franklin pendant update

July 15th, 2010   |   Life

I’d like to check in and let you all know about something which came to my attention yesterday right before I left for the airport. It turns out that the program I used to create the Franklin braille necklaces produced the letter preceding each intended letter in the alphabet. For example “BREATHE” came out “AQDASMD.” I have no idea why the program made this error with the alphabet and since it was consistent across all phrases, I was not aware that it was incorrect. You can see the difference in each of the phrases below:

Now that I am aware of the mistake, I am in the process of designing and ordering identical pendants with the correct braille. Everything else about the necklaces will remain the same. Due to production time, I hope to have these pendants completed in five weeks.

As you can imagine, I’m frustrated, upset, and heart broken about the situation. I designed Franklin as a collection which would both help people and be beautiful. And though that purpose is still served, it is upsetting to have to reach out to everyone who has purchased and inform them of the error. I have already emailed those who have previously purchased the necklaces and offered them two choices: either to trade in their current necklace for the updated one when they arrive, or to keep their current necklaces and receive 50% off their entire next order. So far everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive and I sit here with tears in my eyes as I read this email from a customer which arrived a minute ago:

… Honestly, I’m just so excited to wear it and have it as a reminder that I would be happy to wear it as is. I’m too impatient to wait!!  It looks like it will be just as beautiful as the “right” one, and it’s almost like it’s a little secret and will be different than most of the others! I kind of like that. So, I think I’ll just keep the one that is on it’s way, as the message will still be there for me!!
I think it’s great that you’re so attentive and caring toward your customers and informed us of the mix-up. Nothing is perfect, and sometimes strange things happen in life, and I’m learning that it’s how you deal with all of that that really matters. You are a perfect example of this – you’re not letting it get you down, but instead reaching out and offering exceptional customer service and options to correct something that went wrong without you even knowing. I give you major props for that and can definitely learn a thing or two from you! It seems like you’ve really got running your business down pat, and even if you don’t, I would be none the wiser!!
Thank you so much again for contacting me about the necklace, and for once in my life, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to not see something as “ruined,” but think of how I can look at the bright side of the situation – an opportunity to have something just as beautiful, and a little bit different! I’ve been trying to be a more positive person lately, and I think this is a good start : ) …

Words cannot express how thankful I now feel for this error. Though informing customers about the situation was a bit scary and nerve-racking, getting genuine responses like that prove to me that I have the best customers, readers, and friends in the whole world. And the only way I could really realize and comprehend how unbelievable you all are is in a situation where you show such concern, empathy, and encouragement. I made a mistake, and you all are here telling me how I shouldn’t freak out. Thank you, thank you.

Yesterday when I realized what happened and what needed to be done (in the midst of a few tears), I decided that this situation was happening for a reason – a positive reason. And though I had absolutely no clue what positive thing would come out of this, that email just provided the answer. I get to rely on you all for support and I’ve never felt more accepted. It’s one thing for people to say nice things when you do something right. It’s another for people to say nice things when you make an error.

The other positive thing about this situation I cannot forget to mention is that the current (misspelled) pendants are still perfectly good and serve the same exact purpose, but are now 50% off their original price on Jess LC right now. Which means this mistake has now opened the door for anyone who couldn’t afford the full price to receive the misspelled but perfectly beautiful necklaces for $29, $30, and $31 until our misspelled inventory runs out. And once the new, corrected version arrives in mid to late August, I will post those back on Jess LC at their normal price.

I truly appreciate all that you have done to support me and my small business and I thank you all so very much.

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  • http://aspotofwhimsy.blogspot.com Diane

    oh my dear, i’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. but, like the customer you mentioned, i think it’s wonderful that you informed ppl and are handling it all beautifully. because i have a feeling the franklin collection (and its messages) is special to everyone who receives one, you did a good thing by letting everyone know. this is a small set-back (and easily correctable!), don’t let it get you down. focus on having fun with your family and good luck in NY!

  • http://ww.thewingedheart.com Natalie

    Jess – While accidents of this nature are always truly heartbreaking at first, it’s so amazing to see you moving right along and appreciating the experience that such a situation has to give. In fact, looking back through the messages on the necklaces, it sounds like you’ve been able to incorporate each of them into this situation:

    Breathe – While I’m sure the realization was like a punch in the gut at first, it sounds like you were able to sit back, regain your composure, and think logically about the situation.

    Be Present – You might have worried about what negative impact this could have for future customers, or beat yourself up over not catching the error before production, but most importantly you looked at things in the here and now, figuring out what needed to be done in the present and not worrying about the future or past.

    Be Brave – You made tough decisions about how to approach your customers about this. You were honest, open, and vulnerable.

    Be Thankful – You made a big big effort not to just hope that something positive came out of this, but to actively search for the good that could be in this situation, and found it!

    Dream Bigger – Clearly this setback hasn’t slowed you down at all. If anything, it has made you a better businesswoman and given you a broader range of experience in dealing with your product and customers. Now you can take that experience to your desk-sides and future projects, and present yourself as a stronger, more mature entrepreneur.

