Wednesday, May 25, 2011

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics: A Quick FDA Update

After the home visits to GlitterSniffer Cosmetics customers began a couple of weeks ago I again  contacted FDA with information regarding the recall. I informed them of the issues regarding the recall in terms of the Enforcement Report, the distribution of the recalled product sent in per the recall FAQ, and pictures showing labeling, possible injury, and the December 2010 photos of Lela's pigment stained hand.

I was contacted by FDA today regarding the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics recall. I responded and am hoping to do a telephone interview this week. There is at least one other person who was contacted and is working on setting up an interview as well.

I am spending the evening putting together a comprehensive list of instances of FDA regulation concerns with GlitterSniffer Cosmetics, in addition to questions I would like answered about the recall. While FDA does not comment on ongoing investigations I am hoping that I can get a few answers to know what has happened thus far.

I have been sent emails from a few people who would like their information passed along to FDA. I plan on including this information as well. If you'd like to supply any information to FDA please feel free to email me.

At some point I do plan on posting about GlitterSniffer Bath, but it appears that will be strictly for purposes of chronicling that it existed, as the shop is now empty and no one has checked in in a month.

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.

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