The Tailored Sportsman Debacle is brought to us by our guest blogger, Joanne. If you spend time on social media and have lots of equestrian friends, you have likely already heard something about it. We will start by going over the “story”, followed by Joanne’s personal thoughts, and finishing with my 2 cents.
BY: Joanne Scott
Last week, this post circulated to my Facebook feed by fellow equestrian Brianna Janson.
PSA to my fellow equestrians: This is how the owner of Tailored Sportsman treats their customers for selling a pair of breeches I personally own and paid for(for slightly less than retail). Please keep in mind I have no relation with the company as a retailer. If anyone wasn’t already irritated by their pricing and policies, here’s one for the books. I won’t be buying the brand first hand from the company or any tack stores EVER again personally. Feel free to share! #equestrianawareness #tailoredsportsman
The included screen shots included comments from Brianna’s sales post in a Tailored Sportsman resale group. The owner of Tailored Sportsman, Susan Isaacs, was a member of the resale group and commented on Brianna’s ad. Susan accused Brianna of “bootlegging” brand new breeches, and the situation quickly escalated.
Brianna’s post has received over 200 shares and 300+ comments/likes within the few days since it was posted.
As a pretty astute consumer, I was appalled to see such a public quarrel by a brand owner. Throughout my years of horse ownership, I have bought and sold many new and used items that wound up being resold. Sometimes for profit – yes. I once purchased a saddle for $900 and resold it in a week for $2500. The owner of the BNM (Big Name Manufacturer) didn’t come after me, accusing me of bootlegging a product.
Since this conversation came to light, I’ve had questions wandering through my head.
When did customer service become so easily dismissed? In a niche market with upcoming competition boasting better quality and lower price points, how can a business owner make such a reckless display without a second thought to how this would impact her business?
As a consumer, I prefer to spend my hard-earned, penny-pinched dollars on products that will provide a good return on investment. Sometimes, that investment comes from years of use and abuse. Other times, that investment comes from a resale prospect.
Putting aside quality, price point, and investment, I also prefer to do business with small businesses with a personal touch. There are other retailers online now that are quick to answer a chat window or provide personal advice via a phone call. This documented exchange with the owner of TS has me cringing at the thought of picking up the phone and having a chat with Susan Isaacs.
Now, this specialized, niche company within an already segmented specialized, niche market has lost a customer. Several actually, if you include Brianna Janson, a bunch of supporters who have seen her viral post, and this guest blog writer.
BY: Kelly (Hunky Hanoverian)
When I first got wind of the back and forth between Brianna and Susan, I instantly went to Brianna’s FB page to read the comments. Hundreds of people were posting and sharing their opinions. Now, I am not here to pass judgement. Even though we have screenshots, it is impossible to fully know both sides of the story.
Many people were backing-up Susan and discussing how she tries her hardest to price control, to help smaller businesses from being out sold by mega stores. Other small business owners chimed in that Susan can be very difficult to work with, citing that they don’t get to decide what TS products to stock. Apparently, Susan decides what to send stores, and this often results in unsold product sitting on shelves for ages. Several small business owners said they refuse to stock TS products due to all the restrictions attached to them.
It seemed that the majority of comments were made by outraged consumers though. Manyyyyyy people said they would no longer support TS after seeing the back and forth between owner and consumer. It seems that the large majority of equestrian consumers place high value on customer service, and would not be able to overlook the way Susan spoke to Brianna.
So what do I think? I also place high value on customer service, and standing behind one’s product. Several customers and small business owners said that it can be very difficult to get TS to replace or repair defective breeches. This complaint in particular gives me pause. When I spend $190 on breeches, I want to know that if the threading starts to come undone on the 3rd wearing for no apparent reason (ie the breeches fit, were not snagged on anything, etc) that they would be replaced/repaired at the expense of the company. Unfortunately, that does not always seem to be the case from many stories I have heard from other equestrians. If TS DOES agree to repair the product, it can be a lengthy and bothersome process. Between these stories, and the apparent disrespect shown by Susan to consumers (Brianna’s situation is NOT the first time I have heard of Susan acting rudely).
I am not sure I will be supporting TS anymore. Although I REALLY like the fit of TS breeches on me (seriously, they are a perfect fit), I think that in the future I will only purchase TS breeches second hand, and save my new purchases for other brands, with a better reputation for customer service and appreciation.
Hunky Hanoverian would love to hear your thoughts! Will this post influence your decision to buy Tailored Sportsman products? Would you prefer to buy from a company with solid customer service?