    I’m also totally with the sender of the e-mail you posted, I think the necklaces definitely still hold a lot of value and meaning even if the message is incorrect in braille. It’s almost like saying.. even someone who can read braille can’t figure out my secret intention message! =) And the thought of a silly string of letters on such a pretty, delicate necklace really makes me smile! Maybe we can all re-interpret the message on the front of the necklaces to say “Take time to laugh” =)

  • http://anniesbutterworth.blogspot.com Annie

    My gut reaction when I read this was, “Oh no! How awful for her, and right before a big trip!” But now I see just why and how you’ve become a successful entrepreneur: You’ve handled what some would call a setback with grace and dignity (and, it sounds like, incredible customer service). I’m with your customer who wrote the email; I’d probably be happy to wear such a wonderfully unique piece of jewelry despite–or even because of–the “flaw.” And, speaking from someone on an extremely tight budget, what a wonderful way to offer these pieces at a lower price point! You’ve truly exhibited grace under pressure.

  • http://wafflertoaster.blogspot.com/ Julia

    Honestly, I’m feeling more inclined to buy one of these, with this “mistake,” because there really is so much beauty in it with this backstory, and this example of grace and courage you have shown us. I almost feel like for me, personally, the history behind these pendants is more useful and holds certain lessons that I really need to learn for myself. Thanks for being so frank and open about this. Chin up! You have helped your readers and customers out more than you think.

  • http://wafflertoaster.blogspot.com/ Julia

    Honestly, I’m feeling more inclined to buy one of these, with this “mistake,” because there really is so much beauty in it with this backstory, and this example of grace and courage you have shown us. I almost feel like for me, personally, the history behind these pendants is more useful and holds certain lessons that I really need to learn for myself. Thanks for being so frank and open about this. Chin up! You have helped your readers and customers out more than you think.

  • coasterkim

    I, too, thought immediately, “oh my gosh, how horrible for her!” But then I read the whole post and realized that things happen for a reason. If I had an extra $30 I would buy one of you “mistakes”! Did you know, the Amish, who make AMAZINGLY beautiful handcrafts like quilts, always include a mistake in each creation. They believe only God is perfect so their creations shouldn’t be perfect. I love that. And it came to mind when I read your post today. Keep your chin up!

  • http://www.justoneweek.net Erin

    I just purchased three! One for my sister, one for my best friend, and one for me!!! I’ve been eyeing them for awhile now, but I couldn’t decide who I was going to get them for – and now I got them for everyone.

    First – how did you ever catch this?! I can’t imagine a blind person saw it on your blog and sent you an email. (That was probably not very PC of me). Second – kudos for letting everyone know! Love it!

    And last – I LOVE that they are off by only one letter – they are in code!! So it isn’t just braille – it is a secret code braille necklace! Love it!

    Best of luck in NYC!

  • http://composinglaura.blogspot.com laura

    thanks for sharing this; i imagine you must have been so stressed out over it, i know i would be. i just bought ‘be brave’, not only because i need the reminder in general.. in life and in business, but because i also want to remind myself to be brave in the face of mistakes. that it will be all be ok. :)

  • http://sartoriography.wordpress.com Emily

    I’m so impressed that you recognized the mistake and, unlike many, are so quick to admit and correct it. That shows some major fortitude and integrity and, honestly, makes the necklaces even more interesting. :) The ironically positive thing is, you’ve gotten a chance with this to test out exactly what your necklaces suggest- being brave, breathing deep, etc. That’s nothing if not great marketing for your very pretty product!

    Thanks for letting us know. I’ll be spreading the word about the Franklin Collection (this one AND the forthcoming one!).

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  • http://www.whereyouhangyourhat.blogspot.com Virginia @ Where You Hang Your Hat

    I’m sorry that this happened to you! But I love how you’re handling it and you are absolutely right about this opening you up to new customers. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and had wanted to buy a Franklin necklace but couldn’t afford it. Even $30 is more than I’ve ever paid for a necklace before but I just snapped up my own BE BRAVE or (AD AQDAS)immediately! I don’t mind that it’s not quite right because I know what it was intended to say.

  • http://www.maggieroseonline.com Maggie Rose

    I just ordered mine – like other commenters said, the backstory makes them more interesting – and is a good reminder of how gracefully you are handling the situation. I was dreaming of one at the regular price point, now I can have one!

  • http://dutchbritishlove.wordpress.com Jadyn

    Jess, I honestly had tears in my eyes when I read this as I could so imagine your frustration – especially since you heard the news as you were just about to leave for your PR trip. Talk about bad timing! However, like everyone else has said, your the grace with which you handled the situation and the care that you showed your customers truly shows your strength as an entrepreneur. And as always, you manage to make it inspiring and a teaching moment for the rest of us!
    Thanks for sharing and for being awesome. xoxo

  • http://www.bluebirdluxe.com Eileen

    I’m looking forward to my beautiful Dream Bigger pendant! It’s a great reminder that obstacles may get in the way and dreams may take a little detour, but it can’t take away from the dream at all! And after reading your post {and I love what Natalie wrote above}, you’re helping me make my dream bigger, stronger, and closer than ever! Thank you, Jess! :)

  • KathrynwithaY

    I’ve been waiting for a good time to buy a new necklace. I’d be happy to buy one of the misspelled necklaces because the backstory is interesting and it shows your grace in letting your customers know what’s going on. Take it in stride and keep moving forward!! :)

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