Friday, May 11, 2012

Lela Warren Announces GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Imminent Closure

Lela Warren has announced her intention to close GlitterSniffer Cosmetics.

I've been very MIA lately & I'm sure many of you have noticed. I've made a very huge decision in my life about my cosmetics manufacturing career & where I'd like to take it. I'm making some huge decisions & possible sacrifices to get to another level in my career that will keep me doing what I love- full time. For this reason, Glittersniffer Cosmetics! will be soon shut down, possibly indefinitely. I will be leaving the fan page & website open until I've cleared out all remaining stock I have, which is quite a bit. I will most likely be putting together big boxes of product & selling them at cost price until everything is gone. This is a bittersweet moment for me, however- as I'm closing the doors to my GS baby of nearly 7 years, another is opening. Owning & operating GS has been one of the best things I've ever done for myself, while causing a LOT of pain & self discovery at the same time. I've realized many things about myself, life, people, & many other things that I wouldn't have ever otherwise learned. This isn't good-bye, it's see ya later...because if you know me, then you know I've already got something even better up my sleeve & ready to unleash on the world. If you'd like to be notified when "going out of business" boxes go up for sale (at cost price), leave a comment & I'll message you when they're ready. I will post more later about this still sensitive subject as soon as my thoughts & feelings are a bit more clear to me




There has been no date yet announced for the closure. Meanwhile, former customers still await their refunds.

Monday, January 9, 2012

FDA Freedom of Information Act Request Reports-Overview

Last week I received via email a response to my Freedom of Information Act Request to FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. Contained in the email are several pages of documents regarding FDAs investigation into GlitterSniffer Cosmetics and the recall.
It has been a bit of  a struggle in determining how to post this information as the sheer volume of it is a bit overwhelming. In an effort to make this a bit easier to parse I will be separating the posts into the three different reports, divided by section. There will then be a final, separate post with scans of the reports in their entirety, save for what FDA has redacted and one minor redaction I myself made in order to ensure that a former associate of GS is protected as per their request.
A quick note about my FOIA Request: I have been informed I may still receive other documents from other government agencies in addition to what I have already received, which currently stands at 13 documents. There is generally a fee involved in receiving an FOIA request, based on a sliding scale starting at $23.00 for the first hour of research, with copies of the reports priced individually per sheet. I requested a fee waiver from FDA and HHS for this FOIA request on the grounds that this information was in the public interest and readily identified myself as the author of this blog. I was not charged for the research time or copies sent to me for this portion of the request. I publish them now just as I informed FDA and HHS I would, in the public interest.
Post One: Establishment Inspection Report dated 1/10/11 and 2/7/11
Post Two: Memorandum from the Department of Health and Human Services dated 2/8/11
Post Three:  Memorandum from the Department of Health and Human Services dated 7/20/11
Post Four: Scanned copies of the records
Fair warning, if you thought the Michigan Attorney General post was long then you’re in for more of the same with these upcoming posts, which I will be working on in the coming days. I appreciate your patience and will have them up as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GlitterSniffer Complaints: One Year Later

As of yesterday it has been one year since I first posted to this blog. In that time I have posted about all thing GlitterSniffer Cosmetics, as well as other issues surrounding safety in indie cosmetics. I thought for a long time about what this post should say. I could go on ad naseum, but instead I give you this:

Today I received a response from my Freedom of Information Act Request from FDA and The Department of Health and Human Services. I will be receiving the documents on the GS investigation soon, though I currently have no ETA.

I want to thank you all for your patience as I know this will be another long post once these documents have been received. Until then, I am working on several other posts.

One year later and the grand total of refunds issued by GlitterSniffer Cosmetics for the recall (mine was not recall related) still stands at $0.00.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Michigan Attorney General-Scanned Copy

This is the scanned copy of the email response from GlitterSniffer Cosmetics to the Michigan Attorney General. It has been edited only to remove personally identifying information (my old address, case numbers, a medical diagnosis for one of Lela Warren's family members) and includes the cover letter that was sent along with the letter. The reddish marks are a nail polish mishap.

My case was closed as I received a refund so I will not be following up with the AG for matters as they relate to my refund.





Saturday, November 19, 2011

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Closing?

A couple of hours ago GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Proprietor Lela Warren posted to her personal  Facebook page that as of the first of the year GS would be closing its doors. There has not been an official announcement as yet and absolutely no reference to refunds.




It remains to be seen if Lela Warren will actually move forward with this plan or not. To be sure, there has never been an intimation of this sort from GS, even when the business disappeared for months.

As for refunds Lela has made it quite clear in the past that they were contingent upon the successful relaunch of GS. I know that she herself is unsure at this point how much money is even in the refund account as she has not checked it in some time.

Whatever comes of this latest development it is still my fervent hope that everyone due a refund will receive one as promised.

More information as it becomes available.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Michigan Attorney General- GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Responds

This e-mail was sent to the Attorney General on Monday August 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM. It is a response to some, though not all, of the complaints filed with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Included in it is Lela Warren’s summary of the events leading up to the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics recall and its attending fallout. The email is quite lengthy, running a little over three pages. As I stated earlier I will be removing PII of Lela’s family including a medical diagnosis for a family member, as well as the case numbers for the individual cases, but the rest will remain intact. I will address any salient points paragraph by paragraph and a scanned copy will be posted in a separate post. 

