This salacious title all stemmed from a conversation I had with an old client, now friend over a drink after work one evening. We were in an uber trendy spot in the trendiest part of East London. The girls had chunks missing out of their hair, the gents beards were groomed to the perfect length and everyone was rocking the Nordic wardrobe.
We inevitably found ourselves commenting on our surroundings and the actors and actresses on this stage. This bubble, within a bubble. It was not good enough anymore to be in East London, you had to be at the epicentre. These characters were hyper-real, you could study them for hours. They were visually fascinating. We wondered of their lives online and spoke of the trend of Instagram superstars, the people with tens, if not hundreds of followers. Within moments I was going to hear of someone that would become the epicenter of my bubble.
Bored on a Wednesday afternoon I found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed, looking for people to follow. With that conversation still ringing in my ears I was on the hunt for someone cool. Then if by magic, there she was, Vanessa Lake. I was in love. Her tattoos kicked ass and she rocked an awesome haircut. She was the hyper-real, Instagram superstar we had been talking about. She also had an e-shop, it was too tempting to turn down. Our conversation had taken a bite out of my wallet, albeit a small one.
The waiting game. I’d like to say that I ran home every day after work to see if the postman had been by but after a couple of days I forgot all about my order. A month later, still no delivery. This was odd, perhaps it got lost in the post. It probably got lost in the post. I found my original order from Vanessa Lake’s e-shop and fired off a short e-mail.
Less than 30 minutes later I had a new inbox notification, it was a reply to my e-mail. Even better it was from Vanessa herself, surely she doesn’t actually reply directly to customers? I was aware that there were probably quite lot of weirdos ordering stuff from these girls and I was clinging on to the hope that I wasn’t becoming one of them. Although the thought of Vanessa sending me a direct, personal e-mail did make my heart jump. I had become one of them.
Vanessa had unwittingly nailed the crucial elements to great customer service, make it personal and prompt.
Her e-mail addressed me by first name. She apologised for the lack of delivery. Immediately responding by sending me another print, first class. I don’t know if this was by accident or design but after her sign off a set of familiar words ran together, Sent from my iPhone. I found myself studying these words over and over again. Weaving layers of subtext into them. I imagined Vanessa strolling down the street in LA, getting a notification into her personal inbox and firing off a mail all to me.
Before I knew it a few days had rolled by and as I walked in the door one evening, a cylindrical tube lay waiting for me with a different-looking stamp on it. The kind of marking that can only denote an international delivery. It was here. Queue the kid opening his presents on Christmas morning moment.
Inside was indeed my print in all it’s glory. But there was more, taking me by surprise was a copy of Inked Magazine in which Vanessa had a photography shoot in, on which she had unbelievably signed my name on her photo. She was taking the meaning of personal to another level. That personal touch goes a long way in making a disgruntled customer into a life-long fan.