Book Beau- Bookish Business Review

October 4, 2017     erinthebooknut     Bookish Business

 

Oh boy. This is going to be a doozy.

This is going to be a review in two parts. Both Erin and Jennie have some things to talk about in regards to the company that is Book Beau, and and not much of it is good.

Erin’s Review:

When you talk about book sleeves everyone talks about Book Beau. It’s become like Kleenex, Book Beau has become the IT term for book sleeves, whether they are made by that company or not. And honestly, I don’t get the hype over actual Book Beaus.

The original Beaus were fine. They were handmade, had pretty prints, but they were very basic. Tons of other sleeve makers have long surpassed Book Beau in style, adding pockets and clasps and flaps that make the sleeves much more functional.

Besides that, the owner of Book Beau has had a reputation for sending out threatening cease and desist type letters to other sleeve makers, as if she was the only person who could corner the market on book sleeves. Just because she was the first to get name recognition does not mean she can claim that everyone else is stealing her idea.

So with that in mind, and the Kickstarter drama (which Jennie will talk about later) I sat down to look at these so called “new” manufactured Book Beaus.

First, I have to say this galaxy sleeve (pictured above) is ugly as sin. The fabric is faded and worn looking and I highly doubt it will stand up to any wear and tear. It’s a basic sleeve with very little to make it stand out among not only competitors but also Book Beau’s own handmade line. These new Beaus are completely inferior and from what I’ve seen have no quality control between manufacturing and delivery.

Many Beaus are cut crooked, different sizes from end to end, have deep wrinkles in the fabric, or come dirty or torn. Owlcrate Beaus have been the same, having even more sizing issues and inconsistencies among people who have received boxes. Some are large, others much too small. I would have expected that a manufactured product would have more uniformity among its pieces, not less, but in the case of Book Beau that’s not what you see.

I honestly wouldn’t touch Book Beau right now. Their customer service and quality control is seriously lacking and their product is just a mess. Between people receiving damaged or flawed goods, or not receiving them at all it’s not a company I have any confidence in. Spend your money elsewhere.

Jennie’s Review:

So, for my birthday my wonderful friend Liz sent me a handmade sleeve (not by Book Beau).  I really liked it, and it was my first one.  So when a bunch of my bookish friends were talking about a Kickstarter for something called Book Beau – I thought, WHY NOT?

I had a look at the options and decided to back for one INDIE sized beau.  From the photos on the website, they looked really well made, high quality items. I wasn’t too keen on many of the choices of fabrics until a galaxy one was released that looked super awesome.  I chose that fabric when the time came.

And then the waiting began.

Now, with any new business, there is bound to be some bumps in the road.  Book Beau sent out an email saying that though they’d promised to start shipping our beaus in July,  that the date had been pushed back. Most of us who ordered backed this campaign in April or even March. I didn’t really see it as much of an issue because I’d only ordered one and backed for a total of $25. I could wait a little bit longer for just one book sleeve.

But then it arrived at the end of August.

To say I was disappointed was understating it.  First of all, I must point out that I didn’t get a shipping notification for my beau, it just randomly showed up. (I did, however, get a shipping notice about a week and a half AFTER my beau had arrived).  When I opened it, I had in my minds eye the fabric I had chosen, and when I pulled out my beau, it was absolutely, 100% NOT what I thought I’d picked out. (The beau Erin has pictured above was my first beau).  I thought I was getting a product that looked like this  (photo is not mine, but from the Kickstarter website) :

But what I received was VASTLY (and I mean VASTLY) different. It looked NOTHING like this print. Also, it was poorly made, wrinkled. The inside was just a piece of foam, and the stitching was coming out. Overall, I was super disappointed.  I wasn’t sure what to do, but then I saw other people on Twitter were having the same reaction to the Nebula print and decided to say something.

I got a notification from Book Beau to contact their customer service, that “This shouldn’t have gone out like this, and we will fix it!”.  So I contacted them.

Basically, what they told me was that they were “sorry for the condition that I received my beau in. To make up for this, we would like to offer you a 40% discount and $25 gift card once our storefront opens up.”

Ok, but……. guys. I have this really sub-par beau sitting in front of me. And honestly,  I don’t WANT to spend any more money with you, especially now that I’ve seen what condition your product is going out in. This is NOT what you had pictured on the Kickstarter site. The Kickstarter Beaus were lovely, and unwrinkled, and straight.  I felt like I’d gotten the bait and switch.  (also, this is NOT FIXING THE ISSUE.)

