In light of recent challenges that have become very public across social media and the internet, I wanted to offer some clarity on the situation and give an honest explanation to all those who have been affected -
I launched this brand only 13 months ago, quite literally from my bedroom after I couldn't find a solution to my own needs as a customer online - I felt there was no clear market leader in the LED neon space, and so I set about creating my own brand that could fill this gap. I've previously built multiple different online brands in the clothing and jewellery space, so this was an exciting new challenge built around an underserved market.
The business was launched purely as a passion project, in the hope that many others would share my interest in the product and want to create their own - and almost immediately, this proved true as sales and our brand following grew rapidly from day one. However, naturally with such high demand and a global pandemic developing, bottlenecks and challenges with production and delays have arisen -
Running any business during the middle of a global pandemic has its challenges, but launching a new one entirely in a new market, is even harder - and our team has faced many growing pains and learnt so much in the process throughout the first year.
In August of last year we made the decision to invest every penny of profit up to that point into our own UK based dedicated factory (we had previously produced in China, and have returned there since), working with a new supplier in the hope of improving shipment times and giving us more control over every aspect of production. At first, this worked well and we were confident we could continue to expand and improve customer experience at the same time - however, a few months in it had become clear that our supplier couldn't keep up, and many orders weren't being produced and delivered as expected.
Essentially, there were now a few thousand orders (around 10% of all orders since we launched, but it felt like much more) that had been paid for by us and put into production, but were ultimately never completed and shipped as a result of multiple challenges and difficulties at our supplier's end.
The situation is something which only gradually came to light, and suddenly put our startup business into a very difficult situation - we had paid for stock which hadn't been delivered, and customers were quickly starting to believe that we never intended to deliver in the first place, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Adding to this further challenges such as delivery companies working through their own backlog throughout Q4 and COVID, goods getting stuck at customs after production, and technical faults with our website backend itself, and the situation quickly became very challenging and difficult to control.
What was previously a smooth supply chain with thousands of happy customers across social media, had become a nightmare situation during Q4 peak sales season, and the backlash online was widespread and loud, and still is. We completely understand the frustration and assumptions from customers, but the situation has largely been taken wildly out of context and accusations are being thrown around online, which are simply not true.
Lack of experience in our customer support team has meant that we admit, we have not dealt with many customer queries and concerns as well as we should have, and in general our team has never experienced such rapid growth online. We are actively bringing in more experienced team members to help us navigate the next stage of growth and fixing the issues we so far have faced.
We've done our very best to get all these delayed orders reproduced in a new factory, taking on the full costs ourselves, and are currently in the process of making sure all of these orders get to customers as soon as possible or are replaced with a gift card of similar or more value for a new order, but given the context, and the global situation in terms of supply chain and couriers, it's impossible to fix overnight. We anticipate to have worked through the backlog within the next 3 months, making sure all orders that were placed are fulfilled or replaced.
Once again we want to make clear, 90% of our customers since launch have had their orders on time, and orders placed since last month are all on time as expected, but a major mess up with a new factory meant a few thousand orders weren't produced and delivered as planned, and especially when making bespoke items, this has put us in a very difficult situation.
We are now doing our very best to make things right for anyone that has been affected by these delays, while also navigating the realities of being a startup business, which has made it all the more difficult. Rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to make sure everyone receives the order they wanted, even if it takes much longer than we initially planned. We apologise for the inconvenience of these delays, and hold our hands up to the fact it's not good enough, but we will make sure to put things right as quick as we can.
This situation was never planned, we have not profited whatsoever from this situation, and we want to make absolutely clear that we are not a 'scam' business in any shape or form - we are a rapidly growing startup that has faced some immense challenges recently which affected around 10% of our customers since launch. We are currently doing everything in our power to put things right as quick as we can, and we hope that our customers understand that their concerns are valid and listened to - but we are actively working to resolve, and will continue to improve our offering and service over the coming months, to ensure a situation like this never happens again.
We are incredibly aware of the stress and upset this has caused many customers and their families/friends, especially during a year like none of us have ever experienced before - and as a business we want nothing more than to put things right and build a brand and product that our customers love as much as we do. We extend our genuine and sincere apologies for the current situation, and hope everyone gets through this difficult time as best they can.
If you need any help with your outstanding order, the best place to get help is via our email - firstname.lastname@example.org - please bear with us while we work through a slight backlog, but we promise we will put things right as quick as we can and ensure everyone is left happy with their order.
Thanks so much for your support & understanding
Matt and the NB team