August 10, 2011

Dress Diaries

You remember the Shabby Apple post? I got. . .quite the response on it from my readers.

Oh, you're wondering what Shabby Apple's response to my post was? Nothing. I emailed them the link and it got tossed their way by quite a lot of Twitter folks, but they never made any acknowledgement whatsoever.

Which is fine.

My goal was not to get them to give me a free dress (because, guess what? I think their dresses are complete garbage and another lousy dress was not the answer to my problems. . .  (also, how likely do you think I am to get a free dress now, after that previous sentence?)).

Really, what I wanted was to be the voice of a real consumer. Because pretty much the only things I've ever ever ever heard about Shabby Apple are rave reviews from bloggers who happen to have received a free dress and also are hosting a giveaway.

When I posted about it, though, TWENTY THREE people commented saying their experiences with Shabby Apple had been poor (mainly because their dresses were poor quality and lousy fit (and many of these commenters had tried with more than one dress) and some with the negative customer service). Exactly two people had positive things to say about Shabby Apple and one was from a girl who never bought something without trying it on, and one was from a Shabby Apple affiliate.  So I am clearly not the only person who is completely disgusted with Shabby Apple.

And 23 unhappy customers astounds me because my blog is not that widely read.

(Also, while some commenters thought it was unfair and bully-ing of me to say such negative things about Shabby Apple, it still really really irks me that they will give away hundreds of free dresses through popular blogs and not let me exchange a single purchased dress.

Bart, who worked in computer sales early on in our marriage, said that his company preached that a poor customer experience is an opportunity to create a really loyal customer. If you can take a negative exchange and make it positive, that customer is more likely to be really delighted than a customer who simply purchased a product, was satisfied, and didn't think much about it again).

I had eighteen(!) commenters who said that they'd considered Shabby Apple dresses or looked at them in the past and now would not buy from them. That makes me happy. I absolutely want to take as much business as possible from them because I think they put out a lousy product and no one says so in the blogging world because everyone who talks about their dresses got a free one (except me, obviously).

The only happy part to this story is that my mom, who is pretty much the most lovely person alive, wrote me a nice email and said to bring my dress home when I go to visit later this year and we'll hem it, line it, and refit the top. How lovely to have a mother who is a brilliant seamstress.

I mentioned in that post that I ordered an eShakti dress for Landen's wedding. Tragically, it didn't fit very well when it came, for three main reasons. First, I chose the longer sleeve option and the fabric had zero give to it, so I couldn't raise my arms even shoulder high. When you spend much of your time carrying a baby? This is a pain. Two, there were pockets in the dress and they made the dress hang weird. And three, the seam that is supposed to go under your chest hit me mid-chest which was, well, a bad look.

I ended up returning it, which was ultra-easy and they responded that they'd received it within about three days, so win!

Merrick also ordered an eShakti dress and hers was darling (although she did mention that the dress felt like it was made out of a camping tent).

The day before the wedding, my mom took the three of us girls to get our nails done and afterward, we stopped in at Downeast Basics, where I found this dress which, despite looking very average in that photo, is quite delightful on. I love it. It fit well and was full-lined.

My mom also bought me this dress (Merrick got it too, in black - mine is the smoke color). Again, this dress is ridiculously ugly and frumpy looking in the picture, but it is darling on. It was also a third the price of a Shabby Apple dress.

I bought a white wrap dress from Downeast Basics a couple of years ago for my graduation from UT-Austin, and I have loved it. Every time I wear it (even at six months pregnant (um, WHEN I was six months pregnant - I am not currently pregnant, six months or otherwise)), I get compliments on it.

It's sort of the opposite of Shabby Apple, where the photos are gorgeous and the dresses are lousy.

And now I will make an effort to not talk about Shabby Apple for at least another six months.


  1. I'm really grateful that you blogged about your experience. I took down the Shabby Apple banner ad on my site because I didn't want to direct any more traffic to them than necessary.

  2. I really appreciate that you give honest reviews - the dress and your immersion blender. Too bad for Shabby Apple. It would have been nice to hear that they tried to make it up to you this time.

