Dear John Lewis and MERUMAYA customer.
I'd like to answer some of the many complaints you made to me about John Lewis. The reason for writing this post is to answer these questions, to make you aware of what goes on behind the scenes of retailing (even those with a reputation for fair trading) and why it is better to purchase direct from us, Sandersons Boutique Store (Sheffield), or Amazon Luxury Beauty for now.
Why are you no longer selling in John Lewis?
See below for the many customer complaints that contributed to the decision for MERUMAYA® and John Lewis to part company. All of them impacted on customer service and sales.
Is the Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF15 I just bought from John Lewis out of date?
Yes. I have informed John Lewis time and again to no avail. They continued to sell it in full knowledge despite my concerns and requests that they cease. Today I escalated it to the Managing Director of John Lewis and some action has been taken. If you purchased one, you should return it and ask for a refund. If you buy from our website you will get Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF20, which is the new formula and was available to John Lewis.
Simply not true. In the almost five years since MERUMAYA® launched, we have never been out of stock of a single product in our warehouse and have never delivered late. The real reason, is that John Lewis had wa-aay over ordered on slower selling lines (against my advice) and because that results in less profit, they don't order enough of top selling lines. I forwarded all complaints you sent me to John Lewis Head Office but sadly, little was done about it.
Why can I not find you in John Lewis Oxford Street? The people on the customer help desk don't know MERUMAYA® is sold in the store.
Only the big corporate brands that take a shed load of money for John Lewis, get the front humongous displays. The smaller brands are lucky to get a couple of shelves in an area that is hidden away. We provided training and addressed this issue numerous times with the management in John Lewis Oxford Street but again, little was done.
Why can I not get the latest product I read about in a magazine at John Lewis?
Because John Lewis had not been ordering on time, or in sufficient quantities.
Why doesn't John Lewis make more of stocking small British Brands?
You'd think being a British department store, with a reputation for 'fair trading' they would right? Well, the tiny brand has to pay a substantial fee to be included in one of the John Lewis emails. We also have to pay to be allowed to provide you with free samples in your orders - as well as paying for the sample itself. We were prepared to pay 100% of the enormous costs/fees for a Statement Insert to announce MERUMAYA®. Despite that it was promised over and over, it never happened and so, we were a best-kept-secret in John Lewis stores (aaaargh!).
Why don't you send samples to John Lewis Customers?
We did - tons of free samples to all John Lewis stores that carried MERUMAYA®. Many were used by the staff. In addition, we were refused a sampling campaign in all stores, because the John Lewis buying office were not confident that their staff would give a good enough customer experience when you arrived to collect the samples. I did offer to post the samples to the John Lewis customers that requested them, but this was also refused - sorry!
Why don't John Lewis staff know about your products and how they work?
We were really keen on providing free training to all John Lewis staff who work on self select cosmetics - and we did in all the stores we first opened. Then, some stores were opened without our knowledge. As a result, we did not know to provide training. Other stores refused to pay their staff overtime to attend training. John Lewis also charge a large fee to organise off site training for their key staff; around £3000+ for ~45 minutes of training time. That is quite a lot when you add our time, travel costs, and the products we give to their staff.
Some other realities that you may not know...
John Lewis takes the majority of profit made by a small business, leaving the small brand with a much smaller share. This is flipped for large corporate brands, where John Lewis take a smaller percentage of sales, and the large corporate keeps the majority of the profit.
They apply fines, demand returns of stock that they mis-ordered, return the stock in an unsaleable condition so that it needs to be destroyed, don't rotate stock well enough so that they have sold expired items and then complain that sales are not high enough. On top of that, when I tried to address it in a meeting, I was told in no uncertain terms, 'You are lucky to be in John Lewis. Take it or leave it', by a very senior manager. Hello... this demanding business practice can take a small British businesses like mine, to the edge of bankruptcy.
In conclusion if you love our evidence-based, sensorial and British manufactured products, here are some really good reasons to buy direct from merumaya.com:
- When you register, you will earn redeemable MERUMAYA® Money on all purchases, signing up to newsletter, referring friends and your birthday.
- As we are not paying John Lewis their huge margin we can offer promotions, samples, gifts, discounts from time to time.
- The opportunity to be a tester of new formulations before they launch.
- We offer free UK shipping on orders over £40 compared to John Lewis which is over £50
- We often deliver quicker because we use First Class, tracked deliveries.
- You have the satisfaction of supporting a British enterprise that supports our economy and helps to keep jobs.