What Telfar Taught Us

Fusing exclusivity and accessibility, Telfar has redefined the meaning of community. With the release of their one-day-only Bag Security Program back in August, which allowed shoppers ONE DAY to purchase any of their favorite bags, Telfar gave a “FUCK YOU!” to resellers and a glimmer of hope to their doting customers. But aside from the security of our beloved bags, they gave us something more important: how to know when God says “it’s your season.”

1. Sowing seeds and preparing for YOUR season and the importance of patience.

Week after week, we have seen Telfar bags sell out. We saw frustrated customers going off because the Yellow Mini bag sold out again, or the Black Medium bag didn’t even appear to be in stock before it went out of stock again; however, at the top of the year, some Telfar bags could still be found in stock regularly. So what happened? We have seen how the pandemic has dismantled a number of businesses during this season, but what about the businesses who have astronomically taken off during this time? This isn’t just a coincidence, manifesting, or the universe at work. There is a reason for everything and when God says “It Is Your Season,” it’s your season.

2 Corinthians 9:6 says this:

Sowing seeds can look like many things. It can be working extremely hard at something and maintaining patience during your process and rising. It can be lending extensive kindness to others without reason. It can be living in joy. It can be respecting and loving your customers. Sowing a seed is simply an act of love – love to God. Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” When we work for God as opposed to for ourselves or others, He revels in this and HELPS us. Imagine supernatural forces HELPING YOU. bih!!!

me to the Lord’s help

When we work at and for things as if we we’re working for God rather than ourselves or others, this does not mean things will always go as planned or that your patience won’t sometimes grow weary and thin. We are human and God does not promise a life free of trials; however, it does mean that even when this does happen, God, as our foundation will always bring us back to center and ground us.

The importance of patience isn’t valued enough. Often times we look at others and wonder why and how they continually seem to be winning; always having sales and devoted customers, always looking fly, always appearing to have money (even though niggas be CAPPIN), and we look at ourselves and our lives and wonder what we’re doing wrong. We use the journey of others as comparison for our own, as opposed to standing firm in who we are, what we are doing, practicing patience, and hard work. Faith and patience will take you many places “connections” can’t at times so remember, even if things do not look the way you imagine, pray on it, ask the Lord for clarity, continue to work for what you want, and have patience.

Trust divine timing. Because when it is your season, you will have more abundance than you can even handle.

2. The importance of community.

“A leader is only as powerful as their empathy.”

Every week since the pandemic hit, we saw Telfar bags sell out. A slew of tweets from disgruntled supporters PISSED they missed out on another drop. And when the bots began to take over and found themselves in womxn’s and queer folx’s business, the girls were EXTRA PISSED. Take a look below at a few tweets:

they’re in cahoots
sorry sis
points were made

Shortly after, Telfar Clemens heard our cries and created the Telfar Bag Security Program. Their Bag Security Program created a way for any and everyone to get whatever bag they wanted in whatever size and quantities. August 19, 2020. 24 Hours Only. Every color. Every size. Any bag. Delivered to us no later than January 15, 2021. Period.

I WAS MFN SHOOK! I’ve never seen anything like this before. Most of us have never seen anything like this before. Most brands revel in “exclusivity” and often times exclusivity has meant: 1. Prices are HIGH 2. Limited stock 3. So get it while and IF you can bitch.

While I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with this model, I do believe we have gotten stuck in a loop of wanting things because no one else has them or can get them. Is the need for exclusivity to make ourselves feel better about something? Maybe. But Telfar changed the game. Telfar Clemens showed us that exclusivity and accessibility in luxury can coexist, and made it happen. And just like that, the resell market was obliterated.

I say all of this to say, as a brand, as an owner, as anything you put your name on that you either want people to buy or consume, you must listen to the issues your customers and supporters have. Often times these cries are simply support but reflected unconventionally. Now, let’s not act like these same supporters cannot be unreasonable at times, but the goal is to find the happy medium between pleasing yourself and pleasing those who support you. There is always a way. Telfar had a heart to understand our frustrations, and did something about that, and that’s how you clear a bitch!

Proverbs 2:2 says this:

“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.”

meditate on that.

3. Customer service will always be the most important part of your business.

Just like there’s no ranch without wings, a business is not a business without customers. You cannot have one without the other. Customers are essential because they are literally the lifeline of our businesses; they are buying from us and it is them that allows us to continue to keep products in production. It’s a cycle. Let’s look back at the pandemic. Because many brick and mortar businesses were closed, customers of these establishments could not customer and patronize these businesses. In turn, said businesses began to struggle because they were no longer generating revenue. And as we have seen, many businesses were forced to close.

We need one another.

Listening to your customers and supporters is IMPORTANT. Customer service is step 1 to any business – no matter how good your product is. You may always have loyal customers, but if your customer service is trash, you’ll always lose somebody. It is for this reason that Juvia’s Place will never even get another look from me, but this is a conversation for a different day.

There is always such a conversation around Black businesses and the lack of customer service. Poor customer service should not be synonymous with Black businesses. Even if there are 100 Black businesses with “poor” customer service, this not a Black business thing, it is THAT Black business’s thing. However with that being said, we can all do better. Listen to your customers. Be kind and gracious to them even if they’re nasty to you (this isn’t easy, trust me, I know). Extend to them whatever it is you would want to receive yourself. Update them on shipping status if things (yourself included) are moving abnormally slow. Write a nice and short hand written letter as a thank you in their order if you can. I can only speak from experience. It’s the little things that matter! Love matters. Transparency matters. All of your customers won’t care about these little things, but the fact that you know what YOU did to enhance their experience is all that matters.

from my favorite shoe girl, Nicolette Nichelle

Telfar saw that there was a missing space in the realm of luxury exclusivity and accessibility and filled that space. He listened to what we had to say; he listened to our concerns, and for that, he will have lifetime supporters. You show people you care by actually giving a damn.

Community and customer service go hand-in-hand. They are about equality for all. When you show that you care about your customers, they’ll show they care about you. When you show integrity, they show you integrity. They show you support.

If you run a Black business right now, evaluate your customer service. How would you rate it? Could you do better anywhere? Could you do better in your relationships? When your customers love you, they market for you. Look at Mingo by Domingo, AllCapsStudio, NicoletteNichelle, and many others. When you create quality and show the people you are listening, they’ll do a lot of the work for you without you even having to ask. Listening is simply analyzing reception and feedback.

Proverbs 19:20 says this:

speaks for itself

So what has Telfar Taught Us?

1. The importance of sowing seeds and preparing for OUR proper season. Your time is coming. Now it’s just time to truly believe that. Patience is one of our greatest virtues. Patience is an “I Trust You” to God.

2. The importance of community.

3. The importance of customer service and how it will always be the most important part of your business.

And one last thing – just a quick reminder for the girls:

and that’s that, on that! 🥂

shop telfar here.

-oo

2 thoughts on “What Telfar Taught Us”

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