I am so glad that more and more people are joining the handmade movement. But part of me feels like this growth is decreasing the value, appreciation and understanding of what buying handmade means.
What Handmade Is
This post is most likely going to get emotional and I will probably say stuff that I normally wouldn’t put on this blog. But I am just so overcome with the emotions, good and bad, from the past month that something just needs to come out.
I had an incredible Valentine’s Day season. I sold a lot more cards than I expected. I cried happy tears on more than one occasion and had several “Is this really happening?” moments.
I got a lot of sweet messages from customers. I also got a couple not-so-sweet messages from customers. And I’d be lying if I said they didn’t upset me.
On a particularly busy day, I received a message from a buyer. The message opened with: “If you don’t respond I will leave negative comments about you all over.”
I was shocked. Partially because I was worried about it from a business stand-point, but mostly because I couldn’t believe a person would choose to bring up an issue in such a way. I would never threaten an Etsy seller like that, regardless of what the problem was.
In most cases, handmade is a person. Not a machine. Not a team. One person. A person who loves their product, has a passion for their business, and tries their absolute hardest to provide the best possible customer service. But, that person is only human. And I think that’s something that can be overlooked.
I wondered if this buyer understood what buying handmade meant. I wondered if she knew I was spending 12 hour days folding card after card on the floor at my living room coffee table. I wondered if she knew her little $4 purchase was helping me pay my rent (yes, the threat was made over $4). I wondered if she knew the effort I put into giving my customers the best possible buying experience. I wondered if she knew the only thing she accomplished was hurting a sensitive girl’s feelings.
I wondered if she was just a crabby person.
People make mistakes. No one is perfect. I know I will continue to be faced with the occasional buyer vs. seller issue. But it’s how both the buyer and the seller handle the situation that shows what kind of person they truly are.
It is hard not to let the negativity effect me. I take such pride in the work I do for JAA, it easily hurts my heart when some one thinks the job I do is not good enough. But I continue to remind myself that this stress means my business is doing well. And for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.