First, if you are not a fan of Comexim or their collaborative line, Anna Pardal, than you may want to gloss over this post and wait for the upcoming bra reviews I should have ready in the next week. Note: I said “should.” For fans of the brand, I posted a comprehensive guide to the alterations offered by both Anna Pardal and Comexim a few weeks ago, which contained vital information about what changes are available and how they impact the bra. One of the topics raised in the post was how both Comexim and Anna Pardal hope to minimize overhead through improving the quality of the designs as well as by considering the possibility of offering multiple bra styles per fabric selection. Please read it and comment with feedback if you have not done so already.
While the aforementioned post discussed the alterations process from a manufacturer’s perspective, we also needed to reevaluate how the shop would handle special orders for the brand, especially those which have been altered. I wrote previously on how returns impact retailers as well as the viability of special order programs, and although my intention today is not to force you into reading older content, I did share them here to provide context for policy changes we enacted.
As a retailer, special orders can certainly make or break a business, and it’s challenging to balance those orders against the expectations and behavior of our customers. On more than one occasion, customers have cancelled items after they were ordered or never returned phone calls to say the items were not wanted/needed. If the item is a size we see rarely, the risk is even higher for us. Consequently, special order programs are not something every retailer considers, and companies which offer them may change their policies if problems persist. While we still see the benefit in allowing special orders, Comexim presents us another layer to consider.
Orders for the company are only placed once a month at this time and typically arrive within 5 weeks, meaning it is easy for life and weight changes to happen which make the bra less likely to fit properly. Both brands also offer customers a plethora of choices, which can lead to us having a lot of miscellaneous inventory to stash in drawers. Furthermore, alterations add another level of complexity, particularly because both brands are charging a $5 fee for all altered bras. A question naturally arises: How do we handle alterations, and should we accept bras that have been altered as a return?
After much discussion and analysis, we ultimately decided on the following policy for all Anna Pardal and Comexim orders:
- For any Anna Pardal or Comexim style we do not regularly stock in the store and/or any altered bra, there will be a non-refundable $25 deposit for Comexim or a $35 deposit for Anna Pardal to order. This deposit is transferable to store credit on any of the items we carry or can order if the bra does not work.
- We are passing the $5 alteration fee directly to the consumer as a non-refundable, non-taxable service fee. However, given that these alterations essentially create a unique style, we will only allow altered bras to be returned for store credit (not including the alteration fee). We debated whether the items should be final sale only, but for now, we will use a store credit option to mitigate the strain on both us and our customers. The regular special order discount and shipping policy applies here.
- Any bra which has had specific alterations performed cannot be returned. Specific alterations include those like lowering the gore to a a predefined height, moving the straps to certain point on the cup, etc. Examples of regular alterations include asking for reduced cups, raised gore, lowered gore, moving the straps in by 2cm, etc. The post I linked in the opening paragraph includes these in more in detail. The primary difference between regular alterations and specific alterations is whether the consumer is asking Comexim to change their pattern for the bra. As an example, a lowered gore on my 32HH size is typically about 2.75″. This is a regular alteration and is returnable. If I ask, however, for a gore height of 2″, the bra is not returnable. If you are unsure whether the alterations you need will make the bra non-returnable, ask in advance, and I will give you more information.
- For sizes outside the original Comexim/Anna Pardal sizing, like those needing HH+ cups, we recommend doing some independent research first to ensure the brand is right for you. The most common issues we have seen here are cups which are too tall, straps that are too wide, and soft tacking at the center. Some of these problems will not be corrected with alterations, depending on breast shape, and we encourage you check Bratabase and other review websites for more information prior to ordering.
With any luck, using this policy will allow us to provide customers with more options for alterations and improved overall service without causing issues to our cash flow. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or email me directly.