  3. Oooo, I really want that first dress you linked to!

    I ordered a dress from Downeast Basics last year on clearance. It's really cute, except that it falls to mid-shin, which is a pretty awkward/dowdy spot (the picture showed the dress falling to the knee). I think I only paid $15 for it, plus free shipping, so I'm not really complaining. Unfortunately taking it to a tailor to have it hemmed has not yet made it to the top of my Saturday priority list, which is a shame because this is definitely a summer dress.

    I wish there was a Downeast Basics store in my area. Their clothes are cute, but I generally refuse to pay shipping costs, plus I'm not familiar enough with their sizing to buy anything with confidence that it will fit.

  4. I'm so glad to read this! I've never ordered from them, and actually missed your first post about your experience.

    I agree- Lands End Canvas really is wonderful!

  5. Another reason why Shabby Apple fell in my book is that they basically choose the same demographic of bloggers to give away free dresses. It was a little bit like a weird popularity contest.

    I think Bart is 100% correct. You would hope a company would want to make a loyal customer out of a snafu.

    Glad the D.E.B (not to be confused with Deb) worked for you. I have one of their dresses and it was awful on me so it's getting consigned today.

  6. I'm glad you spilled the beans on Shabby Apple.

    I've owned several Down East dresses, and they've been pretty darn good to me. We have a store by my house where they sell them discounted 3 for $15 (when they have them - sometimes they have none).

  7. I think it was rather awesome of you to take a firm stance and go public with it. It can be surprisingly hard to come out and say something against an item or company that's become popular or trendy in the blogosphere (as I learned to my cost when I did my singular semi-political post about being Pro-PBS... you wouldn't have thought it would have been an incendiary topic, huh?). You alerted a lot of people, including me, to a company that had not treated you well and found that you were not alone. I had no idea that there were so many dissatisfied people with SA, and after reading your post and doing some more research into it, I removed my banner because it wasn't a company I wanted to support anymore. So I'm grateful!

  8. I think you are more widely read than you realize!

    While I do love Downeast Basics, they run ultra small. Which probably works great for you and Merrick, with crazy awesome slimness. For us busty and hip-y ladies, it's hard to find a good fit with them. But that's nothing a little jazzercise and doughnut-ignoring can't fix.

  9. I'm glad you followed up - I was curious about what ultimately happened. It's truly sad (and short-sighted) when a company doesn't care about keeping a customer.

  10. I am basically a little obsessed with Downeast. I have several dresses from there and love every one (especially a gray silk/cotton faux wrap one that is tragically no longer available, but is probably my favorite dress I've ever purchased). They've messed up a couple of times regarding orders, and each time, have been very gracious and more than compensated for it. Plus, I wear their undershirts pretty much every day of my life.

  11. I love this post. You know my thoughts on Down East (cute! inexpensive!) and Shabby Apple (ill-fitting! pricey!) and I am just so glad we agree on both fronts. :)


  12. I was really, really hoping they'd acknowledge your post. Boo.

  13. I seriously love how passionate you are about this. I mean, I totally agree with you, but it's fun to read your RILED UP side. :)

    The dresses really are so gorgeous, or maybe the pictures, rather, that it is tempting to fantasize about getting to my nice pre-pregnancy size and splurging on one as a reward, but honestly after all this there's no way I'd do that.

  14. I still can't understand the company. That is pure arrogance (and stupidity).

    On the flip side - Being in the retail business, taking returns can be iffy and is often infuriating. An example: one customer tried to return an item that had tire marks across it and insisted that the item was as good as new and re-sale-able condition. (Most of the time we replace or give full refunds. Just not in the instance above!)

  15. Good for you- you've probably saved a lot of people a lot of money now! I've always admired their dresses (from afar because they are ridiculously expensive- and really only because of their clever photos), but now it will be easy to not wish I had one for myself.

  16. I love hearing honest reviews - and so appreciate it! Yours saved me the trouble of a (very likely) unsuccessful Shabby Apple purchase - as well as my coworker, who I shared their website with prior to reading your post. I'm much happier buying from companies who value their customers.

