Please see the update section below, because I may have spoken too soon with being impressed with Jockey’s response to the below quality complaint problem.
I’m rarely impressed, and have to say that Jockey has just impressed me.
A short while ago, I received the following message from a reader who had quality issues with the Jockey JKY Undershirts sold at target:
Good Morning Tug,
Just wanted to send you an email about my latest experience with the JKY (Jockey) undershirts currently listed on your “Favorites.” First off I stumbled onto your site from Art of Manliness almost two years ago.
I had always struggled to find an undershirt that I could be satisfied with…good fit around the chest/shoulders/arms, long length for tucking in, nice and snug collar that kept its shape all day long, and consistent fit and quality from shirt to shirt.
Not long after looking over your website, I settled on trying out the JKY brand sold at Target. As “middle management” at my place of work I have to wear a shirt and tie but don’t really have the resources to spend too much on undershirts. The value (and quality) briefly described got me interested and I bought a box.
I was EXTREMELY surprised and delighted that these shirts lived up to the hype and spot on your favorites lists. I have since purchased several more and have about a good dozen I rotate through. Great product + reasonable price = value!
Just last month, my father in law asked what I wanted for Christmas. He doesn’t have a lot of money and I really didn’t need anything but as a compromise I showed him the JKY shirts when we had a chance to run over to Target for other things. He bought what I pointed out…JKY white undershirts size large. He was pleased to get this for me and I was happy to getting more shirts that I have come to love.
I had the three new shirts included in last night’s load of laundry. When folding them I notice at first the new Jockey logo…name in grey going left to right instead of the blue in a circle like the rest of my shirts.
Then the true horror hit when I took a closer look at all three shirts next together. The quality was absolutely horrible, relative to the older ones I had lying nearby…vast differences in collar fit between the three (tight, OK, and hanging all out), fit of shoulders (again, tight, OK or flappy), quality of manufacture (one was even and the other two were very noticeably “lopsided”), and finally quality of materials (lighter weight compared to my older ones).
I still had the box to confirm what I got. And yes, they were the JKY brand shirts that are only available at Target and what I had purchased before. The other noticeable difference is that these newer shirts appeared to have been made in Bangladesh while the older ones were made in Honduras.
I was devastated and extremely disappointed. I don’t have tons of money to spend more than $10 an undershirt. I understand “you get what you pay for.” But that’s the rub.
What I got last year was an excellent product at reasonable prices. I had sung the praises of said product and your site to all my buddies upon my initial purchase and experience way back. It’s a rare thing to find a product one is truly satisfied with and actively promotes. Now I’m left saddened and disappointment that I probably won’t be able to get these shirt anymore.
So I’m emailing you now to relate my experience, both positively and now critically, about the product you have listed under your “Favorites.” I ask/recommend that you reevaluate said product, JKY (Jockey) brand of undershirts only available at Target.
Maybe it’s a fluke and I bought a “bad” box. If so, then great and I’ll risk another $20 to buy a box and find out. If not, then I believe they should be removed from your list as they no longer stand up to what I assume are high standards for you and your readership.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in reading my correspondence.
Different Suppliers, Different Quality?
good to hear from you buddy! thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know about your experience with jky undershirts!
it’s very interesting because as i was reading through your email and your experience with your latest jky undershirts, i was thinking the new undershirts had to be from a different country and/or supplier partner. and then you mention the new jky undershirts are from bangledesh vs the honduras ones i evaluated a while back, and the ones you originally purchased.
unfortunately, i honestly wish i could say i was surprised, but i’m not. i say that because for whatever reason, when a brand moves their production of certain items to a different country, it usually results in quality issue. i’m generalizing of course, but i’ve seen this exact same thing a bunch of times.
when production moves to a different country, most of the raw materials are sourced from different locations, plus the manufacturing process (cotton processing, spinning of yarn, knitting into fabric, cut & sew) are all done by a different supply chain. when that occurs, there’s a much greater likelihood that the end product will be different from one made in another country. sadly, this generally happens when a brand is looking to reduce cost or optimize operations, and as a result, the final product’s quality suffers.
if you simply look at a map, it’ll be easy to see how the supply chain between honduras and bangledesh would have to be different. also, to be totally honest, i’ve generally seen better low-cost undershirts/t-shirt products come out of honduras then india. that of course is a generalization too, because there are plenty of great manufacturers in india.
with respect to jockey’s jky on my favorites list, i most certainly will update the listing to point out that rating is based on the ones made in honduras, and not bangledesh.
i will also share this feedback with my contacts at jockey, so they are aware of a potential larger quality control issue with jky undershirts coming out of bangledesh. maybe they’ll send me back some comments and/or suggestions about the issue and we can make this into an article.
for the time being, i’d say you may want to avoid purchasing any jky undershirts made in bangledesh and see if you can still locate any made in honduras.
thanks so much for taking the time to write me — this kind of information is hugely helpful to me and something a truly enjoy & appreciate receiving (:
if i hear back from jockey, i’ll surely let you know.
Jockey Steps Up
I forwarded Rodolfo’s email to my pals over at Jockey, not really expecting anything other than maybe an acknowledgement of my email and that they’d look into it.
But this is how Jockey actually responded (to Rodolpho) within 45 minutes of me forwarding the email to them:
We really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences, which Tug passed on.
First of all, I want to apologize for the disappointment. This has been forwarded to our Quality Control and Manufacturing teams for study. And so please rest assured we take this very seriously.
Second, we want to make this right for you right now. And so I’d like to send you an assortment of Jockey t-shirts to try in hopes that we can help you find a new Jockey favorite. Would you please send me a mailing address so that we can send those out to you straight away?
