. I had some neon glitter mix left over, and it wasn’t enough to do another batch and pretty much everyone in the group who was in the group had purchased theirs. I had a local bazaar coming up, I used what was left, added more silver holo to make it more silver with hints of the neon which was more the Unicorn Blood Cult – more neon less silver. I renamed it Unicorn Magic, made 7 bottles of it. I sold 2 at the show. One of those, who purchased at the show posted the color in my FB group. That is where the post started. I totally should have asked the admin of UBC if it was ok that I tweaked the custom and renamed it because it was similar, I know that know. While I was prepping for the bazaar, I didn’t think to ask only because this was something I wasn’t mass producing, just a local show, never to be seen again. Just something like a show special. I wasn’t hiding it, I wasn’t keeping any secrets. I just could have asked the admin and probably none of this would have happened. I make customs all the time, group, and individually. I never have reproduced them for sale in my shop. I make group customs in my FB group every couple of months as well. I have that listing password protected and I even did the same for the UBC. It was honestly an unfortunate misunderstanding and I still am just as sorry from 2 days ago to the admin and anyone else who I may have upset.
Do you honestly feel the polishes are different? The response has been half and half for the most part.
I honestly think they are. I tried posting that in a photo comment to show the differences, some saw it some didn’t. There really isn’t much more I can say about it. I thought they were.
The situation has been resolved, but for the sake of having a clear cut understanding… What is your policy on group customs and personally requested customs?
I do not use them for general consumption through my shop. I do however keep a backup bottle of personal customs just in case they break in transit, or they want another one. They are in my office stored on the top shelf and sit there. I don’t use them, no one does. Group customs I also keep. I have them in the same shelf as the personal customs.
I know these haven’t been easy questions to answer so I only have this last one left. What can we expect from Daily Hues Nail Lacquer in 2016? No, not in terms of collections or polish releases. You excel in creating gorgeous polishes, no argument there. What I want to know is what are you going to be doing to improve yourself and the business? Why should we – customers and bloggers – continue to want to support you?
No Roselynn, these have not been easy questions. But, I am always honest in any situation, good or bad. I have put my heart and soul into DHNL and I deserve the right to stand up for my brand, and represent my brand. I only expect to grow, and I am now well aware of being more aware of my surroundings regarding the business front. I can’t keep the same business practices if I continue to grow. Things may need reorganizing even again if things continue to pick up. I am ok with that. I am ok with asking for help. I have this complex I guess you could call it, I just feel like if I can show everyone in my life that I can do all these things without help I am some sort of superwoman. I am not though. I am a mother, an employee, a business owner, and a student who wants to be a good example for my daughter, who wants to do things that are pleasing to myself, and give the world some kick ass polish too. I love my day job, I love my nail polish job too. I never want to fail myself, or anyone who has supported me. Just know, I know how to reach out for help and who I can ask. I know how to grow my business and am aware of the signs when things need to happen. Am I perfect? Clearly no. Will I ever be? Nope! But I can always improve. I can show past, present and future customers and bloggers that I have a great brand, I am a good person, with good intentions. I can show them that I can make things right if I mess up, and I am more open and honest about things then I have in the past. To anyone who has read this, thanks for listening, and thank you Roselynn for the opportunity.
I want to thank Jenn for agreeing to sit down and answer all of my questions. As a long-time reviewer for Daily Hues Lacquer, I have felt first hand the frustration that her customers have felt with her lack of communication skills. But I wanted to give her the opportunity to clear the air and get straight forward answers to the questions I had. Personally, I am giving Jenn and Daily Hues Lacquer a second chance this upcoming year of 2016. I'm a believer in second chances before the final cut off. I want to wish her the best of luck, because as a supporter of small businesses I want to see her succeed.
I hope this has been informative for you guys. Especially for those of you who have purchased and perhaps had a bad experience or for those of you who have hesitated purchasing because of gossip. Let me know what your thoughts are and if you have any other questions that maybe weren't asked here today.