Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seriously Etsy Sellers, WTF?

I love buying handmade items. I appreciate the hard work that goes in to making beautiful, one of kind (ok, semi-one-of-a-kind) things. That means that every now and then I'll buy something from Etsy. Mostly I like what I buy, but I've had some shopper's remorse lately. And because it's an online store, and it'd be a hassle to go to the post office and return items, etc. I usually just shrug and go, "well, it is what it is" and I'm generally happy that some hardworking handicrafter has my money. You know what I mean?

Recently, two purchases didn't work out perfectly. In one, the item didn't match the photo. And I totally take full responsibility, because I picked a fabric with a big print and the maker didn't include the bits I liked. My fault! I left a "neutral" feedback with this comments: "I foolishly hoped that it would look more like the photo, but the cut of fabric was different. I should have known better. Still, it fit beautifully and works great. The person I gave it to as a gift liked it!" My second purchase didn't fit, but they were still awesome, and so I've decided to gift them to my friend. Again, here is my "neutral" feedback: "Turns out my wrist is too small for these bangles (they come off). No worries -- I'll give them to my best friend for her birthday!"**

The part that makes me go "Seriously? Are you kidding me?" BOTH sellers messaged me and asked me change my comment to positive!! And both sellers already have 100% positive comments (we're talking on the order of 200 positive comments to every 2 neutral and 1 negative comment). The other amazing thing, for the bracelets that didn't fit, the comment right above mine, from another customer, read: "Wonderful bracelets! I adore them! The rose gold are a little stronger and thicker ... I have a bit of trouble getting them over my hand, but they are beautiful!" That's funny, right? Because that's exactly the opposite of what I said. What did the second person give as feedback? That's right. It was positive.

So here's what irks me. What the HELL is the point of feedback if the sellers are coercing "positive" feedback behind the scenes? And why am I left feeling like a shady person for actually saying how I felt? I will purchase from both of those sellers again because in general they make good stuff, but those emails: MAJOR CUSTOMER TURN-OFF!! And I told both of them as much, and no, I did not change my feedback. It turns out that this is a pretty common practice amongst online sellers, which is very disheartening. However, I've only encountered it on Etsy. I did, however, learn a valuable lesson, which is: if you are unhappy--even in the slightest--with your purchase, contact the seller because they will go to great lengths to avoid a "negative" or "neutral" review. Also, then, the lesson is this: just because they've got 100% positive feedback, doesn't mean it's all true.

** Let's not judge too harshly that I'm still giving gifts I'm not 100% happy with, or gifting things I originally intended for myself (but never wore!). 'K, thanx.

Modern Quilt Guild: Where to Start?

I'm putting this out into the universe of blog-land. How does one go about starting a modern quilt guild? I'd like to start one in the town where I live, not because I know a lot of quilters who have a modern aesthetic but because I'd like to get to know quilters and I'd like to help people get started as quilters (not because I'm expert, nosiree).

So here are my questions, Blog-land:
1) How did you collect your people? I'll email the Mothership (Modern Quilt Guild) and see what they have to say.
2) How do you find a space and a time where everyone can come (and it still be free/cheap and not inconveniently at someone's home)?
3) How do you decide on challenges, etc.?
4) How do you keep the Guild from eating your life, but still use it as motivation to stay on task, be productive and create beautiful things?

Oh, I hope someone has the answer to my questions....