Mea Culpa

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “mea culpa.” I was watching a TV show - Law & Order I believe - and one of the characters uttered these words. I didn’t know exactly what they meant, but I picked up through context clues that someone was offering a fancy-sounding apology.

And now it’s time for mine.

I’m offering this mea culpa (Latin for through my own fault) because during the first two weeks of August many of our new customers had a less-than-stellar delivery experience, and that pains me to no end. Since the day we launched we’ve striven to provide amazing customer service, and I think we’ve largely succeeded in that goal. We answer every email within 24 hours, we offer a generous exchange program so every woman can find her perfect nude, and, crucially, up until last week we shipped every product within 3 business days (and the vast majority within 1). I LOVE running a business with top-notch customer service - when we get reviews like the one below I swell with pride, because I know a business like ours lives and dies by the service it provides.

The thing about running Operations for a startup, though, is that it’s predictably unpredictable. Having launched just 7 months ago, we don’t have the benefit of years of data to help us predict when our largest volume spikes will be. And as a new company that’s been fortunate enough to receive a fair amount of attention from the press, many of those spikes are entirely out of our control, because we don’t really get a heads up when Essence is going to write the most spectacular article about our nudes and shoot our sales through the roof.

Make no mistake - I’m not complaining. I love Essence and the writers and editors who contributed to this feature. I love the writers at Allure and Teen Vogue and Bustle and Yahoo Beauty too. I love every single person who has ever written a word about Mented because they have contributed immensely to our success, and we are beyond fortunate to have received so much praise.

But this doesn’t change the fact that we are still learning how to prep for the huge swings these features can sometimes bring. If every article swung our sales the same way, we’d have a formula by now, trust me. But not all press is created equal. Sometimes you’re featured on a homepage on Friday (hello, pay day) and sales explode. Other times a great article brings lots of traffic, but few conversions. Some articles bring neither. Adjusting our inventory levels and fulfillment policies so that we are ready for any eventuality has been my number 1 project this month, and I am confident this era of 10-business-day ship times (oof) is one we will never have to speak of again...

But just in case I’m wrong (it’s happened before) please know that we are doing everything we can to deliver on our promise to you - the promise we made to always hear you, celebrate you, and prioritize you. We know delivering on that promise means giving you great products and amazing service - that’s exactly what we intend to do.

With Lipstick and Love,

KJ

Mented Co-Founder and Co-CEO