Every effort was made to retain the integrity of the email so as much as possible all unique spelling and punctuation is as it appeared in the original email. For clarity the text of the letter will be italicized.

___________________________________________________________________________


My name is Lela Warren, owner of Glittersniffer Cosmetics and I am replying to several case numbers, I will respond to them individually after I explain the situation.

In fall of 2006 I began making my own mineral cosmetics. I ended up starting a small company of my cosmetics and named it Glittersniffer Cosmetics. There were several company's out already that made the same thing I was doing. In an attempt to offer something different, I decided to use mineral colorants to make a product called “pigments”.

**Glittersniffer joined Etsy on February 27, 2007. However, it not as a cosmetics purveyor. It was as a sort of catch all craft company, offering coasters, dread beads, and earrings. The cosmetics did not show up in Etsy until mid-2008, and then it was just perfumes. There have been numerous discrepancies in the GS timeline, the most recent of which was in a product listing on their current site which states the company started almost 7 years ago, putting the opening in  roughly 2005.



Additionally, there is the pigment question. My receipt, from December 2008, clearly states that I purchased eye shadow, not pigment. More on the curious case of the pigment in a moment**



There's a large difference between pigments and eyeshadows, although they contain some of the same ingredients. A mineral eyeshadow is a product that involves taking mica the colorant and adding different ingredients. By adding other ingredients the color becomes lighter. I wanted my colors brighter so I don't add other ingredients. I mix mica's together to make what is called a “pigment” (just like what MAC cosmetics does for example). An eyeshadow is used for strictly eyes, if you tried to add it anywhere else on the face/nails/body, it would be bumpy and very light in color. However, a pigment can be used on nails (mixed into nail polish) lips (mixed into gloss/lipstick) body (body sparkle etc) as well as on the face (bronzer, blush).

**I actually spoke with FDA regarding the use of the term “pigment” and they support Lela’s assertion that pigment is simply another word for color. Pigments are essentially multiuse mica so Lela’s definition is correct, but her comparison to MAC Pigment is in error as a quick glance at the ingredients show that they do add ingredients other than colorants, though they are marketed as multiuse powders. The MAC name for "Pigment" is simply the product name, specific to MAC Cosmetics, and is not intended as a descriptor for the product use (Description of Pigment from the MAC site: Pigment is a highly concentrated loose colour powder that contains ingredients to help it adhere to the skin.)

This begs the question then, is what GS is selling “pigment” as Lela has defined it to the Attorney General? If pigment is color (or colorant) in its pure form without additives, why then does GS list Magnesium Stearate (a base additive, not a colorant), Hydrogenated Polyisobutane (an emolient/skin conditioner/viscosity controller, not a colorant), and Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate (a bulking agent, not a colorant) on their ingredients? Per the FDA approved colorants list NONE of these ingredients are colorants. They are actually base additives and/or bulking agents.


There are two possible reasons as far as I can surmise with the available information: Either the GS ingredients list is incorrect (because these are indeed 'pigments' and GS hasn't added any bases/bulking agents) or GS is adding other ingredients to their colorants to make their finished product, which in turn means the term pigment (by Lela’s own definition) is incorrect. If the product is being sold as one thing but is instead another the issue of proper labeling once again rears its head as by adding bases/bulking agents theproduct is no longer simply pigment, but becomes a finished cosmetic and subject to all FDA guidelines.

You may be wondering if it can get any curiouser. Read on.**

I have never marketed my products as being eyeshadows and intended for eye use. I have always marketed them as pigments. When making my pigments most of my colorants were FDA approved for all cosmetic use, including eyes- except one which was neon pink named Cosmetic Fluorescent Strong Pink that WAS FDA approved for cosmetic use minus on the eyes. I used this pink colorant in small amounts to make my pinks and some purples, brighter for several years with no issues or complaints from any of my customers.  

**Suddenly, the heavens break, a choir of angels sings, and it all becomes clear. We, as consumers, are at fault for not understanding that the cosmetics we were being sold were NOT intended for eye use BECAUSE GS NEVER SOLD IT AS SUCH. Aside from my receipt above which clearly lists what I bought as eye shadow (which I’m certain, now that Lela has clarified, was the one and only time it was ever mistakenly listed that way) this was all a huge misunderstanding on the buyers’ part. After all, we should have been savvy enough to know that these were not meant for eyes, what with all the pictures of the product being used on eyes






or specifically as eye shadow


or for a brow highlight or in the corner of the eyes (as seen in the WhiteoutRainbow Collection currently for sale on the GS site)



I can almost feel the enormous sense of relief washing over us all that this was a whoopsie on the consumers’ part. Our curiosity about the pigments now sated I guess it’s time to let bygones be bygones because Lela has rationally explained it all.

I apologize for my disdain, but this is ludicrous, as evidenced by the recall itself. If the product was never intended for eye use and was never marketed that way why was a recall due to the use of Cosmetic Fluorescent Strong Pink not being eye approved initiated by GlitterSniffer Cosmetics? The answer is simple, and comes from Lela herself in her Bellasugar interview. The recall was initiated because "We wanted to make sure all non eye-approved products were no longer in use." Lela goes on to say "The recall has definitely affected the way we create our products...Again, we are completely committed to using only eye-approved and vegan ingredients."




That’s not a commitment you make if it was never intended for eye use. Just for completions sake here is a link to GS' new red, which is not vegan.

