April 29th, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Customer ServiceGeneralInside Snugabell

The Snugabell Promise of Quality, Integrity, Accountability and umm... Socks?

I don't understand why companies do it.  They have a great product, build a great brand following and then they change something.  From the consumer's standpoint, it is usually a change for the worse; for the manufacturer, however, it almost always means higher profits.  All that work of building their reputation and brand and they throw it all out the window.  I.don't.get.it.

Old Navy triple rolls socksTake for example Old Navy infant and toddler socks.  You know the ones I'm talking about?  The triple-roll socks that have rubberized writing on the soles stating the size (so handy when you have two little ones that are close in age).  The ones that were/are $1.75/pair or six pairs for $10.00 (it's been a while since I've bought them, so I may be a bit off on the price).  Well a few years back when my now five year old was a baby, we bought them by the bucket-full.  Every colour under the sun and two each of the neutrals.  And then my younger daughter wore them and then I passed them on to my sister and her daughter wore them.  And they are STILL in good condition!  I think I've thrown out maybe two or three pairs after 5-1/2 years and three kids!

They were all cotton with a bit of spandex.  They faded a bit over time and even shrunk a teensy bit (such is the nature of cotton), but they LASTED and LASTED and LASTED.  I recommended them to everyone I met that had kids.

Then I bought a couple of new pairs for the girls last fall as we were having family pictures done and we were all wearing black.  I needed new inky black socks.

So I went to our local mall and bought two pairs - one for each of my daughters.  They felt a bit silkier than before but looked the same.  I noticed that they were now made with 81% cotton/17% polyester/2% spandex.  Hmmm...

Six months later, I threw both pairs in the garbage because they had LARGE gaping holes on the balls of the feet - not even on the heel.  I was choked!  SIX MONTHS!  I guess they added the polyester to prevent the fading or the minimal shrinking or perhaps because polyester is cheaper?  Or maybe because they didn't have enough repeat customers due to the fact that their old socks lasted too long...  ???

I will never buy them again.  Ever.

I'm on a roll with the socks, so I will continue.  I bought a couple of pairs of Calvin Klein ladies' black dress socks for myself eons ago (honestly, they're older than my kids).  They are just now starting to wear thin, no holes yet, just wearing thin.  Did I mention that I've had these socks for years?  I think it is going on ten years.  Seriously.

Calvin Klein ladies' dress socksSo seeing that they were starting to wear thin, I decided to go the The Bay (where I had bought them) and buy more.  Of course, they didn't have exactly the same ones ten years later, but I bought what I thought were comparable socks.  Two pairs each of two different styles - footies and anklets.  Calvin Klein.  After two months, they had holes in them.  All eight of the socks had holes in them.  And not on the heel or where the balls of your feet sit either.  The holes were in random spots around the ankle where the knitting machine did the full-fashioning (shaping) to make the sock "bend" to go around your ankle.  Random holes on my new socks.  My background in the apparel industry tells me they are simply poor quality and/or they no longer do product testing and/or they have lowered their quality control standards.  A lot.

Every time I'm folding laundry and start pairing-up the socks and see the HOLES, I get annoyed.  AND then I see my 10 year old socks in the pile that are still in one piece!

What the heck is with the crappy socks???

Needless to say, I am choked.  Again.  And I need some answers!  Where oh where can I buy decent socks?  I just spent a good 10 minutes searching online for "cotton socks" and nothing really comes up!?!  Update:  I think I found the answer to my dreams (literally):  Sock Dreams!  Check them out!

But WHY do companies do this?  As a business owner, I understand the desire to increase your bottom line, but are you not shooting yourself in the foot (pun most definitely intended) if your product becomes sub-standard and you lose customers?


high quality PumpEase I remember about a year ago, we received a bad batch of production from our factory.  It was either 600 pieces and we sent back 400 or 800 pieces and we sent back 600.  Yes it cost us twice as much in quality control to check every PumpEase two times.  Yes it delayed our orders.  Yes it was frustrating!!!  However there was no question in my mind that they all get sent back to the factory.  I couldn't even fathom sending out a sub-standard product and "hoping for the best".  No way.  Not even an option.

In my mind, my product, my company and my reputation are all very intricately woven together.  If my company starts producing shoddy goods, that reflects on me personally.  It's just not going to happen.  I give you my word.  And I am super-duper proud of the high quality that is reflected in our products.  :-)

So, tell us... have you ever experienced a particular brand's quality decreasing over time?  What did you do about it - just accept it or switch brands?  Do you expect, as I do, consistency in quality when you are loyal to a particular brand?  Please leave your thoughts below.


Tags: 'quality control', socks, 'sock holes', 'calvin klein'

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Tara says:

I've noticed the same thing with many brands, especially as they get "big". They care less about the quality and more about the bottom line...and it shows. I just have to wonder how it feels when they hit the bottom...

And ummm thanks...now I'm going to own green and blue striped toe socks w/ grippers. I'm now calling you my sock enabler :)

Posted on April 30, 2010

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

@Tara - I will gladly add that to my repertoire of titles.. alongside mom, wife, founder of PumpEase, breastfeeding advocate and all the other wonderful things that I get to do! Thanks for your comment! :-)

Posted on April 30, 2010

Robin says:

oh good grief, that IS a frustratiion, especially on something so seemingly simple AND a staple to boot (pardon the puns). Ok, so I'll admit I haven't bought sox in a while, my DH bought me Uggs a while back and why bother but ... I've always liked Cotton Ginney's. The price point is good, they're all cotton and yes, the black fades but, inside boots, who cares. Oh and they w-e-a-r very well. I like the look of Sock Dreams though .... hmmm.

Posted on May 1, 2010

Deidrea Haysel says:

KUDOS to you Wendy. This only makes me respect you more and respect your business more. Because at the end of the day, it's not always about how much money you saved, it's about how happy your customers are, and how loyal they are. And with a quality product and you standing behind your product, your customers ARE happy, today, tomorrow and after years of washing ;)

Posted on May 4, 2010

Judy @MommyNewsBlog says:

That is what I love so much about you Wendy - your integrity! I know that I will always get a high quality product from you!

And yes, there seem to be decreasing quality standards everywhere! I used to buy my tops at Talbots, but found that after 2 washings, they look 3 years old - even though they are supposed to be business tops! UGH - and they are super expensive too!

Posted on May 22, 2010

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

@Robin - I haven't been to a Cotton Ginny in years (used to shop there a log), but I will check them out again. Every time I put my socks on and see the holes, it makes my blood boil!

@Deidrea - thank you! xox

@Judy - your comment made me very proud! :-) And that sux about Talbots... so sad. Doesn't ANYONE care anymore?

Posted on May 22, 2010