I emailed them back and explained that I didn’t really want to spend any more money with them, because I didn’t feel I could be guaranteed a better product in the future, and asked for a refund.

TWO DAYS PASSED. I emailed them again to make sure they’d gotten my first email.

“Since this was a Kickstarter campaign, we can’t really refund your money. We can offer you a replacement beau.”  At this point I’m thinking, what the hell. Really I have nothing to lose.  So I agree to the replacement, and ask for a different print than the Nebula one. (Because, apparently, that IS the fabric that I chose and as we were told in an Instagram video “THE GALAXY IS SO VAST, GUYS.”)  They agree to the different print.

My second beau shows up, and I open it up. I do not have high hopes for it.  It was just as wrinkled as the first. But this time, it was like it was threadbare — you could see the threads going through it. It was also cut crookedly, and the label was also crooked.

At this point all I can do is laugh. A week before the second beau arrived,  the owner of Book Beau did an Instagram video where she basically said that she’d been seeing all the “complaints and negativity” but she was just going to keep “working her butt off” to get the orders out. (also the thing about the galaxy print being vast, but I digress.) She took no responsibility for the issues that everyone was having with her product.  Then, some of her friends embarked on a #BookBeauLove campaign on IG to help “drown out the negativity”.  Which, you know, is really nice. (But they are posting photos of their HANDMADE BEAUS. HANDMADE IS THE KEY WORD HERE.)  But in the meantime, doing that made almost everyone who got a mass produced, shitty beau, feel bad for complaining about a product that THEY PURCHASED.

So I don’t say anything for a few weeks. But then other people start coming out of the woodwork, complaining about their FIRST sleeves, and then their replacement sleeves.  I chime in on a pretty big thread on Twitter, sharing my frustrations as a consumer with fellow disgruntled Book Beau backers.

Randomly, the $25 I backed into the Kickstarter shows up in my PayPal account. No email, no explanation.  While it’s great that I have my 25 bucks back, it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m still stuck with two really awful book sleeves.  (Not to mention a third on the way via Owlcrate! WHYYYYYY!!)

So my advice to Book Beau is this :

Your product is a great idea. However, what I was promised via the Kickstarter and what I received were two very different things.  Your customer service is not bad, but offering people a gift card to spend on more of your product is probably not the best way to go about it.  I would have respected your company a heck of a lot more if you’d owned up to your mistakes instead of trying to sweep them under the rug and in a way silence a bunch of us.

Overall: One and a half nuts  – because I believe that once Book Beau does get their kinks worked out, they might have a fighting chance. However, I will be spending my money with small, Etsy-run businesses, like AU Alternative Universe.  My sleeve from them is top notch and I love it.

EDIT 9/30/17 – I am changing my review to ONE nut. Why? Because someone else was talking about Book Beau on Twitter. I went to talk to them about it and found out that Book Beau had gone and BLOCKED me on their Twitter account. All because I’m a dissatisfied customer!

This is not a way to run your business, Book Beau. In fact, it’s downright childish. I’m wondering, did they also block the SCORES of other people who were dissatisfied? Really great way to treat your customers. REALLY.

 


We DEFINITELY recommend going elsewhere for your book sleeve needs.  Being treated like you’ve done something wrong when the company won’t take responsibility for their mistakes is absolutely unacceptable and completely unprofessional.

Have an experience with Book Beau? Share in the comments.

From our shelves to yours,

Erin & Jennie

6 responses to “Book Beau- Bookish Business Review

  1. Erin

    Yes. All of this yes. BookBeau or Benita is extremely childish and the Kickstarter is, unfortunately, not the first time she has acted this way. I bought two bookbeaus back when she was still hand making them on Etsy. They were so well made that they were flying off the shelves and it was rare to grab one. So much so, that I posted on Instagram that I had luckily grabbed two during a restock and was bullied and attacked by her die hard fans for ‘not leaving enough for everyone else’. Whatever, wasn’t her fault. After my two arrived, I started looking at other companies that made them because I could not for the life of me get another bookbeau! I found BookBiff and became close to the owner (who is a freaking sweetheart and I believe a receiver of one of those cease letters). I made a post on insta when that one arrived, but I wanted more. I went to BookBeau’s insta and it turned out that she blocked me because I purchased from a competitor. This was still WAY before the kickstarter was even a thought. No one would believe me because she was ‘so sweet’ but her and her insta-clique are vicious. They’re in their mid-twenties, but have the mentality of a middle schooler. They post all the time about their bookbeaus because (as proof from their insta-stories) she will make them by hand for them and send those to them, but only her clique. They’re overpriced, poorly made, and come from a company who just wants money and has a vicious backing of fakes who happen to big accounts in the book community. I’m so glad people are finally seeing her for what she is; a spoiled brat who does NOT care about her customers. At least Kleenex puts out a good product.