High five though for finally disclosing the ingredient in the pinks and purples (and some oranges), information that we’ve been waiting for with bated breath for eleven months. But the recall wasn’t simply initiated due to this one ingredient. There were also the soap dyes, used in the Super 80s Collection, a fact conveniently left out of this email. I have been made aware that one of the customers who purchased this collection filed a complaint with the AG. Her complaint is not addressed in this email. And just so it’s clear, Lela admitted in the statement from December that she had, in fact, used soap dyes, which are NOT cosmetically approved. It seems the timeline of GS grand opening isn’t the only thing Lela has forgotten** 

Proper adverstising was probably not the main issue with the sale of soap dyes as cosmetics.

My company began getting very popular and large, we were no longer a small company. We had lots of business, were shipping worldwide, and decided to take GS to the next level. Upon making this decision, we decided not to offer the products that had the neon pink colorants in them, as we did not want the clients to put them on their eyes. We issued a voluntary recall and followed all the proper steps including e-mailing all clients, putting the recall info on our website and all other online areas where we were active such as Facebook. Everyone was instructed to send in their pinks for a refund or new product. The FDA was involved and made sure we were doing things as we should.

**There is no debate that GS was indeed growing. By all accounts they were hugely popular. Whether or not it was wanting a clean slate that brought about the recall is something only Lela knows for certain. I am still not in possession of the FDA report from my FOIA request, but FDA was involved at some point, though it was not GS that informed them as they were required to do during a voluntary recall. Lela admits FDA was contacted about GS, not by GS.


Much like the physical letters that were supposedly sent out in February as per FDA Enforcement Report about the GS recall to date I have not heard of a single customer that received the mass email about the recall. I know I didn’t get one. If I am in error and scores of GS customers did in fact receive this email I’ll be more than happy to correct the oversight.

The recall was posted on glittersniffercosmetics.com, but it was only posted a good deal of time later, after a Q&A session facilitated by the Complaints blog and page. The Facebook announcement was posted, and then deleted, and then reposted, and has since been deleted again in the housekeeping GS did prior to their relaunch a few months ago. This is all borne out in the first months worth of posts to this blog. So, while the bare bones of recall protocol was followed by GS it was only done when they were left with no other option because a consumer called FDA. (Not I. My call was later)**

They came to my home on several occasions, conducted their investigation and found no reason to issue us a violation. I am e-mailing them one more piece of information and they are closing the case. When my clients found out about this recall, many of them decided to use their pigments like always and then some of them, were very angry. They felt as they had lied to them. Because my business was very small at one time, I was very personal with my clients, many of my clients and I talked regularly via facebook, chat messages on the phone etc, the majority of us were very good friends so they took it very personal when they felt like I betrayed them and sold the pink products to them as they were not eye approved even though I never marketed them as an eyeshadow.

**It does appear that the case is now closed as per FDA and GS is now in compliance. I’ve touched on the nature of the personal relationships previously. It is very involved and, quite frankly, would take a volume such as War and Peace to properly explain. Suffice to say there was a lot of anger. It would be moot at this point to speak to the eyeshadow claim again (see my receipt above), so I’ll leave it at this. When trust is broken, whether it be business or friendship, there is a certain amount of anger that is to be expected. To negate what the GS customers went through or were feeling in all this by washing the company’s hands of it on the back of an outright lie (see my receipt above) is beyond the pale, yet, sadly, par for the course.**

As stated earlier, none of my clients ever reported any issues about problems when using the pigments that had the pink ingredient in them. There were no complaints about irritation, pink eye medical trips etc. It wasn't until I started the recall that suddenly all these people had different issues when using them. To this day there is no medical documentation from any client even though they asked to present them when they claimed that they were having medical issues and had to go to a doctor.

**Again, we’ll have to take Lela’s word that there were no complaints prior to the recall (though it is odd that pink eye is mentioned since the products weren’t supposed to be used on the eyes). It should be noted, however, that the GS Community was very close, with many strong personalities, and very much had a culture of silence, where stepping out of line was met with derision and banning and the threat of the loss of that sense of community. That’s very powerful psychologically when you are as deeply involved as so many were. I will state that I have not seen a medical bill either, though I have read every story, both published and unpublished, and I’ve seen the pictures. I actually see them every day in my mind and probably will for a long time. .**

Prior to this recall we had made three different collections of pigments that were for sale to benefit three different charities which are: TWLOHA, GLADD and ASPCA. 50% of the money that was collected was to go directly to these charities. All monies were kept in our business bank account, they were transferred to that bank account via Paypal. When we issued the recall and told clients to please send in their recall items, make a money request via Paypal or they take new products. A large group of harassing women (explained in the next paragraph) learned that if they filed a claim with Paypal vs making a request they were able to get their money back and keep their product. This group of women did just this for every single transaction/purchase they had ever made with GS including items that were not on the recall list. There was so many different women doing this, on so many different transactions dating back months and months that Paypal ended up freezing our account. We called Paypal MANY times to try and get the issue resolved so that we were able to continue our recall and refund process, however they were not cooperative. I could not access any funds that were in my Paypal account, nor, more importantly, I could not take my bank account information off the account.

