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Okay, I am going to date myself here, ready.. I am going to be 45 in November.. Yep, 45.. And I still dress the same as I did when I was ...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Super Quick Clever Kingdom Update...

Since the popularity of this search terms grows, I thought I should update one and all on the lastest.

Melissa and I are talking, and she seems to genuinely want things to go right. She forwarded me a nice email that explained all that had happened, that I will repost below, and she seems like she just got in a bit over her head, and that she is working on getting back on track.

Hopefully very soon, I will have some pictures of the kidlets in their new Clever Kingdom outfits to post, and believe me, the minute they come in the mail I will!

I have always maintained that I loved the Clever Kingdom product, and I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and I can totally understand getting in over your head. So let's hope that this is all behind her now, and Clever Kingdom will be moving forward in a positive direction!

This is Melissa's letter, and I wanted to post it for all to read. This is not an open invitation for more Melissa bashing, if you already left negative comments on my other post, please do not do so again, I have a delete button, and I am not afraid to use it ;)

An open letter regarding clever kingdom!

I began clever kingdom! almost two years ago. It was my dream to partner an adorable clothing line with my strong belief that professional mothers should have options. After holding each of my newborn sons, I knew that going back to work was a torture that I wasn’t ready to endure. I knew I was not alone and so I set out to create another option. Something more.

clever kingdom! began in a spare bedroom with four of my friends acting as consultants – only one of which was brave enough to hit the home party scene. But, because of her efforts, because of the countless hours we all put in, and because of the internet, word got out quickly. In our first 6 months we hit 19 consultants and at our first anniversary we had surpassed 100. Just shy of 18 months, we had signed on over 150 women.

With any start-up there are challenges and hurdles, some much harder to anticipate than others. Have I made mistakes? Yes, there are many things, with hindsight, I wish I’d done differently. Production speeds up and production slows down. Consultants (especially 100+) require many different types of training and support. There is a lot to learn along the way. For the majority of the past two years, I have worn 90% of the hats from design, training, production, and administration -- typically, working 16-18 hour days which, of course, is to be expected. I am definitely not complaining.

And of course, I began this business on a shoestring. Beginning a venture undercapitalized is tough enough, but when it involves other women (I quickly learned) it becomes even more complicated and certainly is, in many ways unfair to them. And this is definitely one of the things I wish I would have realized when first starting out, and absolutely an area that I am constantly focused on improving.

Personally, especially over the last nine months, there have been life circumstances that have made things much more challenging. There has been unexpected illness and hospitalization to close family members (on several occasions) and a cross-country family move. By no means do I believe this removes my accountability. However, these certainly were circumstances that I did not plan on, and they were difficult to navigate through while running a business that was growing exponentially. Thankfully the future allows for maturity, wisdom and hindsight – all offering new ways to handle situations that I can only wish I’d handled better previously.

But there are so many things to be proud of. We have many happy consultants and our business is still growing, thankfully, steadily. I have now been able to place key people into positions creating a stronger infrastructure for the company -- and for the consultants who depend on it. I have a board of business partners that bring many different talents to the table. I am better informed when critical decisions need to be made. This is a far cry from even four months ago when I, for the most part, was doing the majority of work alone. Of course, it is truly exciting to have such a strong team assembled to support clever kingdom! as we continue to gain momentum and altitude.

While I do want to acknowledge, because it would be dead wrong not to deal with this head-on, there is truth in some of the posts: we did have delivery time issues, we have had returns – just as most companies do, we have improved the quality of styles that we had issues with, we did find and begin using a much more reliable and durable production process for embellishing our garments.
I’ll admit, when cash flow has been tight, refunds have taken time, but refunds are (and always will be) made. It ends right there.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the past and take action to make myself and clever kingdom! better. Each day I keep moving forward -- making better choices, aligning myself with better people and bringing this company forward in the manner that all clever kingdom! consultants deserve.

I am a decent human being, a mom, a wife, a business woman who got in over her head. I was blessed with a great idea and have a very special company that has experienced explosive growth. And the truly empowering part is that I have been able to (and will continue to) take from the past to create an even better future for myself and for clever kingdom!

