June 12, 2010

Karvt Rocks

I have been known to bad mouth the very notion of business once or twice here on my blog. The overall nastiness of the bottom-line corporate mentality has always left a bad taste in my mouth. With the Wal-Martification and fast food style “efficiency” of almost every aspect of our commercial lives, it is no wonder that many of us feel disenfranchised, disgusted with, and tried of the corporate business world.

Gone are the days of mom and pop shops, and small business who are doing it right; creating quality goods at affordable prices and worried more about costumer satisfaction and relationships than the all mighty profit margin. They take pride in their work and want you to be happy. When we are faced with such establishments, we are often reminded of how life could be if we were all in it for each other instead of the next quarter report.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that when you own a business you need to make money. I grew up in a household that was funded by how well our business did. I can remember many a Christmas season where our whole family would stay up till past midnight cutting and packaging school photos. My father was a photographer who worked from home. I still remember the arguments my parents would have because my dad would agree to re-do an entire package because a costumer was not happy with the final results.
“These pictures reflect my work and the way we treat people is how our business will grow. A couple of dollars lost here on paper and supplies will come back ten fold when they share with their friends the way we treated them.”
I share this story because I recently encountered such a business, and I feel it is my responsibility to pas s on the good word. So often, we only complain when our needs have not been met, and business like Karvt deserve our good cheer just as much.

Their about page says it all:

KARVT is owned by mac enthusiasts, Kurt Barbee and Sean Herman. Sean is a designer by trade but also a scratch deejay and skateboarder at heart. He’s traveled the world making music with some of biggest and best performing artists around such as the Godfather of soul, James Brown and Grammy Award Winning artists Arrested Development. His love of all things design, coupled with his constant monitoring of “all things fresh”, have led him to become a “go to” guy when someone seeks the services of a multi-disciplinary designer. Kurt is someone who has always been a huge fan of technology and has been inspired by the DIY attitude of the indie rock, punk and gig-poster subcultures. Kurts interest in computers and art finally merged a couple years ago when he started his own laser engraving company, which specialized in collaborating with artists from all over the world to extend their work in the new, exciting medium of “laser engraving”. These two decided to take their unique skill sets and produce a tangible product that employed aspects of beautiful design along with cutting edge technology.

They go on to say:

We believe…

because our mac protects our livelihoods. Whatever that may be. Career, hobby, leisure-whatever it is, it’s in our mac. Our mac takes on our personality and its hard drive supplements our memory. These pieces of hardware come together and create a partner who not only listens but makes things more convenient for our daily lives. We constantly put our personalities into our computers, why not put some of that person on the outside?

Finally about the product:

Our skins are personally hand-crafted and offer our customers a simple and effective way to completely remodel their computer. Our skins are made of 100% real wood, which is both sustainable and eco-friendly. We use a professional grade 3M backing adhesive that sticks perfectly to your notebook that offers lasting results for a perfect skin.

All sounds good right? Especially if you can convince yourself that it is okay to spend $35 on a sticker for your computer, but read on to see why I am writing this post.

After waiting ten days for my skin to arrive, I was beyond disappointed because it didn’t fit correctly. I am still not sure if it was my mistake or theirs. They offer two sizes on their web site a 15” Mac Book Pro Unibody or a 15” Mac Book Pro regular. I wasn’t sure which one I had, so I looked on the box and it said Unibody frame, so naturally that is what I chose. Wrong one, obviously. The skin is too big. Here is our email exchange:

hi guys,

I just received my new skin and it looks fantastic. I live in Qatar so it took a while to get here, only problem is that it is the wrong size. I wasn't sure if my MBP was a unibody, so I looked on the box and it said it was and that is what I ordered. Apparently that was not the right size. The skin looks way too big. Does it bend? There is room around the apple, so I am sure it is the wrong size.

Can I send it back and get the right size? I doubt it will make it back to Qatar in time as I am moving, but if you say I can send it back. I will see when you get it and see where we are then. Maybe you can send it to an address in the States.

You have been great so far, so I really hope we can make this work. You can imagine how much it sucks to pay $35 wait for it to get here and not be able to use it.

Please email me back soon.

Less than twelve hours later:

Hi Jabiz,

I apologize for the confusion here. If you haven't already removed the
backing and put it on your computer, please don't but put it in place on
the machine and snap a picture for me.

Either way, we'll work it out so that you're happy with your Karvt skin. :)




Here are the pics. Let me know the next step. I leave Doha on July 3rd and lose my post office box here. So I need to send it back ASP and decide where to send the new one. Or if you want to be super cool, you can send me a new one today to the address you have. Should make it in time and trust that I will send the old back to you.

Thanks guys

I was pushing my luck a bit here, but look at how they responded:

Hey jabiz,

don't sweat sending it back, I'm going to send out another one for you. I
just need the photos for my records. :)

have a nice weekend!


And there you have it folks- People who get it. They make a superior product, they are down to earth, unique and know how to treat their costumers. I am not sure how many more times I will need to buy a special skin for a laptop, but I will definitely keep Karvt on my radar. I know I don’t have a huge readership, but I hope that someone who reads this will get a Karvt product too. Did you just get a new iPad or looking for a gift. Check out their store. Remember it may be a bit vain and superficial to buy a sticker for your Mac product, but it is better to support people like Kurt than to pay five bucks for some piece of crap assembly lined produced product and have to waste your time in a soulless customer service maze if something goes wrong.

If want a world filled with great small businesses, then we must support them, even if it costs a bit more, whenever we can. Thanks Karvt. I will post a picture of my Mac when I get the new skin.


  1. It is refreshing to read about people who run businesses but still value providing good customer service. Too often in North America we deal with large corporate chains, where you rarely deal with the same face when you return to shop there. Corporations generally tend to favor profits over people, sadly; this philosophy even carries over to how they treat employees, stripping them of their autonomy and exploiting them all in the name of, as you said, better results for the next quarter.

  2. ipsae7:07 AM

    how do you like your karvt cover? I really want to buy one but yeah, it does seem pricey for an adhesive cover. you think it would ruin the mpb top??

  3. Anonymous4:30 AM

    Sorry, ordered their iphone skin charged twice for one order. In addition, told it shipped on 8/17 and still have not received it today. No response from customer service. No sure if there are more than 2 employees other than the 2 owners?

  4. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Karvt is a super user friendly company. Kurt has helped me a few times and I am always happy to give him business.