**I cannot speak to this from a personal experience perspective as I had not yet entered the picture. This version of events (minus calling anyone harassing) was confirmed to me by a third party who was very close to the GS organization. Paypal did freeze the accounts due to the number of claims. What is not mentioned in the email is that at least a portion of these claims going back months and months were not due strictly to recalls, but for product that was simply never received. One might say the Detroit Post Office vendetta against GS worked double-time to help freeze the account. But we also know from the December statement that despite the numerous times the PO was blamed for missing packages the packages had in fact not been shipped as Lela allowed orders to pile up and then couldn't afford a staff to help her ship them. It was actually the recall, unshipped packages, and claims due to sanitation concerns that coalesced to freeze the PayPal account, not harassment**


The end result was that more people found out about this loophole to keep product and get money so it just kept going and I had no control over it, and Paypal allowed it. Eventually funds started coming out of my bank account (which had the charity money in it) and that charity money was given out unrightfully to many people, because Paypal just kept approving these claims. I have contacted all three charities and explained the situation. Two of them were very understanding, welcomed me with their support to try again in the future minus ASPCA which I never got a response from, I sent three separate e-mails which I still have proof of. I also called several times and couldn't speak with a supervisor on any of the occasions.

**This is basically true. Once Paypal froze the account they started paying out claims at their discretion. What has not been mentioned is that when the recall started GS denied claims left and right. If you click on the ‘Your Story’ tag to the right you can scroll back and see where legitimate claims were denied repeatedly. As a matter of fact, to date, I am the only person who was issued a refund by GS (out of order and not per the terms of the recall). I asked the third party why this was and was told mine was issued first at Lela’s insistence because she knew I would post about it. The third party is actually the one who issued the refund. It was for $21.50**

A quite large group of women began harassing me, ruining my reputation as well as doing within their power to make my life miserable. One even went so far as to call CPS of Michigan on Christmas Day telling CPS that I had “dangerous chemicals” in my home and that I was a “drug addict”. I have been called every name in the book and been bullied online to the extent of me finally going to a psychiatrist for anxiety medication because of all the chaos going on. This group of women made up many lies about me and spread them to anyone and everyone who would listen. Not only did they ruin my personal reputation as a person they also ruined my business image. They have told public radio stations, newspaper blogs etc many untrue things about myself and my family. Among some of them are that my child is a “retard” (redacted) that I'm a heroin addict etc. One of the most hurtful things was the fact that I told one of these women about my husband's year long affair with another woman, this story was released to the public and although very still recent and painful for me, they laughed about it and found it humorous even though it was extremely painful for me and had just happened at the time.

**Again, I cannot speak to the Child Protective Services (CPS) claim as at that point I had just sent emails to GS requesting a refund due to my concerns about sanitation and informing them of the complaints I planned on filing if I had to pursue it. I was never part of the GS community, and except for one nice convo from Lela when my order shipped back in 2008 I had had no contact. I didn’t even know she had a child. CPS files are closed, for good reason. If CPS was called I can tell you I didn’t do it. Regardless it is my understanding that the child is still in the home.

In terms of name-calling I can again only speak to my personal experience in saying I’ve not called anyone anything other than their given name and under no circumstances would I ever speak ill of a child with a word like that. I have seen Lela called many names in many screenshots but I absolutely have not seen that word in reference to her child. To be fair I am not The Great and Powerful Oz and I have upwards of 3,000 files in my GS folder so it’s possible I may have missed it. I just hope it didn’t happen because no one, regardless of the situation, deserves to be called a derogatory name based upon a real or perceived medical issue.

I did in fact contact anyone and everyone I could regarding the GS recall and file every complaint imaginable (as was my right as a consumer), all of which I documented on this blog. When it comes down to it you have to look at intent. My intent initially was to get a refund, which, after a time, came to include informing people of the recall because at that point GS had not done so. Yes, there was the post to the Facebook page, but it was a mea culpa, which did not include a full recall list. Had I not happened across it on a blog I wouldn’t have any clue there was a recall. The GS website itself simply had a placeholder saying they’d be reopening soon, with no mention of the recall.

Since I was not involved in the GS community I honestly had no idea about all the issues: the charities, the missing packages, the voicemail, the soap dyes. When I was informed about all the different venues GS had sold at (Makerfaire, Spotted Box, Etsy, Artfire, the list goes on...) and that there was no attempt at all except a Facebook post by the company to inform people that what they bought may be unapproved I set about contacting the sales platforms so they could make sure their customers were informed. These are steps GS could have easily taken themselves if their intent was to ensure their customers safety, but they did not. Consumers have a right to know. They have a right to be able to make a safe, informed decision. It had nothing to do with wanting to ruin anything or anyone. It had everything to do with a Little Girls Kit made with unapproved ingredients that was sold to someone for their 4 year old. There never was and isn’t now anything malicious in what I have done.  The same cannot be said for Lela Warren, the business owner who knowingly sold unapproved products for years and then did everything in her power to sweep it under the rug and pass off blame to PayPal, to her customers, to her own medical conditions and then went so far as to attempt to blackmail me by threatening the release of my living relatives information so she could have a successful whitewash. Had GS as a business done everything in its power to inform people and issue refunds instead of deny them the blog and the page wouldn’t exist. More to the point, had GS cared from the beginning and never used unapproved ingredients at all none of this would have happened. No amount of threats to me is going to make that any less true.

