Category Archives: Uncategorized

Snapshots: Death ray activated

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

The president has informed me that if I park my car just right in the parking lot, then the sun aligns just so in the afternoon, reflecting off of my brake light to create a death ray beam that shoots through his office window and directly into his eyes.

death ray beam
Looks like my work is done here.

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Snapshots: Please make it stop

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Once upon a time, all of us at Skiviez got excited at the prospect of a large incoming shipment. “It’s the biggest one we’ve ever done,” we’d say excitedly. “We’re really growing! We are so awesome!”

But there is a price to success. The containers keep coming. More boxes, more sorting, more shelving.
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I suppose it’s no surprise that when containers come in now, people mysteriously start calling in sick!

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How many Skiviez employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Skiviez may have started out as a business run out of an apartment a decade ago, but now we’ve grown to store thousands of pairs of underwear in our 12,000 square foot warehouse.

Sky lights in our warehouse ceiling allow us to work most days in the spring and summer without wasting energy on lighting; it’s good for the environment, and it’s an overhead expense that we minimize, passing the savings onto our customers. But for those rainy days and for those winter evenings, we have to turn the lights on.

These lights are similar to the orange street light that might be lighting your neighborhood street. They’re high power light bulbs that aren’t exactly the kind that you can run out to Home Depot and buy when they start burning out.

When a few of ours started to go, we were, however, lucky enough to find a local supplier in the Ashland area. With nice, shiny new light bulbs in hand, we were ready to re-illuminate the dark corners of our warehouse. But there was just one problem:
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Our warehouse ceilings are 17 feet high. And our tallest ladder is 12 feet high.

This isn’t something they covered in business school.

We briefly put our heads together and came up with a few Rube Goldberg-inspired schemes. One was to push two shelves together and precariously balance the ladder on top. Another was to screw multiple broomsticks and a long arm grabber together to create a 15 foot claw that would have made Wile E. Coyote proud. And yet another was to climb up the office, hop over to a support beam, and then hang from the warehouse rafters as if playing in a very high, very lethal jungle gym.

Luckily, we came to our senses. The solution was to have an inexperienced employee drive a complicated piece of rented heavy machinery:

While we envisoned the machine running amok and tearing down shelves left and right in the warehouse, in the end, the scissor lift did the job. In fact, I think our boss had a little too much fun playing with it.

So, how many Skiviez employees does it take to change a light bulb, then? Pretty much all of them, apparently. Talk about a team effort!

Snapshots: You can’t make this @#$@ up

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Being the computer guy at Skiviez, I’m the one who gets called when there are errors on the Web site, when the e-mail server starts sending e-mails to the abyss, when shipping label printers run amok, and, apparently, when warehouse computers start vomiting rainbows.
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You can’t make this @#$@ up. Sigh.

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No Skiviez in your mailbox, eh? We blame Canada!

DSC_4140-200x300A few weeks ago, I took an afternoon off from Skiviez as a small mental health day. During my drive home from work, I calmly navigated to the street that my house is on, drove well past the house that I live in, and–this is the scary part–proceeded to get back on the interstate and head back to work.

It is as though I had completely forgotten that my goal was to go home, and I had reset myself into “going back to work mode” sometime during the drive. It wasn’t until several miles later that I was clued in to my mistake by observing that the usually jam-packed interstate was deserted in the middle of the day.

What’s the point of this story? To show that I personally understand that otherwise normally functioning, intelligent adults occasionally suffer from a brief but utterly total and complete mental shutdown. In that spirit, for our Canadian customers out there who keep asking about the status of their air mail shipments, we’d like to remind you that your postal system has been on strike and shut down for over a week.

The usual response to this information is a sheepish “oh, right” or a “THAT’S why I haven’t gotten any mail.” (And I reply, “Don’t worry, I completely understand. I shouldn’t even be at work right now.”)

Wait, what? Really? When did this happen?

cpclogo_enMmhmm, it’s true. Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have repeatedly failed to negotiate a contract renewal, with most of the dispute centered around future wage increases. With both sides at an impasse, the Canadian postal service effectively shut down last week with the exception of a few rural routes as workers went on strike.

