Is this a scam?

Is this a scam?

by Rebecca Melsky
May 16, 2019

Let me tell you about my favorite workout shorts. They are soft, stretchy, supremely comfortable yoga shorts that I bought almost 7 years ago at a Marshall’s. The waistband is the perfect rise for my short body and they don’t have extra elastic strip at the top which I kind of can’t stand, but put up with since most leggings seen to have them. They have held up to hundreds of uses and have been equally comfortable during two pregnancies as during all the time in between. I love them.

After 6 years of wearing them, I had the brilliant idea to look the brand up on-line and try to buy more. Please don’t ask me why it took me so long to think of that.

And guess what? I found them! They have a website! So I bought a pair of leggings. Yay!

Then I waited a week. Normal shipping time. No problem. Then two. Then three. No leggings. Then it was winter break and the holiday season, and I kind of forgot for a little while, but when mid-January rolled around and it had been 8 weeks since I ordered with no word about my leggings, I finally got around to emailing the company.

I replied to my receipt and the email bounced. “Message could not be delivered.”

I replied to one of the dozens of recent newsletter emails I had from the company in my Promotions folder. “Message could not be delivered.”

I went to their Facebook page and sent a message. No response.

I started leaving ALL CAPS comments on their Facebook page posts and any time an ad appeared in my feed. “I HAVEN’T RECEIVED MY ORDER AND I CAN’T GET THROUGH TO YOU.” No response.

Finally, I found an old Facebook comment from another unhappy customer and saw a woman had responded from her personal account and given her personal company email address, so I wrote to her. A few hours later, I got a response from the company e-mail. But when I tried to reply, MESSAGE COULD NOT BE DELIVERED.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but it took another 8 weeks, and finally they just refunded me even though really I JUST WANT MY LEGGINGS.

I share this absurd story because it made me realize something. Princess Awesome is primarily me, Rebecca, and my co-founder, Eva. Kerstin does marketing work for us and Erika does customer service, and we have lots of vendors we work with, but it’s basically just us. We work from our homes. We are real people. We have real kids. My house is a total mess 95% of the time.

But you don’t know that. If you’re just finding us through a Facebook ad, you have no idea that we’re a real company and not, at best, a poorly run on-line store that will take 3 months to never send you your order or, at worst, a complete scam that will steal your money.  Princess Awesome is NOT either of those things.

Just a few weeks ago, a Facebook ad for a baby-carrying device totally won me over, and I bought one. I was hoping to use it at an event about a week later. I got a notification that it shipped the day after I ordered. Perfect!

Two weeks later, it still wasn’t there. I checked, and IT SHIPPED FROM CHINA. It did eventually arrive, but there was nothing in my order or on the site that would let me know it would take that long.  

If you’re just finding us through a Facebook ad, you don’t know if we’re telling the truth when we say 2-4 days shipping time. We could be a giant, faceless, drop-shipper somewhere in the world.

Buying something from a small, on-line brand you’ve never heard of takes a lot of trust. A LOT. It’s not just that you can’t feel the fabric or hold up the product to see what the sizing looks like, you literally DO NOT KNOW if we’re a real thing or a complete scam. You can look at reviews and such, but still, it takes a lot of trust. And if you’ve ever been burned by an online company before, it takes even more.

So let me say this:

1. This is me, Rebecca Melsky, with my two older children. I live in Washington, DC. I coordinate our marketing, plan production calendars and cash flow, and choose most of the Pantone colors for the products because it's somehow the one creative area that I'm pickier than Eva about.

2. This is my co-founder, Eva St. Clair, with some of our models (all kids of our friends). She lives just outside Washington, DC. She works with our factory on the designs for our products, among 3,720 other things.

3. This is Erika. She responds to most customer service emails.

Erika does her best to get back to you within 24 business hours. Email is by far our company's preferred mode of communication.

If you try calling the number listed on the contact us page, we probably won’t pick up because - even though it rings 3 different cell phones in three different states - none of us are usually sitting behind a desk!  And truly it’s not super useful to you for us to answer while we’re driving or at the park with the kids. If you leave a message (and Google Voice manages to deliver it properly) one of us will do our best to call you back within 48 hrs.

4. This is Kerstin. All the emails you get from our newsletter are written by her, and she also keeps an eye on our social channels. Here she is after a full day of toddler care:

5. This is Planet Access Company. They ship our packages from a warehouse and fulfillment center just outside Chicago, IL. They’re pretty quick and usually get all orders placed before 2pm CST on weekdays in the mail the same day and then USPS usually takes 2 - 4 days to ship them.

6. If your package doesn’t arrive or you have any other issues with your order, we will do everything we can to make it right.

7. We provide free returns and exchanges.

8. If you want to check out what customers have said about working with us, here are a few Facebook comments and posts: A customer happy about their Solar System Dress order, a customer talking about the quality of our garments, a customer who liked her children's clothes so much she bought our adult skirt, and a little girl who loves her dinosaur dress.

8. Did I miss anything? Do you have any other questions?  Please ask me - I'm at hello@princess-awesome.com and I really will reply to your email.

Thank you for trusting us - we know it takes a lot.




Rebecca Melsky

Rebecca Melsky is the CEO and co-founder of Princess Awesome. She and her husband are raising three children in Washington, DC.


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