The issue of the affair leading to the voicemail has been covered previously. The customer who received the voicemail did reference on Facebook that Lela had discussed personal issues but at no time were details released. Lela herself released the information about the affair after the Michigan Radio NPR story and the Bellasugar article. **

My husband had never been unfaithful to me, we'd been together for almost ten years so this experience was extremely painful for me to even think about. They made a facebook page called Glittersniffer Complaints which is still up to this day, minus my numerous attempts to facebook to take it down. On this page they talk about every single thing I say, post, or write anywhere on the internet. I've lost many jobs because this group of women found out where I was working, e-mailing my employer(s) told them numerous lies and speculations. I tried doing a free makeup class for the troubled youth in Redford Michigan at the YWCA. They contacted them, told them numerous lies and I was no longer welcome to join. If I made a new website to sell on, they would contact the owner of the website company and tell them rumors, resulting in me getting shut down.

I even tried to make a new Paypal account so we could continue on with our refund process, it was under my husband's name – they called Paypal and Paypal shut it down. I have tried numerous times to make the situation right with many of these women, they constantly harass me for a refund but every time I attempt to make a new website, they get it shut down. The goal in this whole fiasco has been lost. It is no longer about makeup and money. It has become a witch hunt and a goal of making my personal and business quality of life, a daily struggle.

**Point by point:

1.      While any sort of broken trust is painful, the affair did not have to be played out publicly. Lela released that information herself. If you don’t want the world to know, keep it to your confidants.
2.      There was no ‘they’ in creating GlitterSniffer Complaints. There was only me. I created the page and I created and write the blog, which actually came prior to the Facebook page. There was no conspiracy, no one was out to get GS, there was just a girl that wanted a refund and then realized she had bought the ticket so she had to take the ride.
3.      I’d very much like to see these emails to the employers. If indeed there was harassment at this level as is being claimed I’d be more than willing to share that side of the story, much like I did with the new refund process.
4.      The YMCA Class was not free. It was $35.00.
5.      Glittersniffercosmetics.com was allowed to lapse after several months of non use for reasons unknown. I did contact the host at one point early on to inform them that a recall for products sold on the site was in motion as it had not yet been posted and as the host they had a right to know and do everything in their power to shield themselves from liability. I contacted both Etsy (which was not a current sales venue) and Artfire to inform them of the recall as no announcement had been posted in the GS Artfire studio. My thought process was simply that Etsy and Artfire could use their messaging systems to contact customers to make them aware. I never contacted Highwire, and as a matter of fact, GS left Highwire due to issues with the choice of payment processors. I’ve not contacted, nor do I have plans to contact the current host as the recall notice has now been made sufficiently public. 
6.      There were numerous ways refunds could have been issued without utilizing a TOS violating second Paypal account. Western Union, company check via certified mail, wire transfer, money order via certified mail. Paypal was not the only option. To use an analogy, if the state takes away your driver license you don’t grab someone elses birth certificate and get another one. You take a cab. You take the bus. You walk. You accept the situation you are in and don’t look for ways to skirt the rules and then use it as an excuse to not follow through on your commitments when you get caught breaking those rules. Polite society operates on these core values, that people will respect rules, laws, and regulations. It’s a great lesson to learn and one that would serve GS well in the future.
7.      GS states they have done everything in their power to make everything right. Currently they are operating a webstore and are having a MASSIVE STOREWIDE SALE. I’ve not heard from GS for several months, despite the promise that I would receive weekly updates, including the percentages put back towards refunds and confirming when a refund was issued. Since they have not fulfilled their commitments yet again it seems like there is a lot more in their power they could do to make it right, starting with issuing the refunds.
8.      My goal is still refunds for everyone deserving of one. If the goal has been lost it was lost by GS.**

The quality of my life has effected negatively in many ways. My business reputation has been ruined, resulting in a massive hit to my family's funds. We now struggle to keep our bills paid and have to ask our parents for help. I visited a local food bank for the first time in my life last month. It has caused numerous issues between my husband and I. We fight constantly about everything due to all the attention and because his affair is brought up all the time, also causing fights and conflict. We fight about money as well because it is so hard for me to continue business. My mental health has been extremely effected by all of these things. I am now on depression and anxiety medication, just to get through a normal day. My website was still open during all of the above commotion. Our quality of work began to go down as so many things were always going wrong. Either our payment processor would get shut down and we wouldn't have access to mailing address, or the people who worked for me were exhausted of being attacked for supporting me so, they quit. I eventually just shut it down which is when I took several months “off”, to get things together with my family my husband, my son.

**In terms of quality of life it should be noted that on Angel List Lela Warren claims that GS made $100,000 the first year of business (Puts the refund debacle into perspective, doesn’t it?). I’m not going to speculate as to where that money went but I will say there is a difference between quality of life and standard of living, and it sounds like a distinction that is apt in this situation.