After mail destined for Canada began to pile up in USPS sorting facilities, USPS stopped accepting all Canada-bound mail on Saturday, June 18th. This means that we can’t process air mail orders for Canada even if we wanted to, since USPS would reject the parcel and send it right back to us.

After a week of failed negotiations, the Canadian government is in the process of drafting legislation to forcibly end the strike. The lawmakers say they’ll try to get the legislation passed before the end of the weekend, but it’s still a wait-and-see situation.

In the meantime, we’ve been contacting directly the customers whose orders and backorders have been affected, giving them the option for us to either hold their order on our end until the strike is completed or to upgrade to a FedEx International carrier method (at the higher price point).

Hum. But my order already shipped two weeks ago….

blame-canada-300x119If you ordered some underwear from us recently and it shipped out via USPS First Class Mail International to Canada, then you’ll unfortunately not receive your parcel until several weeks after the strike has ended. That’s because both USPS and Canada Post are expecting to have huge backlogs of parcels to process, which means the already lengthy Canadian customs clearance process will increase during the end of June and the start of July.

While we always take care of our international customers who don’t receive their air mail parcels within 60 business days of the shipping date by issuing a refund or a re-shipment, we may have to extend this deadline for recent Canadian shipments due to the extenuating circumstances. Your Skiviez parcel is still on it’s way to you, but it’s sitting in a USPS or Canada Post warehouse somewhere, longing to be touched again by a postal worker who can bring it to your hot little hands.

Thanks for your patience

We thank you for your patience, and we especially thank our Canadian customers for their unique sense of humor!

Introducing Skiviez Gift Cards—A Perfect Gift!

Skiviez Gift CardOur software developers have been hard at work over the past six months listening to your feedback. After introducing landmark upgrades to our Web site, adding customer-submitted images to product reviews, deploying Skiviez Mobile, and supporting “Login with Facebook”, we’re proud to introduce a feature that’s been in the making for a long time: Skiviez gift cards.

Buying clothes for a friend–much more underwear for an undies fan–isn’t always easy. Guessing the incorrect size can be insulting, and your suggested fashion choice can lead to an awkward conversation. With a gift card from Skiviez, you can have the best of both worlds.

Easy to buy

Buying a Skiviez gift card couldn’t be simpler. Just click the “Purchase Now” button, enter your address and credit card information, select a gift card amount, and poof! your gift card is on its way to you. Shipping is free via USPS First Class Mail, which means you’ll have it in your hot little hands typically within just 2-3 business days.
Skiviez Gift Card
In an effort to reduce fraud and increase customer security, however, we do place a few important restrictions on gift card purchases:

You have to use a credit card to purchase the gift card. (This is so we can verify the billing address.)

The gift card has to be shipped to the address that’s on file for the credit card. (To purchase a gift card for a friend, you’ll first need to have the gift card shipped to you–which most people prefer anyway so that they can stick it in a card or wrap it.)

You can track the fulfillment of your gift card sales order via “Your Account” on our Web site.

Easy to keep

A Skiviez gift card is an attractive, plastic card that’s easy to carry in a wallet. The card never expires.
Skiviez Gift Card
(There is a $2.50 monthly inactivity fee that begins when the card hasn’t been used in over 12 months, though, but we don’t do this to be mean. This is just so that we can eventually get unused gift cards off of our accountant’s books. Imagine writing a check and someone cashing it over a year later! You have over a year to make a purchase at Skiviez, and any purchase resets the 12 month inactivity counter. You can read the full gift card terms and conditions here.)

Looking up the balance and usage history of your Skiviez gift card is easy, too. Just visit our gift card balance lookup page, enter the two numbers printed on the back on the card, and then you’ll be able to see the remaining balance as well as a ledger that shows exactly how the card has been used.
Skiviez Gift Card

Easy to use

When you’d like to make a purchase at Skiviez using your gift card, that’s easy, too. You don’t even need to have a credit card if the gift card will cover the whole balance. Just enter the two numbers on the back of the card on our one-page checkout and press the red “Redeem” button, and you’re done!
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We’re still listening

We implemented Skiviez gift cards because you’ve been pestering us about them for years. We listened, and we’re still listening. If you have a suggestion for the Skiviez Web site, just tweet it to @skiviez, e-mail it, or submit it via our feedback form. You can trust us to keep listening to our customers, or else we wouldn’t be the men’s underwear authority!

