Internal Issue: Shipping
Ok, so I feel like it's only right if I write about this briefly and address this.
There's a few components to the issue, some of which were just bad luck and others that are just examples of lackadaisical ethic and failure to execute task, and at the end of the day I'm the one who messed up so I thought it'd only be right to talk about it.
Ready for a big topic that I'll sum down into a few paragraphs, it's called Shipping.
Sometimes it's my favorite word and sometimes it makes me cringe hearing it.
Shipping, as everyone knows, is the act of delivering something from one place to another, most times with something like UPS? Right? I hope you're following at this point. It's pretty simple stuff.
You take package to UPS, they take it to where it needs to go.
But from a brand point of view, there's a LOT more than just "taking the package to UPS".
There's a bunch of components that go into the shipping process. I'm not here to teach you how to ship something, but to briefly summarize it, it goes a little like this:
Order comes in. We get an email notification saying "person X" ordered "Item Y", ship to "Location Z". Something along those lines.
We then print calculate exactly how much the item(s) will cost, run that through an algorithm that takes distance into account, and we determine the price of the shipment.
Through the electronic system, we pay for the package and get a shipping label.
Print that out, cut it out, get the tape ready.
Find the item in the inventory, fold it, package it, take 5-6 stickers, write a thank you note on one of them, make it look nice, put it all in a shipping bag, make sure it's sealed, then tape the label on.
Bring the packaged item to UPS, drop it on the desk, make sure they scan it, then bam. The magical UPS truck brings it anywhere in the country in a matter of two to three days.
To be fair, it's very easy.
So now you're like oh why is he writing all of this.
I'm writing because over the past month I've been the worst.
Two months, actually. Emphasis on the worst.
Let's go back in time a little while.....
It's the end of the school year, I had just finished my freshman year. Over the course of the year I had moved to Chicago, decided to keep the brand, and hit the ground running.
October we did SPOOKYBOIZ. That sold out. We sold 200 items. That was the first time I had to run the opperation out of my dorm room. And man, it was one hell of a learning curve.
It was like a seven hour process, I had just become best friends with Trey, who now is a full-time part of OHKAY as a brand, and we had more orders than we knew what to do with.
There would be boxes of clothes on my dorm bed at all times, except when I needed to be sleeping. We'd be up until the sun came up just packaging stuff, running up and down the stairs to the printer we had in the basement of the dorm building, and packaging suitcases full of orders to walk to the UPS on campus.
Then we came out with fall stuff. Sold it out online. This time, we had orders out in like 48 hours. We stocked some stuff in stores. It went well. We were so happy. OHKAY was doing great.
Winter comes, we release winter stuff.
Spring: we had it down to a science, right.
End of spring comes, and we had a bunch of different pieces we wanted to keep in Chicago, and some I had to take home to Boston with me.
So we got a storage unit. Here's when things get tricky.
We got this 8 foot by 6 foot storage unit at this UHAUL place near campus. I rented it for 3 months, all of June July and August, until September 12th.
They told us "Oh, we actually bring the boxes to another location in Chicago and you just call when you get back and we'll get it shipped back to us".
I'm like "hm, alright". We buy a lock and we put it on. Some fancy gold lock. It was like a $20 little lock. Seemed legit.
I go home for summer, go around the world, do my thing.
Trey was in Chicago all summer at our new place and he was shipping out the American Teen 4th of July collection we had dropped. Everything we made shipped out accordingly and him and I worked as a team while I was in Italy. We just kept the ball rolling.
BUT.... then the ball hit a wall.
I end up throwing one of the first OHKAY parties in Boston. We had made a ton of pieces for it. I was pumped.
We did the party, it was sweet, then I put some of the stuff online.
The issue is that a lot of people ordered stuff from that drop, we called it "Party Pieces", and I had them all so I shipped them out.
BUT, around this time, we had gotten tons of orders for older items, and 1/1 things.
I kept thinking "Oh, they're all in storage and I'll get them right when I get back".
Which they were, alll in a bunch of boxes with the big word STOCK on all of them.
I emailed everyone and I was like "hey I know this sucks but I can't get you the shirt or whatever for a few weeks until I get back to school".