And finally—hoping this would not be an imposition—would you mind sending those unwanted shirts to us for study? It would really help. All you’d need to do is put them in a box, and slap the attached label on it. Just leave it for your mailman to pick up—no muss, no fuss.
But regardless of whether you send the shirts to us, I really hope you’ll give us another chance, and send me an address to get you some different Jockey t-shirts.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Color me impressed.
I guess as one of the top major innerwear brands in the United States (and probably the world), with millions of customers, I just expected that they wouldn’t do anything to help this one customer. I was wrong.
Follow-up from Rodolfo
Good Morning Tug,
Just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to respond to my earlier email and passing along the information to Jockey.
Mr. C at Jockey was very responsive to what I had to say and tells me that they have identified the issue and will be resolving it soon.
I really do appreciate the level of engagement displayed by both you and Mr. C. It gives me confidence as a customer and reader that those producing products and information are taking their jobs responsibly and putting every effort forward to make great products.
— Part of the email Rodolfo Sent to Jockey —
As I stated earlier, I was disappointed by the current quality of the JKY undershirts which are available at Target. I will send back the shirts in question to you for review.
I ask that you don’t just take the shirts under review “in a vacuum.” I had planned on doing a short video to point out the issues I had with the product but time got away from me and I was unable to tape anything this past weekend. I had planned on showing the Bangladesh products right next to the Honduran ones to better illustrate my concerns.
So, if your team does look over the shirts I send, I hope/recommend that they do so in comparison to the ones produced in Honduras. Even without that direct comparison, I hope you see the issues readily apparent in just comparing these three shirts to each other.
Again, I bought them from Target and put them through one wash in the laundry. I believe the first thing you would see is the inconsistency in the neck sizes and the “tightness/spring” to the collars.
If you compare them to the Honduran ones, these are not as thick or wide in fabric. The Honduran ones were wider and thicker (relatively speaking) which meant that they held their shape during the course of the day and did not suffer what the Hanes brand commercial calls a “bacon neck.” They also retained their tight spring wash after wash.
The other issue is in the stitch connection of the shoulders. The Bangladesh ones were also not consistent and were a bit “off” which is visible by how the fabric lays and “bunches” a touch at certain points. The Honduran ones has a good solid and uniform stitch all around where the sleeves met the shoulders. Also, when the shirts are laid flat they do not lay “evenly” which I believe signifies that the truck of the shirt was not cut uniformly and/or was sewn together improperly.
Finally, when compared to the Honduran products, the weight and the thickness of the cotton fabric of the Bangladesh ones seem (to me at least) thinner. There is no weight and heft to the fabric body which makes it feel like a inferior product and that it will not last too long.
I hope that these features that I have pointed out are easily and clearly visible by your team when they inspect the shirts. I would also hope that you actually have some of the Honduran stock on hand to conduct a direct comparison. Having the two side by side will make the differences absolutely glaring. I currently have 12 of these shirts and absolutely love them. I hope they last for a long time and that I can find a comparable replacement once they get “retired.” As I mentioned in my original email, I may have purchased “a bad batch.” I would be willing to try again but with some hesitancy. If the construction were better and consistent then yes, but I am apprehensive because of the weight, thickness and appearance of the actual cotton fabric.
I’ve always held Jockey in high regard. Unlike some of the other major brands who have a many times put layers of PR people between me and them, Jockey staff have always directly responded to my inquiries, and have done so with more responsiveness that I actually hope to get from them. After this demonstration of incredible customer service, Jockey has solidified the place in my heart as a truly amazing brand that cares about and honestly values their customers. Buy Jockey products, because they care. [I’ve stricken through the preceding text because it looks like Jockey hasn’t done anything specific to address the issue]
2/5/15 – Update
Having ongoing dialog with Rodolfo about this, and it appears Jockey stated they “identified” the issue without him having to send in his undershirts, but still left the opportunity open for him to send in his defective shirts.
— From Jockey to Rodolfo —
We have identified the problem and are in the process of correcting it. Your detailed information was very helpful in tracking down the problem in Bangladesh. We know exactly what you’re referring to below.
We’d sure like to be able to send you some replacements if you wouldn’t mind sending a mailing address—and these will be of the quality you have come to expect.
The question is, if Jockey identified the issue, will they be doing anything to bring the quality of the Bangladesh JKY Undershirt to the same higher standard of the Honduras JKY Undershirt?
If they do, when will those changes be implemented, and how long will it take for those higher-quality undershirts to be back on the shelves at Target?
Only time will tell. Let’s see what happens.
6/29/15 – Update
Just received this update from Rodolfo:
Apologies for the delayed reply. It’s funny that you emailed because I went to Target last Monday with the intention of buying some Jockey shirts to see if any changes had been made.
I did not end up buying anything as I got “scared off” at the last minute as I saw that the shirts on the rack had the same grey inner seam collar and were manufactured in Bangladesh.
Even at four months, I don’t think that’s enough time for inventory turn around for both Jockey and Target…if Jockey did in fact implement any changes to better control the quality. At any rate, the shirts I saw last week “appear” to be the same that I bought a few months back so didn’t make a purchase.
Additionally, I never heard back from [Jockey] after his last email thanking me for the details I offered up. I sent him a follow up email asking again if he still needed the shirts I had to examine even though he said my descriptions were helpful. I also included my mailing address for his offer on sending me Jockey products.
Four months later, I still have not received anything from Jockey. So that this point since I never heard back from [Jockey] nor received anything in the mail, I’m writing off the conversation from him as just simple PR lip-service.
I had meant to email you with an update but didn’t want it to come off as “I got snubbed by Jockey and wanted to vent to you” sort of email.
I appreciate the follow up from you. Keep up the great work on the site!