A Business with Intention: Jess LC and The Franklin Collection
I’ve been thinking a lot about business lately. Although I’m a student and don’t run my own company of any sort, I have this blog (which may become a business some day) and, even more, I interact with retailers and companies of all sorts in my daily life. I often find businesses to be rife with problem, from customer service issues to inefficiency to a ruthless desire for profit, regardless of the damage to the environment, the labour force, or the customers. I find most advertising to be objectionable in some way, or just annoying because it’s impossible to avoid. I hate seeing logos and brand names all over public spaces (but that’s another story…). In general all this seems truer of big corporations than small businesses, but even independent operations can be more concerned with the bottom line than the overall concept of what they’re providing to their customers.
I’ve recently had some interaction with credit card and phone companies, two of the worst offenders when it comes to the problems I highlighted above. They clearly care nothing for honesty or transparency. They even refuse to take responsibility for the mistakes they’ve made with my accounts, which cost me money despite my having been a reliable customer. After a few days of this, I’m frustrated enough to punch someone in the EYE!
In the midst of all of this complication and anger, I read a post that really gave me some hope for the possibility of honest business practices motivated by respect for the customer and the product. Some of you may have read Makeunder My Life, written by fellow Chicago blogger and artist Jess Constable. Jess creates jewelry and recently released The Franklin Collection, a line of necklaces that are meant to help people “design a life with intention” (part of her mission with MML). The necklaces have an inspirational phrase, such as “breathe” or “be thankful,” written in brail and are meant to be private reminders of living a life of direction, contemplation, and confidence.
Just a few days ago Jess shared on her blog that the program she used to create brail on the Franklin pendants had incorrectly spelled the phrases. Now, here comes the inspiring part: instead of pretending it never happened, hiding the mistake, caring only for profit, etc (because how many people really would have known?), Jess wrote a post on her blog and told all her readers about her mistake. She ordered an entirely new set of necklaces and offered the original ones for half off. Instead of favoring her wallet or her pride, Jess communicated with her customers about her company’s desire to correct something that had gone wrong and to provide them with the product she’d promised.
I’m really impressed with the way Jess handled this situation. Unlike the credit card companies I’ve recently dealt with, Jess actually cares about how her customers interact with the art she makes. She cares about their satisfaction, enough to risk her own pride. To me, that shows major integrity AND good business sense.
Jess, thanks for your honesty! In this instance in particular I think you really have inspired others to live a life of intention.