  17. I never commented on the original post, or maybe I did, I don't remember (Mom brain) but I have to say I'm glad you wrote what you did because I've always wondered if Shabby Apple dresses were worth the price because they always looked so cute! But it's amazing what can be done with a camera and photoshop and teeny tiny models who, were they to turn their backs to us, we'd see needles and clothespins and clips holding the dress together to make it look like it was fitted perfectly! So I appreciate your honesty and I will never purchase a dress from them especially because they also seem to only cater to the smaller person.

    Also, I LOVE Downeast! They always have cute items and have everything from cheap to pricey-something for every budget!

  18. I love these posts because (besides your very eloquent way of being peeved AND alerting us to the obvious downfalls of S.A.), I get lots of ideas about where to and not to buy dresses! I just bought several dresses from Mikarose and would highly recommend it. Decent prices and seemingly good quality - and all but one of the dresses I bought need no cami or anything underneath. I also bought a couple on clearance for $10 because of a small stain or something. Sweet! Thanks for the follow up!

  19. I can't believe they didn't respond to you. And after all the people who chimed in to add their bad experiences to yours, now pretty much everyone knows just how little they care about their product and their customers.

    Shabby indeed . . .

  20. You go girl! I am totally floored along with you that they would give away so many free dresses but not let you simply exchange! Ridiculous.

  21. haha. very entertaining. by the way, i totally agree. i don't think i commented on the original post, but my mom and i both ordered dresses from there when they first became popular and we both hated em. they fit weird and the fabric felt soooo cheap. i get tempted once in a while when i look at their pictures, but then i look at their prices and know that it is just NOT worth it.

  22. LOVE LOVE LOVE downeast. that's all i have to say.

    and i'd been dreaming of a shabby apple dress. good to know i'll be unhappy with it. you saved me soooooo much money!!

  23. weird. my eshakti dress also wouldn't allow me to raise my arms! we actually had to cut them off and i wore a sweater over. i was also missing one pocket. not good.

  24. I read 2 different blogs where the bloggers were recently given a free Shabby Apple dress to review. Both times the girls raved about how wonderful the dress was and how great it fit, but looking at the pictures I was just thinking really? The dresses didn't flatter or fit well at all!

  25. Fascinating! I've never owned a SA dress, but they do look adorable. Interesting to see what lies beneath. Funny that you and Kayla posted the same day on the same subject ....

  26. Too funny, about a day after your first Shabby Apple post, I got an email from them asking me to become one of their affiliates. ha ha. I thought the timing was beyond ironic.

    Oh btw, I have two Downeast dresses and I love them. Plus, I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for them. If you have a store near you, you can score some sweet deals on their clearance racks.

  27. I love DownEast and shabby apple. I'm sorry that you had a poor experience. A good friend of mine is good friends of the woman who started shabby apple. I wonder what happened with the order. I know it's not a belief of the company. I have had great experiences as well as several friends of mine. That being said, I have no affiliation with shabby apple, I just like it!

  28. It's really too bad that they didn't work out for you. I have several Shabby Apple dresses and they've all been fabulous, and they've resolved any questions and customer service inquiries efficiently and effectively.

  29. Good experiences -
    Delmaine Whole Gherkins. We LOVE Gherkins - me, my hubby, and all our 3 boys (ages 3, 7 and 9). We buy a jar about weekly - sometime fortnightly. One time I got a jar and we didn't realise it right away cos the gherkins were chopped and added to a salad but they were off. REALLY off. I called them up and shared with the customer services rep that we LOVED their gherkins, that we had tried others and hadn't liked them and always ended coming back to their brand. Of all the jars that we had got this was the ONLY one that was bad and it was REALLY bad - like paint stripper was mixed in with it or something. NASTY. The woman I spoke with was VERY apologetic. They immediately sent out a $15 cheque and apologised profusely several times.
    A few weeks later, believe it or not we got yet ANOTHER bad jar. I called them and this time they sent us a $25 cheque and again couldn't apologise enough.

