#15 • Stories & Lessons of Founding Baron Fig
“Mine looks fine.” I was on the phone with my co-founder, Adam.
“Mine isn’t closing.”
This conversation was the result of an increasing number of tweets and emails I was receiving.
At that point Baron Fig was just the two of us (and it would stay that way for a year and a half). Adam managed production, finances, administrative work, and shipping. I handled customer service, design, copywriting, and marketing. We were working 24/7 to bring Baron Fig to fruition.
Over 8,000 notebooks were all arriving within a two week span, and I was getting loads of feedback from our Kickstarter backers. Thankfully 95% of it was positive—things like, “The books are awesome!,” and “You guys rock!”—but a small minority of people had issues with their covers.
You can imagine how I felt. This was the first physical product I’d ever made, and I was getting complaints from customers around the world, on every channel of communication. There were moments where I had to step outside and walk around the block to chill out.
Since then I’ve learned that there’s an expected defect rate of about 2% on physical products, similar to how software is expected to have bugs that need to be ironed out. We put mechanisms in place—reviews and quality checks—to minimize issues, but it’s impossible to catch everything. Our strong customer service is in place to resolve issues that slip by.
So what did we do? We could’ve asked everyone to return their books, and send replacements once we received them, allowing us to minimize our loss. Instead, we replaced every single notebook—and told each person to keep the books they already had, on us.
Our backers were ecstatic. In the end we lost several hundred notebooks. But we also kept several hundred customers.