For the love of my Steven Harkin bag

Life also gives you lemonade: how a criticism turned into a great gift 

This is my first blog post on Steven Harkin new website. Inspiration was given to me yesterday by the coolest, most lovable and most loving customer ever!


It’s great to receive reviews and feedback from customers. You feel you are doing something right and it motivates you to keep going. But sometimes, the feedback is not exactly what you expect and it can be pretty depressing…

A few weeks ago, we sent a crossbody bag abroad to a demanding lady. We answered her concerns regarding size with a detailed description. She went on with the order. We didn’t hear back from her so assumed she was happy with her purchase. Alas, she wasn’t and published a pretty negative feedback online. Lemons!

As customer service is a big priority for Steven Harkin, I faced the unhappy customer and answered as best as I could, apologizing for not meeting her expectations.

The lemonade came unexpectedly almost immediately from Suze, Florida, the most positive and caring customer I’ve yet to meet! I hope our paths will cross one day, she must be the happiest person on earth to be with! Her long letter is full of compliments, recognition, love AND FUN! She is an amazing writer too and her stories are hilarious!

She’s given me permission to publish her letter. Bear in mind that her favourite bag is the patent black backpack.

Hi Barbara and Steve!
I hope this missive finds you both well and joyous!
As your shop is indubitably a favorite, I check often to see if you’ve been successful, Barbara in encouraging Steve’s “feminine side” in designing an easily retrievable cell phone detail. 😉 But, even more so because:

had you a fan club, I’d fight tooth, claw and paw to be your biggest!
I’ve not yet given my wondrous black patent back pack a day or night off. This is how madly attached I am her. And though inopportune at times, the constant compliments and inquiries about whom her biological parents are , I’m always compelled to enthusiastically answer.. and unzip her to show off her inner red suede guts. I was actually scolded by a flight attendant last Friday for not complying with her “remain seated until the seat belt sign is off” because a couple flagged me down on my way back from the restroom to ask about my bag. However, when her eyes fell upon the reason for my trespass, she too asked to try it on! My daughter, by then, was trying to crawl under her seat. Lol!

Anyway, we’re off to my home town, NYC; you can best be assured which bag will be joining me. She still looks pristine, firm and shiny enough for me to look into her eyes to reapply my lipstick. I do spray her down every couple of weeks with a patent leather cleaner which she seems to enjoy.
On a somber note, perchance I, as your devotee was more unnerved and, well, annoyed by that undeserved, unfair, and plain old “ugh!-ly customer’s review than both of you, but,

I simply could not let the opportunity pass to tell you the truth: YOUR HIGHEST CALIBRE ART and HEART ARE EXEMPLARY! My beloved mom of memory, prior to enduring her final brain surgery pulled me close and whispered, ” Darling daughter, please remind the surgeon that the most important things to a woman include her hair, nails… and her favorite handbag!”. I didn’t have the heart to tell my dad he didn’t make the top three… but, I assure you that I informed her Dr.! 🙂


Stay well, stay joyous!
To Life (and keeping New York City’s “shmutz ” (Yiddish for dirt) off my patent leather handbag!)


Suze with her backpack in New York

How do you deal with negativity? A few years ago, I would have dealt with this difficult customer very differently. I’d probably have overreacted, defensively. My life in Italy and now England, together with experience and age, have taught me to be more empathetic and diplomatic.

Today, I have been rewarded in the best way and have gained a new friend. Love and compassion are the only way forward. Feel free to comment!

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