Something I’ve learned about myself through the years is that I’m a one purse at a time girl. Many years ago, I was the sort who had a purse for every color palette I might wear, every season, every type of occasion, every amount of ‘cargo’ I might be carrying but as I’ve matured, I’ve decided, “Screw that!” What a unnecessary thing to transfer my stuff from one bag to another before going anywhere. All I need is one good bag. Not a fancy, pricy, status-screaming bag – but a nice bag will last long enough for me to develop a relationship with it. Just one bag to rule them all…It was damn nearly a revelation, to be honest.
Firmly entrenched in this mindset, I began shopping online for ‘my’ ideal bag. Thank goodness for search filters that helped me cut down the myriad of choices by style, size, price range, material… It was not an easy search and I must admit to a couple misfires along the way but last April, I finally came across an amazing purse that checked all my ‘must have’ boxes:
- crossbody style (because when I am out with my bag, I wear it)
- size appropriate to carry what I carry (or are likely to want/need to carry
- light colored interior (so I can more easily find what I’m looking for)
- completely closes with a zipper or such (for security’s sake)
- some separate compartments but let’s not get crazy with ’em
- style and color appeal to me (I’ve pleasantly surprised myself with my choices in the past)
The bag of my dreams was from a manufacturer I’d not heard of – Old Trend – but I immediately identified with their tag line, “Modern Vintage.” The bag was being sold on Overstock.com, sharply discounted from retail price. Before allowing myself to go head over heals for it, I, of course did diligent research and discovered that not only was the company and their products well regarded but their mission aligned with my values – just read their About page to see what I mean. It was a match made in heaven – all that at a price I could justify paying. So I ordered it.
Upon its arrival, I was thrilled! Well packaged and it included a storage bag (which I will never use because it will always be in use) but a very professional touch nonetheless. I packed it full of my stuff and I was a happy, stylish lady about town.
Then, four months later, IT HAPPENED. We were furniture shopping and the strap hook worked its way out of the body of the bag resulting in the loss of the crossbody strap! I was devastated. But I wasn’t going to give up on this bag or the company I’d come to admire; not yet. I don’t go down without a fight!
So I set out to put their reputation for quality and customer service chops to the test. In a respectfully-worded email, I politely asked if, even though I’d purchased my bag from Overstock.com and not directly from Old Trend, they might stand behind their product (especially since it was only lightly used for four months). To my delight, I received an equally respectful response requesting that I send the bag in to their headquarters so it could be inspected and evaluated by their quality assurance team. They would get back to me regarding their determination – free repair or replacement. So I shipped the bag off to California. After a few weeks, I heard that they had determined that they would replace my bag; but that this particular bag in my chosen Chestnut color would not be available until the last week of November. They offered me the option of receiving the same bag in a different color or a similar bag which actually retailed for considerably more. I looked into the latter option but determined that I was still in love with my original bag and would be willing to wait for it to once again be available. When I didn’t hear from them by the beginning of December, I emailed them again. They informed me there had been a delay with the shipment of the bags but that they’d be sending mine out the week of December 15. They provided me with a UPS tracking number and, lo and behold, I received my replacement bag on Christmas Eve!
Although it took a relatively long time, Old Trend really did come through for me. They stood behind their product, took my request for recompense seriously and acted with integrity throughout the process. Was I disappointed with the issue with the original bag? Certainly. But I’m willing to give them another chance because of the way they treated me as a disappointed customer who still wanted to believe what they stated in their mission statement. I see several subtle changes in the new bag – some leather reinforcement in the area where the hardware had wiggled loose. So maybe I helped them to improve this bag with my feedback. In any event, I’m gratified to have my all time favorite back to use and enjoy.
So I guess the moral of the story is, if you REALLY love something, believe in its character and quality, and reach out with respect, good things can happen. Sometimes, you just have to take a chance, even in this cynical world fraught with shoddy merchandise empty promises. You could reap great benefits and have an uplifting, quality experience. At least its worth the effort to try. Thank you, Old Trend, for being a responsible company and for renewing my faith that reaching out matters.
So yes, this IS my bag, baby!