Something deemed "quality" inherently must be capable of standing up to rigorous testing. It can be argued that the word quality shouldn't even be thrown around before testing is complete, as quality is — at its core — the capacity for something to be relied on fully whenever called upon. In that sense, testing proves quality.
Transparency, on the other hand, reinforces quality by providing background info upon which judgments can be made. The more transparent you are, the more you set yourself up to be deemed quality. The less transparent you are, the more you set yourself up to be doubted.
Made In Co-Founder Jake Kalick believes that when it comes to the online retail world, transparency is an oft-overlooked trait.
"The goal of a lot of direct-to-consumer companies these days is to sell you solely on their brand story. You learn about whose dorm room the company was started in, read about how they're different than the competition, and see photos on social media of what you could look like if you joined their "tribe." What they neglect to do — which is always funny to me, seeing as they're a product-centric company — is tell you intricate details about their product; oftentimes intentionally."
Jake is so convinced that products should be companies' focus that when he started Made In along with his co-founder Chip in 2017, he made sure Made In's brand story revolved around Made In's products.
"Transparency around products is at the heart of everything we do here at Made In because we want customers to know what they're buying, where it's coming from, why it was made, and what it can do to make their life easier and better. After doing that, we try to instill further confidence in our products by being transparent about the fact that a ton of professional chefs use Made In in award-winning kitchens every day."
While Jake's quest for transparency is based in his belief that consumers should have all the information they need to make an informed product decision, he also understands transparency is a necessity in an ever-changing retail landscape.
"When you sell exclusively online, it's so hard to gain trust in your products. While garnering intrigue is easy due to the lowered price point and all the marketing channels you have at your disposal, at the end of the day you're still selling people on a picture or video on a website. People can't hold your product in their hand, and thus have much less to go off of than they would in a standard retail situation. That's another reason why transparency is extra important to us. Because potential customers can't get a tactile sense of our product, we need to give them everything but."
"Everything but," to Jake, includes assets like behind-the-scenes factory videos, interviews with the craftspeople who are actually making the products, and information about raw materials — things you typically wouldn't get from a salesperson or an in-store display.
"I think regardless of whether you sell products via a brick-and-mortar storefront or online, you should always be doing everything in your power to give your customers as much information as you possibly can."