    Budget Lightbulbs.
    My 7yr old turned the light on in our hallway. It blew the fuse so all the lights in the house went out. That's not all. The lightbulb melted and fell to the ground - luckily it missed our son - and didn't break! But the metal fixture of the lightbulb was left stuck in the light fixture. I emailed Budget Brand and told them what happened. They called me back and talked to me. Profuse apologies, $50 of supermarket vouchers and an offer to pay for an electrician to remove the metal fixture from the light socket.

    Bad experience:
    Kindness Woolwash - I have lots of allergies. Some develop when I'm pregnant. Some develop when I'm breastfeeding. Some develop for seemingly no reason at all. Most of them hang around even after pregnancy/breastfeeding etc. I discovered I had an allergy to Kindness Wool Wash which I used regularly. I called them to find out the ingredients as they didn't have them listed. I was told that because it wasn't an edible product that they weren't required to list the ingredients. I asked them if they could tell me what the ingredients were so that I could try to figure out a) if there was anything in the wool wash that I already knew I was allergic to and b) so that I could buy wool wash from another brand that didn't have those ingredients - they repeated that they weren't required to provide that info as the product was not edible. I wish they had just said - we DON'T know!! I was not offered a cheque or vouchers to spend on what I wanted ie.something I wasn't allergic to. Instead I was offered a voucher for dish washing liquid. WHY would I want to try another of their products which I might also be allergic to? I did end up getting the detergent and luckily I wasn't allergic to it but since then I have been wary of using ANY wool wash.

    Blog advertising - not so long ago I was emailed about advertising for some Provo Jewellery company called (I think) chunky bling or something like that. Firstly, I'm totally not a jewellery gal. I wear my wedding ring and my engagement ring and I'm good - and even then when I don't have to wear them I take them off cos sometimes they give my finger a rash! Anyway I went and checked out this jewellery website just to be fair although I thought it was VERY odd that they had chosen this particular blog of mine with tiny readership and that I hadn't posted on for maybe half a year? So I checked out their site (bearing in mind I'm not a jewellery person anyway) and thought their stuff was quite hideous. They had praised my fashions and I guess they thought if they praised me I would praise them in return? Who knows. In the end I couldn't think of a nice way to say that I thought their jewellery was hideous and didn't support, let alone advertise products that I didn't believe in - so I just deleted their email. I'm just not an obligatory "Liker".

  30. I really appreciate reading this post (and your prior one)!
    I won a SA dress and my experience with them was subpar. I blogged about their customer service and the dress itself and I didn't hear squat from anyone. It was pretty pathetic.

  31. Kapow! Take that crappy customer service. This is exactly how I feel about my Kelly Moore bay and the experience I had writing a negative review about her product (she did respond, but her response was more like "Why don't you like me!?!??!!?" than good customer service). As I've learned I dislike the bag for all intents and purposes, and plan on selling it, then writing a new post about what I did instead, and bringing up my old post AGAIN. Whereas, if Kelly had reacted like a grown-up, she would have taken care of the situation right away, made me happy, and had a blogger with thousands of readers writing to say how great her experience was.

    I'm so never, ever buying from Shabby Apple ever again. Or linking to them.

  32. I'm late to the game on this. I realize it. But dude, I just read it. Forgive me. :-)

    I love how honest you are with this. Good for you!

    I've always wondered about Shabby Apple. I couldn't believe how much their dresses cost. I assumed that meant they were super high quality. That floors me that they would charge so much for something cheaply made.

    I ordered some Down East dresses on clearance when I was pregnant (for my post pregnant self)for something like $10. I figured I couldn't go wrong. They are pretty, but also don't seem like very good quality. (I haven't been able to wear them yet, thanks to my "still breastfeeding boobies".) I wasn't too bothered by the quality since I paid so little for them.

    So I'm intrigued that everyone has such great things to say about their dresses. (I just looked at their site and the Rio and Pretty Parisian dresses are on sale and I'm tempted. Should I buy one?)

    (I've been looking for a good dress for a while now without any luck. NOBODY makes dresses with sleeves anymore. I hate it.)

    Okay. That's enough from me.

    (Except to say that you are so adorable and I love your blog.)


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