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Using Internet Explorer 9? Pin Us Up!

If you’re using Windows 7, Using Internet Explorer 9? Pin Us Up!the newly released Internet Explorer 9 offers unparalleled performance and security improvements over previous versions. You can also take advantage of a new feature of Internet Explorer 9 and the Skiviez Web site called “Pinned Sites” that makes our site easier to access than ever before!

Just visit http://www.skiviez.com/ and drag the site’s tab down to the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. This will create a shortcut icon on your taskbar so that you can be at the Skiviez Web site at a moment’s notice.

In addition, if you right click the Skiviez Web site icon on your taskbar, you’ll see quick links to “Your Account” as well as new items, sale items, and the Skiviez blog.

Using Internet Explorer 9? Pin Us Up!

Introducing Skiviez Mobile

We’re still listening! In addition to the customer-submitted product review images feature and numerous other enhancements that we’ve added to the Skiviez Web site, we’re now proud to introduce Skiviez Mobile, an HTML5-based, mobile-friendly version of the Skiviez Web site. Just go to http://www.skiviez.com/ on your iPhone or Android device, and you’ll be whisked away to a version of Skiviez that’s designed to help you when you’re on the go.

Streamlined product catalog

Introducing Skiviez MobileDon’t get us wrong–our full site is lauded by our customers for its streamlined navigation and no-nonsense filtering interface. But navigating a site designed for a large display and a mouse is always going to be less than ideal when you’re on a mobile device. Have you ever wanted to show a Skiviez product to a friend at a bar (which, of course, always seems to have spotty or non-existent 3G coverage) but dreaded the experience of zooming through a full-featured site?

That’s why Skiviez Mobile offers a browsable, list-based view of the product catalog with finger-sized buttons that let you drill down to the brands and styles that you want to see.

Once you’ve arrived at a product page, we display only the most pertinent information without the fluff: images, fabric information, and customer reviews. This ensures that the pages load fast while you’re on a mobile network but still contain all of the detailed product information that you’ve come to expect from Skiviez.

Introducing Skiviez MobileAdding the item to your mobile shopping cart is easy as a few taps of your finger–no painstaking and frustrating “pinch to zoom” required here. On your iPhone, you can quickly scroll through the images of a product by using two fingers, and just tap the image to bring up a larger version.

The mobile home page contains the same great quick links as our full site. You can quickly drill down to see the top sellers or the newest items at Skiviez.

When your phone dings and you find that you’ve just received a Skiviez newsletter e-mail announcing new stock or a new sale, you can peruse the new items and discounts right from your mobile device.

Mobile-friendly search

Introducing Skiviez MobileFor Skiviez Mobile, we were able to use one feature from our full site that already sets us apart from our competitors: our search actually works. So we’ve taken the same great search capability, slapped it on the mobile home page, and given it the same list-based, finger-friendly display that you’ve come to expect from a well-designed mobile site.

Heard about the hot new Gregg Homme Torrid Thong from a friend? It’s never been easier to look it up at Skiviez! Just visit our home page on your iPhone, tap search, type “torrid,” and you’ll see the product at the top of the phone-friendly search results.

Check out from your phone

Introducing Skiviez MobileIn the mood for a quick purchase? Save yourself from the hassle of typing your address and credit card information by using our integration with PayPal Mobile Express Checkout and Google Checkout for Mobile. It’s security from the brands you already trust, and it’s optimized for the mobile payment experience. You can have your next order on its way in just a few taps! If you like, you can also switch to our full, regular checkout process on your phone or mobile device.

Track shipments and orders on the go

Introducing Skiviez MobileYou’re out somewhere, and you get what you’ve been waiting all day for–the Skiviez shipment confirmation e-mail containing your tracking number! Thanks to Skiviez Mobile, you can click on the link in the e-mail and connect to a mobile version of your Skiviez shopping account. You can see all of the tracking information about your parcel in one convenient place. You can also get a quick overview of the status of your recent orders thanks to the mobile “Your Account” screen.

