So we normally don’t do this.
We are not quite sure what the details are about this business transaction involving Tope Abiola of evening wear label, Frock and Rock It but today, a friend of a disgruntled customer took to social media to complain bitterly about a terribly made replica dress the label was supposed to make for her wedding day. There were broken zips, differing fabric from the pictorial sample given and basically a dress that looked nothing like the original. Heated words were sent back and forth with no consensus reached and a severely disappointed customer.
Here are a few things we took from this.
While we would never condone a design label as highly regarded as Frock it and Rock It copying another established designer’s work for a client, we understand that Nigerian clients can be quite particular about what they want and design labels are ultimately businesses. Also, it is important to note that international designers usually design the lace they use for their collection in collaboration with professional lace makers in Italy, Ireland or the US and as such it is practically impossible to make an exact copy of a designer dress. So it would be unrealistic to expect an exact replica.
Here is our grouse. There should be proper channels for business transactions, complaints and inquiries from customers, especially for a brand as supposedly big as FnR. Customer relations isn’t something you can overlook, hence no established business should be doing business directly with clients over Whatsapp.
With proper channels of business and complaints, the woman who ordered the dress should have had multiple consultations where issues like fabric choices and fit would have been hashed out. There are far more official channels and ways of handling dissatisfied customers. But then again, this is endemic of the industry as whole.
The customer is treated as though they are being a done a favor instead of paying for a service or a product. They are spoken to with disdain, their legitimate worries about the clothes and accessories they are buying dismissed and they are offered substandard products. Until this changes, the Nigerian fashion industry will continue to haemorrhage valuable business.
We need to demand a better customer relations experience from Nigerian designers, all of them.
Frock It ‘N’ Rock It put out a quick statement via their official Instagram, a post they took down not longer after. But this is the 21st century and everyone has screenshots. So here is their redacted official statement.