Integrity, screwing up and doing the right thing.
Stepping outside of my normal blog ramblings, today I'm primarily writing to the other professional boudoir photographers that read my blog. ((Surprisingly, there are quite a few!)) We will call this a PSA of sorts - and by we, I mean me and the mouse in my pocket.
Before I offer a product line I do my homework. I speak to existing clients, in this case - other professional photographers and I get their opinions and feedback based on their experiences. I'd heard really good things about this lab from several photographers who are just as selective as I am when it comes to product offerings and I'd also had opportunity to see one in person as well. This album was intended to be my "plan-b" - a solution for those clients who have scheduled their sessions in a time frame that did not allow for my standard offerings.
The image above is of my newly acquired plan b sample. It's awesome. Looks great. Feels great. Well made. It's a good 'plan b'.
Fast forward to today. I open a package I received yesterday afternoon from Plan B lab and immediately noticed a problem with the binding. This won't do. No. This won't do at all.
Ok. Really. In the grand scheme of life this is really just a minor inconvenience. My client is picking up her album today to present to her husband for his birthday tomorrow, obviously there is no time to source a replacement. This will have to suffice for the moment.
This happens. It is what it is. These products are hand-crafted and we are human and we make mistakes.... it is my belief that the true measure of a person or service or company is in how they deal with their mistakes. Unfortunately, Finao chose to pass off this mistake in trying to convince me that the humidity caused this issue and I should store the book for 3-5 days under something heavy and issue *should* resolve itself and if it does not, I could return the album for a reprint.
First and foremost, this may be my 2nd order with this lab but it's not my first album nor was I born yesterday. The warping that occurs due to humidity causes a wave throughout the pages. There is no wave here. My primary lab ships all the way from Portugal and I've never had an issue with humidity causing a warp during the shipping process. This is poor binding. Plain and simple. In fact, I've experienced this issue once before with my primary lab, Floricolor USA, and I merely had to send over an image and a re-print was immediately sent without question.
Second, how do I tell my client "oh sorry your album has been poorly bound but the lab is telling me that it's warping due to humidity and I should have you do this and then if that doesn't work I need you to bring the album back to me so that I can send it back to the lab and then you can wait another two weeks for your re-printed album"
So where do I go from here? Well.. I'll have to give this album to my client so that she won't have to panic trying to find a replacement gift with the explanation that I will need to re-design and re-order this album within my primary lab's specifications. I will bear the expense of the reprint because I can't, in good conscience, deliver products to my clientele that are not up to par.
I'm disappointed that Finao doesn't hold themselves up to the same standard.
Living and learning.
A quick update on this: Immediately following my blog post a good friend of mine and one of those photographers who recommended Finao to me wrote them an email expressing her disappointment and told them that I would most likely be sharing my experience and the word would most likely be spread far.. guess what happened? They immediately started a reprint order and put it on a rush.
Does that make them golden in my eyes. No. Not really. One of those cases of too little, too late.