I will continue to do everything I can to make any outstanding wrongs right, and to move this fantastic company --that is at the heart of this-- forward to achieve the dream that we all at one time had, and that I (and so many others) still hold.

In closing, I’d like it clear that I am not here to start an online dialogue. If there is someone reading this that has an issue that needs to be resolved or a concern to be addressed, please contact me directly. It is absolutely my intent to bring reasonable resolution to anyone (at any time) that has an issue with clever kingdom!

Thank you.


Melissa White


Anonymous said...

Should you have had to go through all that to get what you were owed? No. Oh and this is the same sob story she's been telling for months. Just be careful. Oh and the stuff seems to come from Dharma trading company...do a search for the company and see what you are getting. There is also some speculation that the artwork isn't very original...as in there were minor changes made to artwork from storybooks and that made it original. Well that's nor original to a real artist.

Anonymous said...

I will start this post by saying I have had nothing but positive outcomes from clever kingdom! I am not a consultant, but I am a repeat customer who has ordered on multiple occasions from ck! and have had repeat success with my orders. They have at times taken a bit longer, but headquarters has always given me coupons to redeem on my next purchase. I also order frequently form ll bean, and lands end, but when an item in their catalog is backordered I never get a coupon offering me a free tee or a percentage off my next order... This being said, I am a "real" artist and just feel the need to comment on this.

How many artists do you know of that claim their art work to be 100% original? Picasso was drawing birds at an early age, does this mean all artists who reference birds are stealing his original ideas? I do urge you to look at the referenced work and then take a look at the website, and I think you will see that although the images mat be similar, ck! has made these images her own. I believe if you alter an image and change it by ten percent it then becomes your own. Although I haven't done extensive research to confirm the images are ten percent different, I would say that by comparing the two I would think they were. Are they similar? Yes, but copied? No.

I hate to add to this drama, but I think there is a decent company here that is being wrongly accused of copyright issues.

Anonymous said...

Take out the background is enough of a change to call it your own?

A real artist, a genuine artist wouldn't call that original.

Anonymous said...

The BBB has finally posted the Reliablity Report on this business. Check out what they have learned.

Anonymous said...

The BBB has finally posted the Reliablity Report on this business. Check out what they have learned.

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! That's a lot of complaints! I knew people were unhappy but didn't know that many people had complained. The last I saw of the site there were about 4 complaints. That's a big jump to 22 complaints. Resolved one don't make me comfortable either because if there was reason to complain that is an issue right there.

Wow that's a bad report for them.

Anonymous said...

that is pretty bad, how that many complaints popped up in ONE YEAR.
Don't spend ANY MORE MONEY on that scam-bag...seriously!!!!

Anonymous said...

ROTFL -- do any of you have any business sense whatsoever? 22 complaints? You think that is a big deal? Have you ever worked in retail? Do you know how easily someone will complain? Let's see if they even had only 2,000 customers that would be 1% that had an issue. If they had 1000 customers it would be 2%. If they had 500 customers it would be less than 5%. LOL - Gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

I owned a retail business for several years. It was not only online but real person as well. Not 1 complaint. Those complaints on clever kingdom are all recently. It's my understanding it's all since the 2005 Holiday season. That's a lot of complaints in a short period of time. Heck in the the bbb is saying this is a lot. This really is a lot of complaints to the bbb. It's one thing to have complaints to the company but this many to the bbb is heavy!

Anonymous said...

I have been fighting for four months to get my money back from clever kingdom. Still no results. I think this company is unethical. I would strongly caution anyone about doing business with them. You might check the BBB report--they are up to 26 complaints now.

Anonymous said...

Just wanting this info to be updated. It is nearly 2007 and people are still loosing money to clever kingdom. Hopefully, it will end soon. But the BBB complaints are up to 38 and the NH attorney General is involved.

Anonymous said...

I'm another one owed money from ck! Sent back samples the day after they were received (mind you, never even got the full sample set) back in September and after trying to contact Melissa on numerous occasions with no luck, I've finally gone to the BBB as well.