the thing i’m afraid to tell you about Jess LC

First off, I’d like to say that I had a great weekend in Washington DC with our BWI Workshop! I will have more photos and details to come later this week. I’m also taking today off as I have mentioned. But I wanted to drop by MML quickly and share a breakthrough I’ve had… just a few hours ago.

The Thing I’m Afraid to Tell You About Jess LC

As the Things I’m Afraid to Tell You movement continues to grow (Meg is doing a new wave of the series today), I’m taking this truth-telling to let go of something I’ve been ashamed of over at Jess LC.

Since last year I’ve been designing and creating iPad 2 and 3 covers. The color combinations and the overall design have been very popular, and I am so thankful for the success that it has been. As you all know I am a completely self-taught designer and I have only recently begun working with local manufacturers to create these new cases.

It has honestly been one of the most challenging projects of my thirteen year run in business. Designing accessories is not extremely challenging. But applying an accessory mindset to a decidedly tech product, is a balance that is extremely hard to reach – especially as a 27-year-old with no background or major resources like most out there producing most portfolio style iPad covers.

Our cases themselves have met every expectation that I personally had for my “dream iPad 2 case,” but they have not been everyone’s cup of tea. While we have had hundreds of satisfied, excited, and happy iPad case customers, we have also had more issues with this style than any other product we have ever designed combined. About 9% of people who purchase this case are not satisfied.

While that number still is pretty small considering the circumstances, it has been very hard on me personally. You see, I desperately want each and every case to be as perfect as possible for everyone. But reality is not perfect. And what’s more, even if it is perfect for most people, it is not perfect for all people.

So now that we’ve blown through our inventory of gold iPad case styles, I am now faced with a decision: Do I continue to make more for all those who are so excited about them? Or do I stop making them and avoid the disappointed customers?

It’s been a tough battle in my mind, let me tell you.

I would rather have a 1% customer service request rate which is consistent with our other products than the 9% that occurs with iPad cases.

But I also know that if I drop the cases, I am going to get tons of emails from people who really, really, really want us to keep making them.

So this morning I came to a conclusion: unlike the industry standard of sharing bullet point lists of the product details on the product page for this item, I am coming clean with the pros and cons of these cases right up front so customers can make a decision.

That’s right, all the good and bad points about the case are now front and center on each product page.

My hope is that by being this honest about the cases, customers who might be disappointed by certain aspects will know this ahead of time and not buy the case in the first place. Thereby lowering our overall customer service rate for the product.

And, for those who fully understand the case’s features, they will still be able to order and enjoy the colors and features they are so excited about.

While I realize that this much information might be a little to “TMI,” I think the peace of mind that I will feel about them is priceless.

My hope is that we have more informed customers who appreciate our efforts to provide the best case we possibly can, while still understanding the limitations of the product.

Phew. It’s now out there. It feels peaceful, freeing, and real.

Thank you all so very much for your support.

 

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Oh man, I cannot tell you how much I love this post. As a fellow designer, I get EXACTLY where you’re coming from. I too have occasional snafus with products and it’s the 1 customer out of 10 that really gets under my skin. I am such a people pleaser and I cannot stand for someone to be upset or disappointed.

  2. carolyn

    how refreshing! thanks for sharing this, jess. as someone who sells hand painted pfpieces, i struggle with a similar issue. i hope that customers appreciate the unique personality that comes with hand work, but at the same time, i know they are expecting the perfection of a mass produced product. i’ve been lucky to only have a few customers come forward with dissatisfaction but it feels like SUCH a blow when that happens, doesn’t it? while i try to hold the products to a high standard, it would be impossible to create perfection 100% of the time, so being upfront with a message like yours is the only way to go. it’s so nice to hear that i’m not the only one! keep on sharing those things you’re afraid to tell us 🙂

  3. Kristal

    I love what you’re doing. It’s not TMI – AT ALL. You are saving yourself the time of dealing with 9% unhappy customers, and you’re sparing them the dissappointment of buying something they don’t love. You can spend that time on the happy customers & making more products. It’s a totally win-win situation!

