My name is Chloe B., I’m a shoe designer and business owner. I separated from my business partner, due to creative differences a little over two years ago. As a result, I decided to strike out on my own. I felt empowered in my decision to run my own company by all the positive feedback that came pouring in. Much to my surprise, I was able to continue working with many of my network
of vendors and suppliers. The customer base that I had developed over years, was more than eager for me to debut my designs and I was well on my way to writing new orders!
Fast forward to the highly anticipated Holiday Season. One of the larger orders I had fulfilled was shipped out using a third-party logistics company I had been tethered to in my previous business partnership. They were expensive but, I had always assumed that if you pay more, then you can expect quality in service. The order I had written for my customer, a mid-sized retailer was due to be delivered in time before their in-store promotions began. Not only did I want the exposure for my new collection in that particular market, but I was also counting on a reorder as I was sure my shoes would be the perfect fit for their clientele.
Sadly, the opportunity to test my collection for the season was in serious jeopardy, as I had received THE dreaded email, no one ever wants to read, just lurking in my inbox. The message read as follows “Hi Chloe, we’ve been trying to reach you, could you give us a call regarding the bill of lading, number…” I knew in that moment this wasn’t going to be good news. I had no choice, I needed to make that call. After being passed around to multiple people, I was finally connected to someone who could give me some answers to the message I had received. “Hey this is John and I regret to inform you that we are unable to locate your shipment at this time.” My heart dropped that very instance. I had promised this order would be delivered on time, now it wouldn’t arrive at all because it was missing!
Yes, I had cargo insurance, and I know that a claim had been started. However, during the whole journey, I had little to no transparency as to where my goods were being temporarily warehoused before they met their final destination with my customer. I lost it with the agent over the phone, asking “Why I am just now hearing about this only moments before the delivery was scheduled to arrive?!” Where was the accountability? Why was I paying high brokers fees when no one can provide me with the answers I need?
Needless to say, things did not go as planned. I had to inform my customer of the devastating news and immediately began to coordinate pulls from other orders just to save face. I learned some powerful lessons from this experience. First off, paying more doesn’t guarantee quality or speed. Also, just because a relationship worked in the past doesn’t mean it will meet your goals for
the future. Lastly, there’s always a smarter way to get the job done!