*update 16th March 2012* Kandee contacted me immediately after this post was published. We emailed back and forth for a couple of weeks. They felt some of the points I raised in this article were misleading to potential customers and were very surprised that I hadn't notified them of these issues before now. Finally last week, I received a phone call to go into detail of my issues with the Jezebel booties. Kandee maintain a portion of the Jezebel boots were made with faulty zips and these were either recalled or the unsold were reduced considerably (to around £50). The rest of the stock were made with zips in working order and this is where my second pair of boots came from, that I wrote about in this post. The zips were not faulty. Kandee felt they had to be objective and could not take into account my past history with the company through all the shoes I've purchased and blog posts I've written. Quite rightly not everyone has a 'voice' or platform like this to write their opinions, so I had to be treated like any other customer regardless of how big a fan I'd been. The final decision was based on the timescale and they felt 8 months was too long to do anything about it. This is regardless of me discovering the issue 8 months down the line and regardless of photo evidence that the boots have never been worn. Kandee feel they can't verify what has happened to the zips in that period and this was the sticking point. I will therefore not receive any refund, replacement or offer of repairs. I did however receive compensation of £20 for the £10 p&p charges I paid returning the original Jezebel boots (that also broke, when I hadn't received money at the time). This money was placed into my Kandee account.* Thank you for all your comments regarding this issue-I've read every single one and the emails/messages about it. The above update does not take into account my feelings on the subject-I wanted it only to contain the facts of the situation as I voiced my opinion in areas of the article below and I think you could guess how I feel. I respect that Kandee took the time to deal with this issue and especially the phone call-I've always known that they read everything you write about them. They maintain the customer is key to their brand and I would advise all of you to be very vocal about any issues you have with any items/brand as quickly as possible.
So here it is, the post I've been dreading writing. I want to begin by saying I am not writing this in anger nor am I mindlessly trying to discredit a company-you don't know me well enough if you think I'm capable of that. This post is based on the facts of what happened and I have in no way edited the truth to either make myself look better or the company look worse. As a blogger and one that has formed a reasonably close relationship with this company, in an unofficial capacity, it hurts me to write negatively about them all the more. However, I feel I have a duty to my readers to remain completely honest, transparent and open about this situation and also to let it act as a warning. You can leave your views or any questions in the comments section-I would love your feedback on this.
Kandee. I was one of the few bloggers right back at their launch, writing about them. Over the past couple of years, you've seen several posts about the brand and lots of shoes I've purchased. Comments from my readers have been somewhat mixed for these posts. Many love the designs but have questioned the quality and at times their customer service. I've been a bit blinded by my enthusiasm for the shoes on occasion and forgiven the odd defect, if I'm totally honest.
The faulty zip scandal aside, there are other points that I see as constructive criticism that I would like to bring up. The quality (other than zips) isn't always there with Kandee shoes. My Caramel Kisses were again bought in the sale but I don't think that should mean there are scratches or dents to them. Specifically speaking, in places the metallic gold was matte and in others areas there was a clear film (mainly at seams) sticking out. I was disappointed with this from the moment I opened the box, definitely. Don't get me wrong, I loved this design and was desperate to own them but I did expect more of them, after all I was still paying over £100 for them. Had I spotted these shoes in a shop I probably wouldn't have purchased them in that condition. It's a hassle and expense to return them though, so I did nothing about it. Plus as I said, I was desperate to own them and buying the last pair in that size, it was all or nothing. Kandee need to look at either their warehouse storage of the shoes or whether the issues occur before that stage and address it, before people wise-up and stop purchasing goods that don't meet their expectations. Sale prices shouldn't mean shoddy goods and I reckon even at full price they'll be in the same condition.
