Saturday, December 18, 2010

Customer Service -- It's in the Bag!

Product-touting rarely happens here, but every so often, a company is so consistently good at what it does that I think people should know. This is how I feel about M0851 which I first wrote about in April 2009 when I bought my Knot bag.

Carrying it through my daily life quickly convinced me of the brilliant functionality of its design, and I wanted to spread the love. But Pater wouldn't appreciate the Knot, so I birthday gifted him with a computer bag that he uses daily as a briefcase but will also throw gym gear in. Indeed, he swears he could get through a weekend away with just this bag.
I also picked up this small classic bag for him, for all those times when he doesn't want the size and weight of a messenger bag, but still wants somewhere to stow the reading glasses and keys. He wasn't sure, at first, that he'd use this, and our kids tease him and call it his man-purse, but it's ended up being one of the best gifts I've ever scored for him. In fact, he uses it so often that he took it to Paris/London this year instead of a messenger bag -- annoying me because its small size precluded him carrying extra shoes or whatever for me.
This fall, I bought another bag for myself, a now-discontinued model from the Functional line, and while other bags may look more stylish (although the Functional classic lines and beautiful lightweight leathers please my eye), the wearability and functionality M0851 builds in turns out to be addictive -- I find I'm not switching over to other beloved bags because they just don't offer the ease of use.

We gave our son an M0851 Messenger bag for Christmas last year -- a splurge, but one that saved me a ton of shopping around and gave him a bag he'll have for years and years.

That justification -- buying pricey products which deliver the longevity of quality -- brings me to my point.

This summer, we were annoyed and disappointed to find that the zipper on Paul's bag, after a year's use, was refusing to fasten properly. No worries, though. Confident that Kimberley (who actually remembers her customers' names, even if they only come in once or twice a year) at M0851's Vancouver shop would look after the problem, Paul took it in. Sure enough, they would repair it. But they had to send it away (Montreal? Toronto? ), and he'd be without it for six weeks. Towards the end of that period, we popped in to check on the bag's status, and I told Kimberley how unhappy I was that something I'd paid a fair bit for (M0851's prices are actually quite reasonable compared to most luxury-brands, as you'll see on their website; Paul's bag was around $500) had disappointed. While I appreciated that this would be fixed with the zipper replacement, I couldn't get over the giftee having to do without his daily case, in a business environment, for over six weeks. What was he supposed to do in the meantime? Throw his files in a large plastic bag?

Kimberley listened, sympathized, commiserated, but we walked out of the shop with only a promise that she'd call when the bag was ready for pick-up. And another week. One more. Then we got a voicemail message asking Paul to call a charming Montréalaise who, when he did, apologized profusely for the delay, asked for our address so she could Express the bag directly to our home, saving us a trip to the shop. AND she invited Paul to choose any gift he wished from M0851's Accessories, as seen on their website. Click here, if you'd like to see what he picked. We worried that it might be a bit big to replace what he was already using, but it has turned out to delight him with its functionality and general usefulness just as much as his man-purse and computer bag. Which latter, in case you're wondering, is beautifully restored to full use.

So if you're looking for a special gift from a company that really stands behind their product, you might consider an M0851 wallet or bag. I'm receiving no remuneration at all for singing their praises, but I believe that good service should be noted. I complained to Kimberley when I was unhappy with their response, but she acknowledged, apologized for, and compensated for any shortcoming. That deserves attention, being sadly all too rare these days.

And there's always more room under that Christmas tree I'm back to enjoying. Madness in the shops this weekend, though --- are you still heading out in the crowds or are you all done, enjoying a mincemeat tart in the kitchen. . . ?

16 comments:

  1. I am not finished all my errands and shopping but will slowly get around to it this week.

    Refreshing to know that a company will stand behind their products...and they are Canadian!

    Enjoy the weekend mater.

    Leslie

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  2. OMG - you got my new wallet for FREE! That's awesome (though pain in the ass re: zipper). BTW, I have a blue (kind of wedgewood but a bit darker) one. It's the only thing I've been able to carry for the last 3 weeks, since the foot injury. I love that thing - I've worn it to travel, it can be worn 3 different ways - best thing ever. And mine was on sale one year for half off.c

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  3. Wow - that comment was incomprehensible. The blue thing I'm referring to isn't the wallet (I got the same colour you linked to in the wallet), it's the mini bag. BTW, I've had it for years and it looks better now than it did when it was new.

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  4. I am laying low. My grades have been turned in and all the pecans have been roasted and flavored. Expecting snow.

    These sound like great bags, though a bit pricey.

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  5. Wonderful bags. Nothing like being in purse heaven. Enjoyed a browse thru the website. Carry it with pleasure Mater. Merry Christmas, Marg

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  6. I do like to hear about good service like that. I didn't tell you I passed their shop in NYC, and was dying to go in, but Spouse was in a rush (to get away from shops, I think), so I failed. But the bags did look gorgeous through the window. A good bag is definitely worth spending money on - there are plenty that cost a bomb and just aren't worth it (like Pseu saying the Alexa looks cheap up close).