  4. Kendra

    As a frequent online shopper, I love this! I know it’s not the same thing, but I always really appreciate when online clothing stores will say in the item’s description if the item runs small or large, or tight in the bust or loose in the waist, etc. Candor & clarity are so crucial when buying online – it can be such a pain returning things, or to discover it’s not what you had hoped.

    On another note – have you considered making cases like this, but designed to hold a notepad or journal? For those of us who prefer a throwback way of taking notes (or, honestly, the desire to put forward the funds for an iPad) 🙂 But maybe in an animal-friendly material?

    This is brill, and I think people will appreciate it. Keep it up! xoxo

  5. Blair

    That’s tough, some people are impossible to please. I learned that quickly after working in a retail shop. I think people will appreciate your honesty!

    And I’ve loved this series. It’s finally made me admit that I’m getting burnt out on a current project and it needs to change! Thanks for the extra push 🙂

    http://design-that-inspires.com/2012/05/burnt-out/

  6. Good for you!!! Look at you go! 🙂
    I think, keep them. They are too cute not to be out there. You are doing great! Wish we could have linked up this weekend. Can’t wait to see your pics!

  7. Heather

    Jess, I just wanted to write that your updated descriptions have made me want one of these cases even MORE, and I think you should definitely continue production. I do wish you had a complete picture of the new binding-less version instead of just the corner, some of us have trouble visualizing details 🙂

  8. What a great post and so empowering for you to just come out with everything…good on you!
    xxx dj

  9. What a great post and so empowering for you to just come out with everything…good on you!
    xxx dj

  10. Glenyse

    “Everything was fine, but the beans were too salty.” My great-grandmother would tell me that. To paraphrase, everyone can’t be happy, everyone won’t be happy. But someone will be happy and for those who love your products, they will continue to evangelize and purchase from you.

    Great post. Hope you get that percentage down.

  11. Why don’t you just get those 9% on a survey? Why aren’t they satisfied? Is there a feature they wanted that can be included?
    With all honesty, when the covers came out I wanted one, I even e-mailed you (or whoever receives the e-mails) asking for shipping options, but I never made the purchase. Why? Even though I think they are gorgeous, and that you did a fantastic job, I really needed a cover with a stand, that’s all, a minor but important feature for me.
    Now, in my opinion, 9% is pretty small and we can never satisfy every single person out there, every person has different needs so don’t take it so hard on you 😉

  12. Why don’t you just get those 9% on a survey? Why aren’t they satisfied? Is there a feature they wanted that can be included?
    With all honesty, when the covers came out I wanted one, I even e-mailed you (or whoever receives the e-mails) asking for shipping options, but I never made the purchase. Why? Even though I think they are gorgeous, and that you did a fantastic job, I really needed a cover with a stand, that’s all, a minor but important feature for me.
    Now, in my opinion, 9% is pretty small and we can never satisfy every single person out there, every person has different needs so don’t take it so hard on you 😉

  13. LOVE your ipad cases and am saving to get one in the near future! Thanks for uncovering all the pros and cons (which I can’t understand/agree with the 9%)! Your products are authentic and true to life as you are Jess 🙂

  14. LOVE your ipad cases and am saving to get one in the near future! Thanks for uncovering all the pros and cons (which I can’t understand/agree with the 9%)! Your products are authentic and true to life as you are Jess 🙂

  15. Jess

    Thank you all so much for your support and feedback!! I’m still on the fence about making a new round of them… but I’ll keep you posted!

  16. Jess

    Thank you all so much for your support and feedback!! I’m still on the fence about making a new round of them… but I’ll keep you posted!

  17. Thank you for posting this, I JUST found out about your cases and I am dying to have one! They are beautiful but I definitely understand your situation. People can’t be pleased all the time–but you’re being a great business woman by posting this! I wish you all the best and I’m sure people will be estatic no matter what… BUT, I won’t lie… I would still love to get my hands on a gold case! 😉 beautiful work!

  18. Thank you for posting this, I JUST found out about your cases and I am dying to have one! They are beautiful but I definitely understand your situation. People can’t be pleased all the time–but you’re being a great business woman by posting this! I wish you all the best and I’m sure people will be estatic no matter what… BUT, I won’t lie… I would still love to get my hands on a gold case! 😉 beautiful work!

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