I had never heard of Shop Jeen until yesterday when the fact that their site was down was “breaking news” on Buzzfeed. Basically, everything I read said something along the lines of “If you’ve never heard of this website before it’s because you’re not nineteen and obsessed with emojis/unicorns as hair color inspiration/Tumblr/SnapChat/the internet as culture.”
Actually, the bigger sign that I’m no longer a hip youth is the fact that I went out for drinks with my coworkers yesterday afternoon and then spent the entirety of my Friday evening googling Shop Jeen. But you know what, I’m fine with that because this shit is riveting. It’s like a freaking anthropological study and I couldn’t stop bottle-necking at the wreckage of what looks to be a horribly run business.
I haven’t been so obsessed with business practices since Jezebel’s “Inside the Rainbow Gulag the Technicolor Rise and Fall of Lisa Frank.” And there is some similarity here in that a place that looks like a fun free for all on the outside, actually has literally the worst Glassdoor ratings I have ever seen, clocking in at an overall 1.9 stars. There are only 10 reviews and I’d say they’re all well worth the read. And from what I’ve read, Shop Jeen is such a small operation that it may not be too far fetched to consider those ten reviews the general consensus amongst employees.
So with a Better Business Bureau rating of F and what has been widely reported as a poor track record of actually paying vendors and delivering customer orders, why the heck is anyone ordering from this website?
Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned about Shop Jeen in the past 20 hours sine I learned of its existence, their marketing is awesome. From a glowing review in New York Magazine to re-designing new Barbie in their own images (with favorite items for sale on their website) for Paper, they definitely seem to know their target demographic. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram, many of whom seem to be teenagers who refer to the slightly-older CEO and Creative Director twenty-somethings as “mom,” then I’d say at the very least Shop Jeen is an interesting case study in brand loyalty. And is a strong enough allegiance with a brand enough to prompt consumers to make purchases they may never receive?
So maybe I am old because I frankly cannot wrap my mind around this. I feel like an outsider looking in on someone else’s scene. I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on the statement that Shop Jeen released yesterday, but I don’t have SnapChat and that statement seems to exclusively live there. I guess I’ll have to wait with the rest of the old people to see if some other website covers it.
Here’s a little literature review if you’d like to follow me down this rabbit hole: