Monday, May 23, 2011

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics: The Perfect Storm

One of the overwhelming questions that is asked about the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics debacle is "How did this happen?" It's quite easy as someone standing on the outside looking in to say you would never place another order when you are still waiting delivery of another, or to ask why anyone would ignore clear signs that all was not right in GlitterWorld.

Well, for one thing, not all orders were not delivered. Mine came promptly, efficiently, well packaged, and any communication I had with Lela Warren was polite and friendly. My order was at the end of 2008. A closer look shows that GS didn't really start selling cosmetics to the public at large until late 2008.

Here is the GlitterSniffer Etsy as it appeared in February 2008. No pigments and an open invitation to Lela Warren's MySpace. 


In May 2008 the solid perfumes make their appearance, but again, no pigments.The offer to get to know more about Lela's life is still there.


October 2008, the cosmetics make their appearance. Also of note, GS closes their shop to attend shows. Recognizing they are going to be too busy to do both, they shut down rather than cause any customer service issues.


December 2008 (the time of my order), GlitterSniffer Cosmetics as we now know it is in full swing, with an announcement of a sell out at Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2008.


To be perfectly honest, had I enjoyed the products themselves I would have been a repeat customer of GlitterSniffer Cosmetics. It's understandable, given the way the company started out, that people would continue to trust and buy.

There is also this:


And this:



For those that purchased GlitterSniffer Cosmetics regularly there was much more than just makeup involved, and a brand identity being bought into. The brand identity that was GlitterSniffer Cosmetics was Lela Warren, starting back from the time when she sold DIY craft items. She put a human face to the brand.

There were also rewards for being "loyal" and extras when something went wrong.



When you are emotionally invested in a person, not just as a brand, but as a friend, especially when they haven't ever let you down before (or have made it up to you), you're going to believe them when they say things like this happen:





Customers were also increasingly hit with mixed messages. There are countless instances of Lela asking people to "hop on chat" to discuss GS business, and the invitation to 'friend' her personal profile as another means of communication, but then numerous status updates saying she would not discuss GS business on her personal profile (all while continuing advertising and sales from that same personal page). 


One example of many

And what about those that did decide to question or ultimately sever their relationship with GlitterSniffer Cosmetics? Aside from being deleted and possibly banned from the Fan Page, anyone who spoke out risked the loss of not only their glitter, but friendships with both Lela and some of the GlitterSniffer Fans. It was made very clear there was a price to be paid for disloyalty.








Take a larger than life personality that started off doing things the correct way (in terms of customer service), who befriended her customers, offered a unique (though unapproved) product that boosted not only self esteem but also a strong sense of community, and couple that with an environment where it was not only frowned upon to speak your mind but resulted in retribution from several sources, one can see how something like the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics debacle happened. It was these combination of factors that all coalesced to leave us where we are now: Not a word from GlitterSniffer Cosmetics, no refunds, a shattered sense of trust, and an FDA investigation. It was a set of extraordinary circumstances that brought both GlitterSniffer Cosmetics and their customers to where they are today and it is extremely important to be aware of these factors to guard against it ever happening again.


2 comments:

  1. This comment is a Copy/Paste from the Complaints FB.

    Sparklecrack Central
    I keep trying to leave a comment and a link on that post on the GSC blog, but it won't let me. I'm stuck in preview mode. So I'll leave it here (apologies if it shouldn't be here): Lela set up a sick system - probably not knowingly; but she did indeed set up and perpetuate a sick system. I found this link a while back, and it applies to so very many situations...including this one:

    http://issendai.livejournal.com/572510.html

    That isn't my LJ, I didn't write that, I only wish I could take credit for that piece, because it's excellent. I just found it, read it, and found myself nodding. A lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sparklecrack- Thank you so much for this comment. I read that post as well and was trying to find it again to reference in the Complaints post. It's extremely well written. I agree, it was a very sick system, one I want to think was unintentional. My fear, and I think from what I've seen, a valid one, is that unless people recognize those signs it's apt to happen again. The culture of silence needs to stop. People have a right to be heard; good, bad or indifferent. There is another side to that coin as well though. If that bad or indifferent opinion is couched in vitriol it perpetuates the issue. Not that it discounts that people shouldn't be upset or angry when they have an unpleasant experience but to give someone that kind of power over your emotions means that they are continuing that hold. No one says you have to forget or even forgive, but I hope that everyone can eventually find a place where they can heal from it.

    ReplyDelete

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