Well this is a tough story to pass along, news is emerging that quirky teen retailer ShopJeen has hit major stumbling blocks with its site currently listing a message reading “We’ll Be Back Soon” for the past several days. Buzzfeed published a statement from founder Erin Yogasundram stating:
“Shop Jeen has been experiencing operational challenges, which we are working extremely hard to address. Fortunately, we are close to a resolution and the site will be operational shortly. Approximately 5% of orders from the last 60 days have been affected and we ensure that they will all be shipped. Nothing is more important to us than our relationship with our customers and we sincerely apologize for the disruption in service.”
Since issuing the statement, Yogasundrum also issued a series of Tweets (below), as well as a lengthy statement on Snapchat, first saying how inspired she was by fans of the site and her story, followed by a series of statements acknowledging “issues” and a focus on making things right with people who were awaiting order fulfillment and vendors.
“I know this is a lot of information, probably a lot more than most companies would share, but it’s always been really important for us to us to be as transparent as possible. I really, really want to keep you guys updated as much we can as we get through this time because we’re going to get through it. This has been such an insane learning process and we really appreciate everyone who has been along for the ride and given us their support. Everybody from our customers supporting our store to our followers who are sharing love on Instagram to our vendors who believe in the power of our platform and everybody else, you really don’t know how much it means to us. Please know that we are doing everything humanly possible to do right by everyone. Never would we ever want anyone not to receive their stuff. Never would we want to owe anyone money. We really want this company to be great and to continue to empower so many people. That’s why we do this. When the operational issues are overcome, we will make sure that everyone who has been a part of ShopJeen has been made right. Our first priority is the customer as well as everyone we partnered with to make ShopJeen what it is today.
“We are very confident that we will figure this out, and all we ask for is your patience, support and blessing. I’m sure a lot of you guys are going to reach out on social media and email and I will definitely try to get back to you as soon as possible, but things are really crazy now so please bear with me. We are prioritizing addressing concerns with any of the orders affected by these issues. We will get back to you guys as soon as we can, we promise.
“We’re working as fast as we can. We’re going to get everything taken care of and we appreciate your patience so so so much. We’re understaffed and we’re juggling a lot but we’re definitely going to get through this. It’s not about the fall, it’s about how you get back up and like, we have been through some shit and we’re going to get through this like we have gotten through everything else. We’re excited for the future and we can’t wait to get things back on track. We will. We have so much more to share with you guys, stay tuned.”
Within the statement, she mentioned supporters offering to create a GoFundMe page or send Paypal donations, which Yogasundrum said she appreciated, but couldn’t accepting, saying, “we wouldn’t feel right taking anyone’s money without giving anything in return.”
In September last year, Jezebel reported Shop Jeen growing pains, including being sued by Chanel, as well as late payments to multiple vendors. ShopJeen has also racked up a myriad of complaints related to unfulfilled orders. To cut back on costs, Yogasundram and her partner Amelia Muqbel relocated the company from New York to Los Angeles, last year in June at which time it laid off most of its employees.
Similar to cash flow issues experienced by Karmaloop (declared bankruptcy in 2015), and NastyGal (multiple rounds of layoffs over the past two years), we have to guess that ShopJeen in its early days (it was founded in 2012) benefited from an e-commerce space in which its unique mix of lovably, goofball offerings had cache, in part because the space hadn’t been attacked by major retailers and manufacturers. Over the past several years, the big boys have descended in a much bigger way, not only attacking even fringe fashion trends smaller sites used to be able to build a business around, but using big ad budgets to muscle their way onto internet page across multiple platforms.
No doubt aware of some of the stress Yogasundrum and Muqbel are going through, NastyGal founder, Sophia Amoruso, Tweeted a show of support earlier today:
— SOPHIA AMORUSO (@sophiaamoruso) May 21, 2016
It’s not good that bills are being paid and customers’ paid for orders are not being fulfilled on time, but Yogasundrum and Muqbel haven’t morphed into bad people because they’ve run into business problems. They’re the same young, irreverent creatives they’ve always been, only now saddled with what sounds like a lot of debt. The good part is that everything is coming out in the open, which usually means things are going to be super intense for a period because of intensified press coverage, but then they can begin sorting through the wreckage and rebuilding. We wish them well.
we are answering all questions, comments and concerns as fast as we can. we sincerely thank you guys for your patience and support ❣
— SHOPJEEN.com (@SHOPJEEN) May 21, 2016
we chose snapchat as the medium to release the statement as we engage with most of our audience there. hope y’all watch ❣ — SHOPJEEN.com (@SHOPJEEN) May 21, 2016