Life does not always go as planned. We live with the circumstances we are given. There is no way the only marketable skill Lela Warren has is making “pigments” given that she has held other paying jobs outside that sector. As a matter of fact she recently left a job that was not GS related. While I understand and empathize with how hard this must be for both her and her family anyone who leaves a sure thing job to rebuild a business has to know that it’s not going to be all sunshine and roses and $100,000 earnings right off the bat and has to be ready to accept the consequences of that choice. That’s what this is all about really, living with the consequences of our decisions. GS chose to use unapproved ingredients and now must deal with whatever consequences come from that choice. **

I made many new policies and procedures for my company, in an effort for it to run smoothly. I found a new website that wouldn't allow lies and rumours to get me shut down. I made a new payment processor account with a company that was on a much larger scale and also wouldn't shut me down due to rumors. I've been doing business again for a couple months now. Everything has been going well. All orders are received and clients are happy. I still am trying to get my personal life together and catch up on my very late bills and getting clients their refunds. We allowed everyone who was due a refund (including the women behind all this) to send in their information and get a cash refund. 15% of all GS sales go toward the refund pile until we have enough to pay everyone out. In conclusion many things are said about myself my family and my business that are just not true. There is so much speculation posted all over the internet and because I do not get involved, it just grows stronger and any new clients I try to take on don't know what to believe so they also choose not to get involved and don't buy from my company so I work other places to keep us afloat. The newest job I got, was contacted by these women and sent me an e-mail, obviously upset. I am actually waiting for him to call me so we can discuss it, at this very moment.

**The policies were made, that is true. But the commitment to make sure the process was vetted to ensure it was going smoothly was not followed through on GS part. At this point, no one outside of GS to my knowledge knows how much, if any, has been put back for refunds. I can’t speak to the email to the employer as I didn’t send one.**

So, as you can see, it has been a bumpy road, all caused by makeup and the anger of women. There are many ways I could have handled it differently and even more things I wish I had done differently. However, all I can do now is keep doing the best I can to support my family as well as build up the refund money that is owed to people in an attempt to make things right.  

**And there you have it. This entire mess was caused not by GS decision to use unapproved ingredients and deny refunds, but because a bunch of angry and vengeful women had the audacity to not only purchase GS products (AND USE THEM ON THEIR EYES WHEN THEY WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO), but to expect them to actually arrive and be safe to use.**

That is actually a short version of it but I think it covers most bases. I will now respond to each case individually.

**I will be publishing these but only commenting on the cases I have knowledge of and permission to address.**

Case 1
This client has been contacted and we came to a resolution. She took store credit and was mailed a package. The tracking number for the package shows it has been delivered and there has been no contact since. She was one of the women who filed a Paypal claim, got her money and kept the product. I still honored her request for store credit.

Case 2
This client also took store credit over a cash refund after being contacted. We came to a resolution and she was sent a package. She has since received her package, proven via the package tracking number, and there has since been no further contact.

Case 3
This client filed many different Paypal claims and got her money back, even for items not recalled. She was still contacted via e-mail on July 16th 2011 to confirm she was not owed any funds. We have not received a reply to this date.

Case 4
This client was contacted and we came to a resolution. She is in our refund database to receive a cash refund. She also requested some of our products, for free, for all the troubles. We honored this request, and she has received her package of all the items she requited plus more. We do have a tracking number to prove this.

**This case is about the money raised for Christie Brooks’ family. The resolution was a compromise on the amount owed where the difference was split and an average accepted. She will not be receiving all the funds that were raised in her family’s name. The products were not requested, but were offered by Lela in an attempt to make things right. She did receive them, though there were numerous issues, including a double mailing label that had another customers full name and mailing address on it. She has not heard from GS since agreeing to the reduced refund**

Case 5
This client was contacted and she chose store credit. We sent her all items of her choice which have since been delivered. Her and I are actually friends on facebook again, we talk frequently, she shops at our new website, and even does some of our graphic artist work.


Case 6
This client was contacted July 13th of 2011 we offered her store credit or a cash refund. She has not responded to this date.

Case 7
This client was contacted on several occasions via e-mail and phone. She was offered store credit, cash refund or both. She is currently in our refund database to get monies when refunds are being distributed.

Case 8
This client chose store credit. She chose her items and received her items some time ago.

Case 9
This client was one of the “ringleaders” of the women who constantly harassed me. Even before the recall this client was constantly bothersome as a customer. She would very frequently get into arguments with other customers, she would make rude comments when others posted their makeup looks to the fan page, and she always seemed to somehow be involved whenever there was an issue or “drama”.
She has publicly stated that her husband is a doctor and she had my pigments tested and found them to be harmful. When asked to retract her statement or provide proof she blocked me from contacting her or seeing anything she posted. She also stated that she kept having issues of irritation after the recall even though she bought from my company over and over again, on a near weekly basis.
I did ask her why she kept buying our products if she was experiencing irritation to which she would not reply. She has gotten many funds back via Paypal however I still tried contacting her, even after her abusive behaviour towards me. She wanted to speak on the phone and I agreed. I tried calling/texting her several times so we could work things out. Our last conversation (my fourth attempt) was on January 23rd 2011 via a chat which I do still have record of.

Case 10
This client has never even purchased from me. She helps run the facebook page that has caused my family and I a lot of suffering. Last year, due to the economy, my company publicly stated that anyone who could not afford Christmas gifts could contact us and we would help them out. This client did contact me. She does not have a lot of money at all, so when she contacted me October 11th 2010 about how she probably wasn't going to get anything for Christmas I actually sent her a large surprise package, completely free. As you can see, her morals are not what I would consider “good”.