Everyone was really nice about it, very understanding.
So more orders come in, and I'm all stressed like damn I need to establish an office in our new apartment to handle orders and stuff, all that was running through my head.
So I drive to Chicago. 17 hour drive. I get there. Few days go by.
I go to the storage unit. It's September 2nd
I call the UHAUL that the storage unit was at. Told them we needed to get access to it - so I could get the pieces to ship out to everyone.
I get a call back a few hours later
"Hey, Chris. We can't seem to locate your box" this old guy says to me over the phone.
"Alright, well, go find it???" I say back, basically being like "do your job get me the stupid box I paid money for".
Two days go by, I get another call. It's from this lady, UHAUL corporate.
"Hey Chris, this is Jackie"
-"Hi Jackie, do you have my box?"
Now, this part gets really heated and I say a few mean things to Jacki. Not to Jacki, but so that if Jacki's boss ever went over the phone call, they would know I'm never using UHAUL ever again.
It turns out that when they moved my box from one location to the other, the lock broke off. The twenty dollar lock. Do you know how much average locks cost? Like six dollars. Six. This one, yo we got this for twenty. This should have locked away my deepest darkest secrets and never let me access them even with a key. This should have locked up King Kong and the entire jungle.
But the lock seemed to have broke.
"Ok, so what happened after it broke?" I asked, at this point being polite.
"Well, someone at the unit left it there for a month. After that, they thought that it wasn't in use and someone had taken what they wanted from it and left the rest to be thrown away".
The last two words of that sentence made me want to drive to UPS and brawl.
Or throw up or something.
Stuff we had made. Stuff people had bought. Stuff that I owed people.
People literally think this brand is cool enough to buy stuff, I get all excited to come ship it, and I find out it got thrown away.
I end up getting in touch with corporate.
They send me all this information that I need to fill out, and basically I sign some document saying that I need to be compensated for everything they threw away.
They value clothing as very little, so I was told I couldn't even get enough money to pay for the UHAUL bin.
So now i'm like holy shit what do I do.
And what do I do? Mr. fight or flight over here.
I run away from it.
I become officially the worst..
Now let me say one of my biggest pet peeves of the internet: Scammers.
I despise all these social media kids who make stuff and people buy it and they never send the stuff. I hate it. This kid Tyler who owns a brand with the word Radical in it, he flexes to people that he scams everyone online. That's so fucking uncool????
That's genuinely the lamest thing that you could do with a business.
Just like get people what they want. That's all I ever ask of people.
But I became the jerk, too. And I put it off.
I didn't tell anyone what had happened.
I just refunded everyone.
Like 58 people.
And I felt so bad becuase like, I'd way rather get them their stuff than have them get their $30 back.
I just feel like such a loser.
Like I failed with this brand over the past month because of it.
And every day I go to make stuff and I'm like damn, I'll never have those extra coats, or 1/1 pieces, or tees, or anything because they threw them out thinking someone left them there to be disposed of.
And this all taught me so much: just be honest with people.
I spent the entire month just procrastinating to tell the 18 remaining people what happened to their order.
Everyone got a full refund of course, but I feel like they'll never support OHKAY again becuase this happened when they tried to order something.
I don't know. I just shipped a ton of stuff out of my new office space and it was really nice and made me super happy.
We're working on making lots of new things now, we've just been having major difficulties with our manufacturers. They've just been showing us that we're not really a priority to them.
We have a meeting on Thursday night with the guy who makes all of Chance The Rappers' stuff. He says he wants to be our full time manufacturer.
I think we'll go with him. That way, we can be making cooler stuff, even if it's a bit more expensive, it'll be all done on time and I won't have these awful issues that make the brand look bad.
Sorry for the rant, i just dont wan't people to ever think we're scamming them. Because we'd never do that.
There's 14 orders that seriously got messed up in the process, and if you're one person that ordered one of them, I'm seriously sorry. I don't want anyone to ever think we're here to scam people. The fifty dollars to us is way less important than losing your interest in the brand. If we wanted to steal money, we wouldn't be making a clothing brand, that's for sure.
OHKAY Forever. Even through the highs and lows. We're going to learn from this stupid time in life and just grow and be better than we were. That's half the fun.