Since the dawn of consumerism there’s always been a much coveted product that, given enough hype, crazed men and women will go do almost anything to get their hands on. When I was growing up it was Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchis and Teletubbies; it later evolved into iPhones, H&M designer dresses and anything with Beyonce’s name on, but in 2016 the hottest thing you can have in your handbag is a Kylie Jenner lipgloss. If you’ve been living under a rock (or just not fussed about celebrity endorsed products or anything to do with the Kardashians,) then you may have failed to notice that the youngest of the clan has launched her very own twenty piece lip range which is causing quite the stir. Since it was launched last year, Kylie Cosmetics and the associated Kylie Lip Kits have been in such demand that there are stampedes every time the website is re-stocked; with an individual lipgloss being offered for upwards of £50.00 on eBay, it’s no surprise that the unprecedented demand is creating an even more elevated level of buzz than would otherwise have occurred from anything with a Kardashian-Jenner name attached. Kylie is one clever girl, understanding that her trademark pout is the key to an absolute goldmine; her influence and the interest in her look will only last for a finite amount of time, so the key is to make as much money while the iron is hot. Although I’ve not tried the lipglosses myself, they’re said to create the ultimate ‘Kylie’ look her fans dream of, while the texture and finish has impressed even the most anti-Kardashian of beauty fans. However, something is going fundamentally wrong up at Kylie HQ and her empire could be about to fall apart if issues aren’t rectified soon. Although you can barely miss the hype around these little tubes of gloss, it’s also increasingly hard to miss the negativity and endless complaints that are popping up all across social media. Kylie, it seems, didn’t attend Business 101 and doesn’t understand the basic issues of quality control and customer service.
Each one of the Kylie lipglosses will set you back around £30.00 (including shipping and import duty,) so expectations are unsurprisingly high. With Kylie being one of the most followed and influential celebrities of modern times, you would have thought she would have invested in making sure her debut business opportunity was seamless in every way – so as to only further fuel the fire of demand. Unfortunately for her, you only have to do a quick search to find an overwhelming number of complaints from those that have tirelessly refreshed web pages and waited patiently for their lipgloss to arrive, only to be disappointed. It’s not unusual for there to be some packing mistakes when it’s such a huge operation, but more and more customers are sharing their frustrations at being sent the wrong shade or having glosses missing altogether; some aren’t even getting their delivery at all, or are being sent empty boxes with not even a hint of a gloss inside. Yep, empty boxes are actually turning up on doorsteps (read Salt & Chic’s blog post here for the full story) and Kylie Cosmetics are basically refusing to do anything about it. There have been cases of faulty tubes causing the product to completely spill out during shipping, broken or damaged brushes rendering the whole product unusable, and some glosses only being filled half way – but vitally, the customer services team behind the Kylie Kits are making up all sorts of nonsense (if they respond at all) in order to keep their bottom line looking as healthy as possible.
It’s understandable that the packing team are probably under a huge amount of pressure to get orders out as quickly as possible, but to be packing up faulty products (or just no product at all) is simply unacceptable; it doesn’t matter if you’re the most famous teenager in the world, this is not ok. No matter who you are, if a customer buys a product and parts with money the brand has a legal obligation to provide a product that is fit for purpose. If you ship something that’s faulty, you have a duty to either replace it or offer a refund; if you send a product and it doesn’t reach its destination, it’s your responsibility to find out where it’s gone; if your packing team make an error, it’s your job to fix that as swiftly and easily as possible. Ignoring it, offering excuses or simply refuting your liability will not cut it in a modern world where we can share our dissatisfaction and frustration at the push of a button. Some of the responses consumers have received from the customer service team (if they’ve received anything at all,) have been somewhat laughable, with every excuse under the sun being used to wiggle themselves out of a sticky situation. From products ‘being designed to work like that’, to ‘not being responsible for international orders’ to absolute radio silence, Kylie needs to invest a little of that revenue back into training her team. A simple apology and ‘we’ll get you a replacement as soon as one is available’ is all it needs to be.
Does Kylie think because the demand for her lip products is so insane that she can get away with dodgy product quality and non-existent customer service? If anything, as one of the most famous siblings on the planet her business operations will be under more scrutiny than the average. It’s estimated that the company behind these lip kits is making around $1.5 million every single time a new batch of products goes on sale, so it’s not as if they’re short of a few bob. They have the funds to provide the best quality control and customer service known to man, but it seems they’d rather scrape by and keep more of the pie for themselves. (Because apparently it’s expensive being Kylie Jenner.) Right now the hype is still outweighing the negativity, helped by a weekend of Kylie applying her favourite shades to her celeb besties all weekend at Coachella, but that won’t last forever. Increasingly stories are popping up online, articles are being written, instagram posts are being uploaded and frustrated tweets are being sent; there are almost as many images of faulty products as there are of glossy lustworthy ones, and as many posts complaining as there are expressing their excitement at finally getting their hands on a little piece of Kylie. With a presence based on being the ‘girl next door’ (albeit in the mansion) that her fans can relate to, if these issues aren’t rectified as soon as possible then the bottom will inevitably fall out of this business model. If we can’t trust Kylie to deliver us a functioning lipgloss, then what can we *actually* trust her to do? My advice: the next time Kylie restocks, don’t press ‘buy’ unless you can afford to lose the amount of money you’re about to part with.
Have you had any negative experiences trying to buy a Kylie lipgloss, or have you managed to get your hands on one without any problems at all? What do you think of the increasing negativity that surrounds the brand, and what do you think Kylie can do to rectify it?
Image courtesy of www.xojane.com (Make sure you check out her whole review for more info on the products themselves and to see whether it’s worth setting that alarm.)
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.