**This case is about one of the Complaints Page Admins. I appointed Admins several months in when it became clear that the issues ran far deeper than I initially thought. There was no intent on anyone’s part other than to ensure productive communication on the page, which was a Herculean task due to the emotional nature of the situation. She actually was a GS customer of sorts. She placed a small order that she never received and a friend of hers bought her a present that she also never received. She did receive a Christmas package. Her morals are outstanding. **

Case 11
This client started the facebook page called Glittersniffer Complaints that to this day, has caused all the above commotion and is still active and running. She also runs a blog that contains many false things stated as factual. The flase comments and rumors that are posted on this blog are not monitored. I have asked her MANY times to PLEASE take down the facebook page to which she will not. She has only purchased from my company once, and we refunded upon request from Paypal. She has been contacted many times, been begged to please reconsider and she will not comply. As stated she only purchased from me ONCE and was not an active member of the GS community. I am still unsure as to why she has allowed all these painful events and even been active in them. This woman has literally, ruined my life and business. My last contact to her was August 1st 2011, where I asked her again, to please take the facebook page and blog down to which again, she refused to comply. At one point, I really wanted to get a lawyer to make her stop but I now cannot afford it. If there is any way the Attorney General of Michigan can help me put her actions to a stop, I beg of you to help me, please.

**First of all let me say that the bold letters are not a fancy way for me to point out my own case. This is actually the way my case response appeared in the email.

I did start both the page and the blog. Both are active and running and will remain so. I beg to differ that the posts to the blog are not monitored. The blog just passed 105,000 hits yesterday, so I’d say it’s being monitored very well.

I have actually never been asked to take the Facebook Page down. I was asked if I planned to ever take it down (along with the suggestion that Lela would send “her girls” over to post on the page if it was left up) in an unwanted mail to my then corporate email. I actually have an email from January where I was told GS supports freedom of the press and all they asked was that I would listen to both sides of the story. Then a few months later I was asked for my address in order to be served with a Cease and Desist and Defamation Suit. I responded with the federal laws that covered both the blog and the page as per the attorney that I engaged and also provided evidence of Lela inciting one of her relatives to come to the page and act in an unproductive manner. I asked at that time if she still needed my address. She never responded. I was asked to pull a single post from the blog in early August, but when I asked for a reason why I did not receive a response. On September 7 Lela released my full name, address and telephone number on her Facebook page and said she had 5 other addresses as well as the names of my living relatives and would continue releasing information until her demands for blog and page removal were met. So, you see, despite her assertions I’ve never been outright asked and/or begged to take the page down. I’ve simply been inundated with threats both veiled and real in an effort to get them removed. Someone needs to learn to use their nice words.

I did only purchase once. I’ve always been upfront about that. It really has no bearing on the situation. I was a customer and I should be afforded the same consumer rights and protections whether it was my first or twenty first purchase. There was a perceived product issue and I asked for a refund. I was not given one. I was told I had threatened legal action, which I had not, and then GS ceased communication. I pursued varied avenues to obtain a refund, including filing complaints and creating the page and the blog. Had my initial Paypal request been honored as Lela claims the blog and page wouldn’t exist because I wouldn't have been pursuing a refund.

At this point I’d like to invite Lela Warren or another GS representative to actually read this blog. I have taken great care to vet every post here as thoroughly as possible. I have been called a liar who spreads untruths for many months now and this blatant attempt to discredit my name with malicious intent ends now. I have not resorted to name-calling and I have been hands off any family situation up until now, two respects that have not been afforded me. I even posted information regarding the new refund process at GS’ behest. I can prove that everything I have researched and posted here is to the best of my knowledge factual and I encourage Lela to read it. As I stated in my very first post I’ll be happy to amend any post provided I am given supporting and corroborating evidence of the validity of the claims that there are errors. That offer is still on the table, GS simply refuses to use it, instead resorting to bullying tactics to cuff me back into place. Protip: That doesn’t work with me.

I’ve been threatened with Cease and Desists, a Defamation Suit, unwanted email to my place of employment, unwanted messages on Facebook from one of Lela’s family members, an unwanted friend request from Lela herself after my explicit request that I not be contacted anywhere other than the blog email, and had my personally identifyinginformation misused to not only threaten me but also my family members. I do not expect that these tactics will end anytime soon as they seem to be a pattern of behavior.

Most of this has not been public knowledge and I only reference it now to show the absolute absurdity of harassment claims by a woman who would pay to gather 5 of my addresses while claiming poverty and then state she wanted to visit relatives in my home state. I don’t want pity. I want the brass tracks truth to be out there. That truth is that Lela Warren may feel like she is the victim in this situation, but the true victims are those whose trust, communal identity and money ware ripped away from them by a woman who they thought was their friend and who will stop at nothing to make sure she is relieved of all responsibility. The upshot is no one should get to behave in this manner and then play the victim card. It’s insincere, it’s disingenuous, and above all it is disrespectful to the people who have actually been hurt in this situation. They didn’t ask to be sold unapproved products, or to have their money taken, or to be dragged through all this. The fallout that is being seen here is not a concerted orchestrated effort to destroy GS but there are a series of individuals who have simply had enough of being lied to, bullied, and treated horribly reclaiming their right to basic human respect. They have a voice that was silenced for far too long and what is now being seen are the repercussions of that.

The only person who has “allowed” this to happen is Lela herself through her poor business decisions and conduct. It’s this fundamental flaw that is continually overlooked and unless addressed may lead to more issues. But that’s up to GS, and proprietor Lela Warren, to recognize and address.  Another blogger wrote a sentence that I believe best sums up the situation: Don’t do dumb shit and people won’t write about it."


