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Monday, January 3, 2011

Failure Is Not An Option (or My Hero, Princess Lasertron)

Happy 2011!

I was originally intending to post about Robot In Bloom's news for the new year, when I read this excellent post by one of my design and business heroes, Princess Lasertron (aka - Megan Hunt).

I'll admit, I wasn't brave enough to write about this failure when it happened, but Megan's blog post made me realize that I should share my negatives, especially if they turn into positives!

For those who don't wish to read the entire post (thought you really should), here are a few excerpts to give you the gist of her "failure" story...

I can’t stand mistakes, I can’t tolerate them, but I believe that anyone who claims they don’t make mistakes is not cut out to own a business. The challenge is to be quick to recognize your mistakes, acknowledge them, and find creative ways to correct them.


Over 70 hours of painstaking custom work–for brides, no less–lost in the mail and never delivered ... The right thing to do is refund their money for the flowers they never got to use and enjoy, and it hurts me a lot. It’s the first time I’ve ever had this happen, and what makes it most frustrating is that it was completely out of my hands.


There is a lesson here and I hate that I had to learn it the hard way. I hate it. I am still sick about it. But the best thing to do is to talk about it transparently and show how mistakes and accidents can happen in any business, and show compassion for the customers who are hurt by the errors.

After reading that Megan - craft business goddess - has problems occasionally, AND was brave enough to write about them, I just had to comment. Usually I just admire her work from afar, but this time I left this comment and I wanted to also share it with my readers:

A similar thing happened to me recently and it truly broke my heart. I create paper flower bouquets for “offbeat” brides and I have the same issues as you – once the package leaves my hands, it’s up to the USPS, etc. to make sure it gets there safely. For one of my brides, her shipment of 80 Oriental poppies showed up with about 40 of them squished beyond repair.

I panicked when I heard the news, but I was really proud of my initial reaction… Immediately, I knew I had to remake and ship the flowers because that’s what’s important to me. Yes, there’s too much expectation of “perfection” on wedding days, but it’s my personal goal to make sure each of my customers gets exactly what they were expecting whether it was my error or not.

It was really cool to find out that, in a crisis, I practice what I preach and that my heart is in my business for the right reasons!

So, yeah... Sometimes you surprise yourself in a crisis, but I think it's an even better feeling when you're NOT surprised at your reaction!

Have you ever had a business take really good care of you? Have you ever had really crummy service? Tell me about it below! I'd like to learn from others' mistakes and make sure it never happens to my brides!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandy,
    I too make paper and button bridal bouquets,
    the thought of something being lost in the mail is almost too much to bare.
    I have been very lucky so far, having shipped from Australia to dozens and dozens of brides around the world, not lost one package yet.
    But it is a reality of being a online seller.
    Its nice to hear the honesty about what can happen, and i should now appreciate the mail service everytime something is delivered safe and sound !


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