Secondly the design of the shoes are great, there's no faulting that for me and it's what attracted me to the brand in the first place. They look fabulous...in theory. However I'd be keen to know the stages they go through from designs on a piece of paper to samples to production. I say this because as a woman who has worn heels for the past 20 years and is a pro at tackling platforms and skinny heels and can pretty much walk in anything, Kandee heel heights are too extreme. It's rare I find a shoe that breaks me, but I have to be honest and say Kandee do, so what are they like for those that usually struggle? I thought the chunkier heels this past season (Bubble Gum, Caramel Kisses etc) would perhaps be easier (you wouldn't have that fear of the thin heel buckling under your weight), but owning both those styles I can say they're even harder to walk in. Their construction is such that your foot is practically vertical, thus it's very difficult to find the strength to lift your feet off the ground to power your walking, actually almost impossible. I was completely blinded (again) by how much I liked the look of those shoes that it wasn't until I properly tested them out last week that I realised I couldn't walk in them. It's a complete struggle each step, not to stay balanced but to actually walk. It's slow, unnatural and clompy and 95 year old Granny's with zimmer frames would overtake me if I ever venture outside in them! I in no way mean this as a sexist statement, but with a male designer, I just wonder if there's a female somewhere to road-test these shoes before they hit the site. Without actually walking in them yourself, it's difficult to comprehend the issues. I'm finding myself more drawn to styles that deliver a safe feeling heel (and this doesn't mean low heels) and this comes from construction and quality. You need to feel safe enough to walk with confidence no matter the heel height, without fear of it breaking or you falling.
I know the shoes are seen as 'occassion shoes' mostly, but you still need to be able to walk in them. Also for their price, I doubt many could warrant paying that for a one or two time wear. Personally I can handle glitter, bright colours and a formal feel during the day, so I'd prefer a more wearable heel like the studded Mash'A'Mallow rather than those over 6". M'A'M feel sturdy enough and there are no issues getting your feet to take steps. I think the price points therefore need to be looked at. Very few will pay over £200 for a pair of shoes that a) are not up to quality and b) are too difficult to wear.
This last collection were made in extremely limited numbers-I think it was something like 40 pairs across all sizes. Yet I found after they'd 'sold-out' on Kandee they were available on New Look and Spoiled Brat as well as several pairs being sold in their Facebook sales. Considering the very low numbers of shoes available, I would sincerely hope that Kandee weren't bending the truth about that to make the shoes seem more appealing-but obviously I have no proof of this, it's purely speculative.
Finally I know how PR works, it's great to get a celebrity pictured wearing your creation or to be featured in a magazine, but overlooking your core customers (like me), who helped 'build' the company is completely the wrong route to take. The emphasis I feel lately with Kandee has been on celebrity image and events which is great publicity but when people start to hear of poor quality and bad customer care none of that will matter. You need publicity but you need a good, honest business behind that. It's people like me that dip into their purse to pay for the shoes at the end of the day that keep that company going and got it off the ground. Without me and those like me the company wouldn't exist and that's not an exaggeration.
In conclusion, I will no longer act as an unofficial spokesperson for the brand nor will I purchase their shoes again. At this point, I'm feeling so dejected that I'm considering selling all the pairs I do own, because they are a constant reminder for me. I'm extremely hurt that anyone could take £115 for a worthless pair of shoes and knowingly do so and feel no remorse for it. I've been feeling depressed all week about this situation and cried about it twice, which no shoe purchase should ever make you do. I feel extremely embarrassed and will be forever kicking myself about it. That money means a lot to me and I never take for granted the value of it. To a company, it probably doesn't mean much, but it does to me and it's loss hurts just as much as them 'stabbing me in the back'. The whole way this situation was handled right from the original pair of boots was underhanded and sneaky and no matter how much I love shoes and loved Kandee, I don't think I can forgive them for that. I like Josh, he's a young guy who's made a unique brand and started from scratch and has great ambition, there's nothing wrong with that but I'm disheartened with the path Kandee are on. I hope they can rectify that before it's too late because customer care and 'getting what you pay for' should be it's core values. No company will last without that, people will see sense eventually. I'm sorry if any of you have felt I've mislead you over the years-I can get carried away with pretty things and the excitement of getting them, but I would never lie about the quality or service or influence you into buying something that wasn't up to standard. Kandee have always replied promptly to emails no matter what it's regarding and I'm sure I've mentioned that in previous posts. I've overlooked slight defects in the past, but this last instance was just one step too far. I'm sad it's come to this and I'm sad to make it public, but like I said I have a duty to you and could not pretend everything was ok when it wasn't. As I said in the introduction I value your opinion, you're welcome to comment below and in no way have to agree with my views. If there are any further developments, I will update accordingly.