My daughter is dealing with an unconscious bias. She is in a sport that is predominantly run and played in California and even though she’s amazing in this sport, her coach can’t seem to see thru his perception of her. It’s baffling because he recruited her, but all he sees is a kid from Chicago, not a “California” athlete. No matter how hard she works and how well she plays, he just can’t seem to SEE her. It’s become obvious to her that if she were from California, he would perceive her differently so she is doing everything in her power to show him who she really is but perceptions are hard to change.
How many times do you get frustrated with people who seem to categorize you?
It’s tough not to be pigeonholed and when it comes to changing people’s perception of your company the challenge can feel even more enormous. When Majamas Earth first started, we focused only on the maternity/nursing business. We brought a patented garment to the market and transformed the industry by making beautiful, clothing for new mamas.
After the 2008 recession when a majority of our small boutiques closed, MAJAMAS had to offer more than one category of fashion so we launched MAJAMAS Essentials. That way, all women could experience our eco-friendly collection of beautiful, USA made clothing.
Unfortunately, just like my daughter, the world can’t seem to SEE our collection in any other way but maternity/nursing. Even close friends of mine say things like, “I gotta find some new moms to share your clothes with” or “wish I knew more women having babies.”
I tell them, forcefully (probably too forcefully) “We aren’t just maternity anymore! Majamas Earth offers so much more!” Maybe it’s our name. I’ve heard newscasters call us Mama Jammas and customers refer to us as mamaMajamas. (Even today I saw someone refer to us that way on Facebook…ugh!)
My good friend in marketing tells me to stop complaining. She says we’ve created a strong image and we should be proud of how people connect us to our original market. I agree, we did a great job branding MAJAMAS in maternity, but after spending years designing clothing for a larger market so we could survive as a brand, it gets frustrating!
I want to yell, “Hey! We have another line that’s higher in quality than fast fashion, versatile, comfortable, ethically made and pretty darn beautiful. Look at ME differently, people!”
This isn’t a new battle for me. When I sold watches, I used to say a customer’s perception is their reality. Any first impression or misstep by a company becomes a customer’s vision and once that perception is created, it’s difficult to change.
For example, every time I called on a small jeweler, he would greet me with a “when will your company reimburse me for that double shipping charge?” I’d spend ten minutes explaining to him that he wasn’t double charged for shipping but charged for a backordered item that was sent after his main order shipped. It was a $4.00 fee, but he felt jipped and never let me forget it. In order to put an end to his complaining, I decided to pay him the $4 out of my own pocket but even that didn’t stop him right away. Eventually, he dropped his perception that my company was ripping him off. It took awhile but he had to learn to trust me again and receive more shipments to prove we weren’t charging him double to send his orders.
Time, trust & open communication seem to be the best ways to change a person’s mind.
It’s a grueling, long process but worth it if you want to see results. My daughter has a long haul ahead of her and she’s aware of the many players before her who had to fight the same misconceptions her coach has; the idea that only Californian athletes are qualified to excel in her sport. Players who were incredibly talented and like her, could hold their own against any California player. Some had to carry caps and balls their first two years of college just to be noticed by their coach but they continued to stay present and not get discouraged and they fought to get in the water just to practice. Eventually their coaches began to recognize their drive and they all ended up being some of the top players in the sport.
For MAJAMAS, it’s the same concept. We must continue to send our message that we have expanded our collections and we offer more than maternity.
We’re not the first company to have to change the public’s opinion. Coke had to regain the trust of the world after introducing a new formula that bombed and even Volkswagen had one of their biggest years ever after destroying the world’s confidence after claiming their cars being environmentally friendly. We aren’t Coke or VW, of course and we’re expanding our collection, not revamping a negative image so maybe the road won’t be so long.
So I’m asking you, faithful reader, to help us change the world’s perception of MAJAMAS!
Word of mouth is powerful, so if you like what we’re doing and you’re thrilled knowing we have much more to offer, I hope you’ll share our message with your friends! It should be easy! Majamas EARTH is a small company with a big conscious (we really care about how we impact the environment) and our Essentials collection is whimsical, comfortable, versatile fashion that works for women aged 20 something and up. Tell your friends; follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and thanks for taking another look at ME.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
What would you like to see from MAJAMAS Essentials going forward?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!