 As for me I just want to be able to post about refunds.**

I have many e-mails to serve as proof for much of what has been said. I can provide these e-mails at any time. I can give you links to the pages I mentioned. I also have tracking numbers for all packages mentioned. Please let me know if you need any further information from me.

As you can see I did make bad business decisions. However, I don't feel it is deserved for me to have to wake up to a living hell, every day of my life. I can't even get a job any more because every time I do, someone searches it and calls my employer. I am literally in tears as I finish this. Again, is there any way ANYONE in Michigan can help me.

I no longer have very much money but the harassment has effected the quality of my daily life and I need help and don't know where to turn for it.
Sincerely,
Lela Warren
313-303-4780

**And that is the letter to the Michigan Attorney General. There’s not much more to say that hasn’t been said ad naseum so I’ll just say this. Thank you for slogging all the way through this. I hope you feel it was worth your time.

See you soon. We can meet at my place (Offer not valid for Lela Warren, her employees, family or associates). I get the feeling you’ll all probably have the address soon enough.**


11/13/11 ETA: Redacted the last 4 digits of the telephone number provided at the end of the AG letter. While the provided number is only one digit off from previously released and public telephone numbers I have erred on the side of caution that it was not a typo and have redacted it to protect Lela's privacy.

Second Edit: The phone number was transcribed incorrectly and has now been updated to show the correct number. I apologize for the oversight.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Break

Long time, no update. I apologize for the impromptu break. Life, as it does, happened. Though it may seem that Lela Warren's public release of my Personally Identifying Information and threats of further retaliation against me and my living family members had something to do with it I can tell you unequivocally it did not. It was coincidental timing as I was busy with other matters, some pertaining to GS. You can read more about the PII situation over at Lipsticks & Lightsabers. There was also a followup status update where Lela Warren stated she would like to visit family in my home state of Oklahoma, which can be seen below.




Lela demanded this blog and its Facebook page be taken down. That has not happened and will not happen. Even if everyone due a refund receives one it will remain. What Lela fails to see is that the main purpose of the blog and page is to chronicle GlitterSniffer Cosmetics business practices, and as long as GS is in business it is relevant information for consumers to know in order to make an informed decision. One would think a proprietor who had asked for assistance in getting the new refund process out to as many people as possible by way of a post here would understand that the blog goes out of its way to post as much information as possible and that the tenor of the posts rest directly on GS behavior as a company.  There have been other posts relevant to indie cosmetics safety unrelated to GS as well and I believe that it would be a disservice to consumers to take them down as in some cases the information is not available anywhere else. So it will stay, regardless of any threats that may arise.

And what of those threats? Well, I cannot comment on the actions I am taking at this point, except to say that there are things that have been and are being set in motion to ensure mine and my family's well being.

In terms of GS there is the matter of the AG letter that was received by many a couple of months ago.  Expect a post on that shortly, as well as other GS and non GS related posts. I have had the AG post in the works for some time, though it has been slow going as I only had the text and not a scanned copy. In the letter Lela reveals many private family details by way of reasons/excuses for the recall, as has been her custom. I have always been hands off most of the private issues as they had nothing to do with GS business. My stance on that has not changed, however the private family information is being used to explain GS' issues past and present and could be considered relevant. I will be removing PII and a medical diagnosis for Lela's son but otherwise the letter will remain intact. It should be noted I am not altogether comfortable with everything that will be published but in the interests of full disclosure I feel that all aspects should be posted, especially as it serves as Lela's statement about how this all came to be.

I am still awaiting word on the FOIA request I filed for the outcome of FDAs GS investigation. It does appear there were no sanctions, which means GS has been brought into compliance. This is an interesting development, as if GS is to continue in business as they state they intend on doing everything needs to be compliant with all rules and regulations. It should be noted, however, that GS announced they had been FDA approved. FDA does not approve companies, nor finished cosmetics. They approve and regulate ingredients. It's a minor, but important distinction, and one GS should be well aware of as they have been working with FDA for months. Making an FDA approval claim on labeling or in advertisements is considered false and misleading and could result in further FDA notice of GS. As this following statement was made on the GS Facebook Fan page, which is the company's main resource for advertising, it is easy to see how the statement might be construed as an advertisement.


Emphasis mine

Is it permitted to label cosmetics "FDA Approved"?

No. As part of the prohibition against false or misleading information, no cosmetic may be labeled or advertised with statements suggesting that FDA has approved the product. This applies even if the establishment is registered or the product is on file with FDA's Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program6 (VCRP) (see 21 CFR 710.8 and 720.9, which prohibit the use of participation in the VCRP to suggest official approval). False or misleading statements on labeling make a cosmetic misbranded [FD&C Act, sec. 602; 21 U.S.C. 362].

As for me I am now happily ensconced at a new job. The majority of my last few months was taken up in that transition. I was also one of the co founders of The Team Pink Eye Project along with Rebecca Storevik, which I am humbled to report raised $1,459.95 for Susan G Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure for breast cancer awareness. We had some wonderful bloggers and indie shops participate and not only met, but exceeded our goal. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and I am happy to report that 100% of the donations went directly to Komen, an outcome I wish I could post for the other charities I've previously blogged about here. There are still more donations coming in and a possible company match from my new company so if you're of a mind check out the TPE blog. Also, take a few moments monthly to do your self exams please.



Be well.

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