E-mail your shopping cart for later

Introducing Skiviez MobileSo you’re out some place that you don’t want to be, you’re bored, and you’ve been browsing Skiviez Mobile for some products that you’re interested in. You’ve added them to your mobile shopping cart, but maybe you’re not comfortable with paying via your phone just yet–or maybe you don’t have the time. Thanks to the “E-mail Cart” feature, you can e-mail your shopping cart to yourself or to a friend and complete your purchase when you’re near a personal computer!

We respect your privacy, and by using the “E-mail Cart” feature, neither your nor your friend’s e-mail addresses are added to any mailing list.

The customer is always right

While we try to do the right thing and redirect you to a mobile version of a Web page when one exists at the Skiviez site, you’re not locked in. Just go to “Your Account” and set your Mobile Site Preference. If you’d rather see the full Skiviez site, just select that option, and we’ll leave you alone. Shopping carts, customer accounts, and preferences are all shared between the full site and the mobile site, so you don’t have to worry about your data existing in two places or getting out of sync.

We’re still listening

We didn’t build a mobile site for the fun of it. We built one because you asked for it. Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous and more popular than ever, and you told us that you like to be able to quickly show a product to a friend at the bar or make a quick purchase while on the run.

Is there anything else that we can add to the mobile site? Or is there something about the full site that drives you nuts or that you’d like to see? We’re still listening. Tweet it , e-mail it, or submit it. At Skiviez, you can trust us to listen to our customers–or else we wouldn’t be the men’s underwear authority!

Introducing new product review features to improve the shopping experience

No-holds-barred, honest customer product reviews aren’t a new thing at Skiviez by any means–we’ve been offering customers the ability to leave product reviews since January 2004, well before Web 2.0 and social media. We’re continuing this tradition of improving the customer experience by releasing a few upgrades to our product reviews system.
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Helpfulness voting

Once you’re signed into Your Account, you’ll see a “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” icon next to each review. If you think the review is helpful, hit “thumbs up”. Over time, we’ll be able to sort the product reviews by “helpfulness” so that the most insightful and useful reviews bubble to the top, making it easier for customers to make an informed purchasing decision.
Helpfulness voting

Verified buyers

If a customer who writes a review has actually purchased the product from Skiviez, they’ll get a “Verified Buyer” badge next to their review. This way, customers can know that the reviewer actually received the product and knows what he’s talking about.
Verified buyers

Comments

Perhaps the most exciting feature of all is the ability for other customers to leave comments about reviews, enabling customers to have a public and informative discussion about the product in question. Review writers have the option to be notified by e-mail whenever new comments are posted to their reviews; the option is sitting in the “Profile” section of the “Your Account” section of our Web site.
Comments

Review profiles

Speaking of “profiles,” they’re new too! As mentioned before, the review system at Skiviez is seven years old, so a few quirks in the implementation had developed over that time. Since historically reviews had not been associated with customer shopping accounts, it was possible for review writers to make up a different display name for each and every review. The vast majority didn’t, and so we’ve unified the system by allowing you to set a global display name in your “Profile” that will be propagated to all of the reviews that you have left at Skiviez. (If you have left different display names on reviews over the years, they’ll be unified to your new display name the next time you update your “Profile” on our Web site.)

The new profile system also enables customers to quickly see all of the reviews that a particular writer has left. Following someone who has tastes similar to yours is now easier than ever!

Finally, a historical note. Customer reviews that were created prior to August 2007 were not associated with customer shopping accounts. If you left a review before that time, you won’t see a “Verified Buyer” badge or be able to edit the review via your shopping account. If you’d like, you can always e-mail us the Web page address and the text of the review that you’d like to have associated with your shopping account, and then you’ll be able to edit and take ownership of the review from there.

We’re still listening

We’re always working on new features at Skiviez. Does something about the Web site drive you nuts? Is there something else that you wish it did? Leave a comment, live chat with us, e-mail us, or give us a tweet. We’re listening.

Thanks for shopping with us!