For the Atlanta-based clothing line Support Black Colleges, shipping delays have become an ongoing challenge since the Christmas season, causing hundreds of unhappy consumers.
In 2012, two Howard students Corey Arvinger and Justin Phillips founded Support Black Colleges with a mission “to uplift, inspire, and encourage others to Support HBCU’s.” Every year, the SBC team employs over 100 college ambassadors and gives thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants for education at HBCUs and elsewhere.
However, Phillips and Arvinger said they didn’t foresee the brand growing into a business, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. The HBCU-inspired apparel has landed in retail stores like Urban Outfitters and has received support from various celebrities. The company rakes in millions of dollars each year, thanks to the support of its customer base.
But that base is getting fed up. Many are calling out the brand for lengthy shipping delays and a lack of response to customers who have waited months for apparel.
Lately, the company has faced criticism from customers for not delivering on its promises of shipments. For the thousands of orders that came in during Christmas 2021, the SBC team could not complete shipments before the holiday. Customers were receiving the packages between “January 5 and 30th” and then “Valentine’s Day,” according to Fox 5.
The two business owners are now addressing the issues behind the major delays, including COVID-19 slowdowns in overseas shipping and the decision to sell products they don’t have ready to ship. They say they’re reevaluating the company’s no-refund policy, which currently allows store credit in lieu of refunds.
“We don’t want the customers to feel as if we’re taking advantage of them, and we also understand that we have done certain things wrong,” admitted Phillips, 27.
He continued, “If I have to be the scapegoat for other entrepreneurs to see that when you grow, you grow fast, there are things you have to go through, and we’re willing to take responsibility for that.”
While learning from these challenges, the pair has opened an additional warehouse in Atlanta to prevent shipment delays by reducing their dependence on overseas operations.