Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Excuse Me While I Vent

I was going to say that I had a lesson to learn to impart to you today, but it's not really. It's more of an anecdote that has a few interesting points I'd like to get out. So, it starts like this, I get an email a week ago from someone looking for feathered accessories for a photo shoot asking my location. The email is signed with a name and a studio name, but no further information. I find it odd since I don't make feathered accessories, but I dislike ignoring messages, so I respond with just that. I receive further response asking for a link to my available pieces because she works with 10 different photographers and pulls often. I still find it odd that she doesn't know what I make and my shop link was already in my signature, so at this point I do ignore it.

Let's then flash forward to yesterday when I receive a couple of messages back, one that just says hello? and another that says they work with "all" the magazines and could she get a list of what I have available. I should have ignored it but I didn't and this escalated into me being called unprofessional and "very small", which quite frankly upset me more than it should have. How did it end up there? Well here's the points I wanted to get out. When I looked up this person online, or tried, I should say, there was no information, none. Nothing on the studio name either. So the first point is, even if you're supposedly used to contacting "80 accessory designers" you should be more forth coming with information. Tell people who you are, what you do and most importantly, low profile or not (that was her excuse) you must have a web presence that allows one to trust you. I am small potatoes and I might need help getting my work exposed, but that doesn't mean I should trust that you know better than me and will treat me kindly. You can tell me repeatedly that would work with over "20 photographers" or returns "millions of dollars" worth of product, but unless I have some tangible proof of that or even some actual names, I'm not biting and I don't think anyone should go on faith alone.

The second point. Not only were her emails lacking in information, but they were full of what I call text speak, 'u' and 'pls' and unnecessary ellipses and you know I love ellipses, but this is no way to expect a professional response from someone either. I don't care how "casual" a person you are. In the back of my mind, I still feel like I might have botched a potential opportunity, that this person was everything they said they were and I even fear some sort of black balling backlash, but they still created a situation where the risk involved was too high in my opinion. I have been taken advantage of in the past by people who probably knew I had no idea how the industry worked and I lost pieces. Since then I have worked with several legitimate magazines and photographers and they all were generous with information from the beginning even when things didn't work out. So the moral of the story is, as one of my twitter friends stated, when in doubt, opt out. There was some more advice on twitter too, but the language was too salty to repeat.

On a more pleasant note, while all the above was stressing me out and draining away my sunshine, my special order customer made their purchase and I got a couple more sales as well. It was almost as if the Universe was telling me all was well and I was not losing anything. I still have doubts of course, but I feel better now that I've vented a bit. I have tatting to do today and that feels good as well. Also I have gotten a few responses regarding the Canadian tatter call and have sent them off to meet the reporter, virtually anyway, so hopefully that article has enough relevance to move forward. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Here's to a fresh day with more of that pleasant stuff and none of that other nonsense.


Tatfully Yours said...

Wow!! I hope your day is better today!!!

Dragonfly_in_nc said...

I wouldn't have bought it either. Sounds like a scam. She should have known when she contacted you what accessories you make. I woldn't worry about it. Sounds like you made the right decision.

geraldine said...

OH I'm with dragonfly I would not touch it with a barge pole either,I'm sure the sun will keep shineing for you.

louine said...

The easy for finding someone and contacting them only to scam them is a little scary to me. You were right to opt out......I personally check the background of every thing I get through email.
Hopefully business will continue to pick up....enjoy your summer.

briddie said...

I find that people who get caught trying to cheat someone are the most vitriolic when they are thwarted. She seems to fall into that category. At the very least, if she was legitimate, she would have researched your work first, otherwise how could she know you were worth promoting?

Jo Campbell said...

I don't think a professional person would use text speak when contacting a possible supplier. I know email has encouraged people to be less formal but in a business communication you should at least use proper grammar and spelling. She certainly has no justification to call you unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Jo Campbell on this, plus I think *she's* the one who was unprofessional. I admit I may be out of touch but by my standards textspeak is not professional in any written business communication. I don't know whether this person was a scammer or not, but even if she wasn't, she doesn't know how to run a business. And with how sloppy she is at communicating, who knows how she would treat your pieces (or anyone else's, for that matter)? I think you made a wise decision.

Just wondering - I know you've sent off pieces before for photo shoots, and had some tense days when things disappeared for a while. Do these people/companies have agreements (or contracts etc.) that say how they will handle items that are sent to them and what they will do if something happens to those items? Or is that something the designer is supposed to have? I'm just thinking there could be potential legal issues there, ie lost revenue on one-of-a-kind pieces.

TotusMel said...

@Meg Thanks. Yes, most photographers and magazines seem to have a standard form accepting liability for lost or damaged pieces with a promise to return in a timely manner.

Of course my experience is fairly limited so I can only assume that's standard. Most of my stress has come from postal/shipping drama.