Posted on Friday, at • bought • 347 views
This company is officially opening tomorrow, and while I've received a sampler pack and my membership card and letter, it's kind of hard to call this a full “review” - at least, of the company itself. I think that I'll be comfortable doing a full review after the company's been operating at least a year, so that they've gone through opening, they've found their legs, hit their stride, possibly discarded a few ideas that weren't working, refined many more, possibly added a few new ones.
But I can at least share what I've observed, and show off what I've gotten so far!
Rockeresque has been in the works for a while…but not for too long. They've got a Facebook page with over 500 fans before they've even opened the web site, and the company regularly posts previews, notes on progress, and images from photo shoots. Their launch was originally slated for May 1, but when that projected date slipped, they announced that they were making a limited number of sampler packs available to whet folks' appetite. For $15.50, the fast-acting folks would get four 3-gram sample jars, 5 sample baggies, and a secret RBC gift that would be different for each customer. I acted fast enough to get one of the 40-or-so kits that went out, and received a 10-gram jar of Locket, a golden-tan eyeshadow…along with a Rockeresque-branded sticker, a button, a ring (not branded, just kind of cool), and the 3-gram jars and the sample baggies. I also signed up for the membership program, just to see what that was.
When the package arrived, and the membership packet about a week after that, it showed me that Rockeresque has presentation and branding down solid. They've got good-looking, high-quality-photo glossy cards; their web site has a definite look and feel (though I still have a nasty reflexive twitch whenever I run into full-Flash web sites…usability habits die hard); they have branded labels for their jars…all that appears to be well put together.
The membership program lets folks accumulate points - one for every dollar spent on product - and redeem those points for money off Rockeresque purchases. Members have to enter the membership number on every sale, otherwise they don't get the points for that sale. I wish that it were possible for some kind of a log-in system, such as many other sites have, that tracks logged-in users' sales and counts up membership points that way. Perhaps that will be something that comes into play later, once the site has been launched. Otherwise, it's another thing to remember to keep nearby when purchasing from the company.
The company originally had plans to offer military discounts, but have halted that when they found out that the way most companies were verifying military standing, isn't completely legal. They were originally going to ask for pictures of current military ID, with the SSN blurred out so that it couldn't be abused…but they'd still have something that showed that the person was, indeed, a member of the armed forces. While -=many=- stores do this, this isn't strictly legal. Someone brought this fact to Rockeresque's attention, and so they've temporarily removed the information about discounts to military personnel or their families while they research a -=legal=- way to verify military status that protects both the company, and the folks in the forces.
In some respects, admittedly, the company's polished presentation has given me pause. An indie company that looks like it was put together hastily - like a guy wearing an untucked shirt with food stains on it - definitely puts me off; but I don't care about packaging and branding visuals as much as many other folks. And when an indie company looks this polished, with what seems like a fairly rapid ramp-up time (a few months?), I worry that the company has put all of their thought and money into the appearance, and maybe not as much into the products. The ingredients look reassuring so far, though: not only are they on labels on the underside of the jars (or right on front of the sample baggies), but the ingredient listing isn't just “mica, titanium dioxide” but carnuba wax, iron oxide, tin oxide, magnesium stearate, and - on one or another color - ferric ferrocyanide or chromium hydroxide green. (There is another ingredient in the red - Sunbum - and the silver - Chandelier - but admittedly, the print's too small for me to read. Polyethylene something…geez. I need glasses. Or maybe I just need to sleep and take an 8-hour break from staring at the computer screen.) Another thing that I find reassuring: while there are several common ingredients, the approach to labelling is not simply “throw it all out there on all the labels”. Most of the indie companies that I regularly purchase from have been doing this industry-required individualized-labelling as long as I've been purchasing from them; but there have been a few that have not.
I haven't been able to do much more than swatch two of the colors, but they felt good texture-wise, the application was smooth and even, and the colors seem lovely. There were a few primaries, some pastel-ish shades, some brights…a decent initial mix. Future plans for this company include working with a lab to expand their line of vegan products. The text on the FAQ specifically mentions things like mascara, which “we feel would be better prepared in a lab”.
There are some things about this company that I'm concerned about: the mostly-Flash web site (the usability pervert in me twitches at heavy use of Flash, especially since such sites effectively can't be seen on iPhones because Apple and Adobe are in a ‘$ilicon-Vally big dog' p1ssing contest), the fact that I don't know how much their products will cost, and the extremely young age of the company. Active preparation may have been happening for a few years, a few months, or something in between - I don't know - but there hasn't been an active sales period to make any sort of accurate assessment of the company or their products. All I can say at this point is, the branding and presentation are very polished.
Going on the appearance of the logo, the origin of the packages and the city listed on the product labels (San Diego), and on some things I read a few days ago on an indie-MMU-company watchdog blog, I think I now know who's the driving force behind Rockeresque: Issanna, the former VP of Glittersniffer Cosmetics. She's definitely already been through the MMU wringer, and seen up close and personal what can happen if a business isn't run well (though she sounds like she's worlds away from being as mendacious/malicious as the GSC owner-president.) I don't know if I'm right - I'm only making an educated guess. I could be wrong. (I guess we'll all find out in a few weeks, or days. Or possibly even ‘a few hours', when the store opens.)
I like the initial items I've gotten from this company, and I look forward to seeing another strong, ethical entrant into the MMU marketplace.
(Post edited 5/14 at 3:30 am - I forgot to finish the third-to-last paragraph.)
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