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  7. I have done about zero Christmas preparations. I do have one or three gifts ready. I don´t wish to panic this year, so I take it one day at a time : )

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  8. Hostess: As long as you take it slow, it's not too bad, is it? A few errands a day, then build in some downtime, so as not to get too frantic or burned out by Christmas day. Thanks for mentioning that M0851 is Canadian -- I'm surprised I left that out.
    K: You actually featured in Paul's choice of accessory -- I told him that a blogger friend had recently commented on how great the M0851 wallets were.
    I can see how that mini-bag would work for you right now -- it's so lightweight, but it holds all the basics. Not sure I'll tell the kids I know a woman who uses one, 'cause then he'll really get teased. But his man-version is a cool olive-y brown -- your blue might not work for him!
    Terri: Isn't that a great feeling? I've still got about 40 exams to mark and then grades to collate, but I hope to be down by Wednesday.
    Roasted pecans, mmmmm.
    Marguerite: Welcome! Nice to hear a new voice here, especially from someone who appreciates a good bag.
    Tiffany: Oh, I'd love to see that shop window! Quite honestly, I was a bit intimidated by the Vancouver one at first -- quite spare, sleek, modern. It's very friendly inside, but I passed by a few times before going in.
    And yes, I think it's worth the expense, although this is new territory for me. Obv. luxury bags are much, much more, but for me $500 is huge. Yet on a cost-per-wear basis, especially since I tend not to switch bags v. often, I'll get more out of this item than most of my wardrobe.
    Metscan: I think that's a good attitude to have . . . our families will appreciate the gift of our happiness more than any gifts given from a place of frantic, frazzled rushing, no?

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  9. Oh dear, I am so flattered that you came to visit with me!!! I see you are an English prof...oooohhhh...I am a French teacher! I am married to a historian whom Tish adores. He is a great writer and maybe you would like his works....but I am very, very pleased that you enjoyed my presentation; let me tell you, working full-time with 50 fourth graders is not an easy feat to juggle with being an artist, a harpist and a wannabe writer! Thank you ma'am for your visit and please, do come again!!! LOVELY READ by the way! Fondly, Anita

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  10. Mater, no crowds for me..too sad, no pressie's either as I did not expect to STILL be here and I prefer to give theatre trips or money to my kids to spend on clothes. Mincemeat tart? Hate the bloody things!!
    However could you please phone up BA for me and get me a free gift! I think your bag people might teach them a lesson in customer service!
    It is lovely to find a product that works so well and service like that is so worth it in terms of a good feeling and shopping experience. I agree with you about Zara and that feeling permeates the blogsphere, and yet there are very few places left that scratch that particular itch, I'm like a moth to a flame!!

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  11. I can't get any of my males to consider a murse. Le Duc carries a briefcase, my sons, MEC backpacks. But they love their MO851 wallets!

    I don't take on stressful activity at Christmas. A tree, a roast, gifts (always a very few) collected over the year, and attending about one sixth of all possible social events.

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  12. Anita: I love your blog and am so pleased to have discovered it -- looking forward to many more visits!
    Alison: I'm so sorry! I'll be crossing my fingers that you might still get transported to where you all should be. Meanwhile, though, may you find some joys of the season right in your own neighbourhood -- maybe some last-minute tree photos?
    Duchesse: Your attitude sounds like a very sensible one for the season. We keep the focus on family and try to spread out the day, gently, and it seems to work.
    As for the man-purse, we began with the messenger bag and, um, evolved. I think what makes a difference is that we are on foot so much -- and with Paul needing reading glasses now, and the boat keys having that unwieldy floater . . .

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  13. I was so impressed with this company when we visited their Vancouver store last year. They seemed to personable and helpful. Though I really didn't "need" another bag, I still have non-buyers remorse that I didn't get the one I was looking at. (And which has since been out of stock in that grey color.) I'll have to find an excuse to visit Vancouver again, and you can take me shopping there!

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  14. Pseu: If you ever get seriously sad about that bag, let me know the deets and I'll check with Kimberly to see if it's "gettable." Her service is different than the Website, good as they are. Of course, I'd really rather have you come visit again!

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  15. I've been seriously ogling the M0851 website since both you and K-Line have mentioned the bags. I need a new black bag, that is casual and yet not too casual, stylish and has some structure but not too much. Your knot bag with a flap really appeals. I have a bag, much more expensive, woven leather by Miu Miu, that is perfect style-wise but not so functional, it is a big unstructured hobo and it drives me crazy that things just roll around in willy-nilly. I love the look but hate using it.

    Perhaps I need to run down to NYC sometime soon, now that I have some help at home, and go to an actual store.

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  16. Mardel: I love my Knot bag and am still seriously thinking of getting another one in a more practical colour (mine is Tomato, a faded pink-red that I've never really loved) -- meanwhile, my Functional bag goes everywhere. I'm quite sure you'd like the whole aesthetic. One of my favourite aspects is that they do no advertising at all -- it's all word of mouth, so the strength of the product is paramount.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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