  2. Rebecca

    I also backed the Kickstarter campaign and was incredibly disappointed when I received my Book Beaus. I got two indies, and they were such drastically different sizes. The material was thin, the stitching was awful, and I couldn’t fit even a smaller-sized hardcover into either one. Having won a Beau on Instagram a while back, I had high hopes, but that was one of her handmade Beaus, not the mass-produced ones. I also got the sleeve that was included in Owlcrate’s September box, and it had a TON of thread hanging off the bottom of it. I was afraid that the stitching was going to come undone at the bottom. How could anyone think that was acceptable? I’ve purchased a couple of sleeves from Storytime Sleeve and have fallen in love with them. Their patterns are much prettier (and they look exactly like they do in her photos), the material is nice and thick, and they’re high-quality and durable. I will never purchase from Book Beau again, especially after hearing about the owner’s childish behavior. If you want to build a strong, successful business that will last, don’t ignore/complain about/block your customers when they have valid concerns about your product. Being the “first” doesn’t mean anything if your product has serious flaws that you don’t address.

  3. Amanda

    I’m not on Twitter, but stumbled across your review when I was browsing BookBeau news. I am very relieved to see it wasn’t just me. I purchased a wonderful Kindle Beau that was handmade, and was looking forward to the two Kindle Beaus from the Kickstarter. The first arrived with the top cut asymmetrically, a huge problem! It was a galaxy print as well, and one side was completely faded. When I contacted them, I didn’t ask for a replacement, as I had another one on the way. Unfortunately, it was caught up in a shipping mistake– the shipment was marked as shipped but never was. When I got that one, it was wrinkled deeply, but serviceable. It looks completely out of place to the Kindle Beau I own, and it’s already showing signs of wear. Now that the website is up, I see that she has added buttons and loops for the Beaus. I may be in the minority, but I have a purse that doesn’t take to kindly to snags. Additionally, it felt as though she changed the design without much consultation (once again, not on Twitter, so I may have missed this…). I also have sleeves from other stores (BookBiff is incredible, along with BookBubbie) and am disappointed that I can’t share photos of them without worrying about online criticism, as my friends and I are planning to launch our own book related blog soon. I’m all for stopping abusive language on the internet, but I don’t feel as though anything that’s been written here is overly harsh. I’m probably going to take this experience as a loss, and hopefully everyone else can find solutions too.

  4. Tasha

    I too backed the Kickstarter and am disappointed in my sleeves. It’s my first experience with Book Beau, as I am new to the bookish community. The fabric is not what was pictured on the Kickstarter, it’s wrinkled and not cut even. I spent $100 on three of various sizes but I consider it a loss. They are usable but I won’t be purchasing from her again.

  5. Kim

    OMG you have all the same complaints as me except I didn’t send them an email and try to get my money back because I didn’t think they’d do it. I got the galaxy beau too and it is really ugly, one side is super plain like the side you showed and the other is a sort of red blah color wit both sides being super faded. The label was sewn on crooked and the piping at the top is super bad, there is literally a cut through it that is sewn up with a different piece of fabric as if they didn’t have enough for that small amount of piping, wtf?! I got the OwlCrate beau too, which is actually a gorgeous albeit faded material but still not that great of quality. My favorite book sleeve is still my first one, a gorgeous bright blue with gold quills that I got from Booksac on Etsy. Love it so much and it’s shipping might’ve been three weeks but that was still faster than the Kickstarter nonsense.

  6. Ashley Wolpers

    Thank goodness for people like you! I ordered a book beau from her actual website (I actually really love it – a red Tokyo indie) before I pre-ordered 2 indies on backerkit after her kickstarter campaign and just tonight I cancelled my order. I’ve heard some not such great things about what went down with the kickstarter and how the quality of the sleeves really went down. I tried to stick it out and see for myself. However, I can’t wait any longer when there are all these other great book sleeve options you guys have turned me onto (Bookbubbie, BookBiff, etc. In fact I just came across a new book sleeve shop called Sew Cal Girls). After cancelling my Book Beau order I felt I needed to buy some new sleeves to replace them. Other book sleeve shops have even cooler fabrics at more reasonable prices and better customer service. I feel like I can’t go back to Book Beau now that I have all these other better options. THANK YOU GUYS FOR SAVING ME FROM THE BOOK BEAU DISAPPOINTMENT!!!

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