Friday, February 26, 2010

:: heart ::

sometimes i don't post here because i don't have a picture to share. i like my posts to have images with them. i've been wanting to write about my week but i haven't been able to come up with the right image.

i did finally come up with the right word. disheartening.

you know, i want to be able to be all detached about the things that happened this week. i know i'm not supposed to take it all so personally. but you know what? this business of mine, it's personal. from the reasons i started up up creative to the ways in which i try to grow and nurture it. because i'm still a small indie business, every single detail is mine. like my business card says, i'm the designer, the owner, the accountant, and the mailroom operator. when there's a shipping problem, that comes back to me (and the U.S. postal service, of course). when someone is displeased with her purchase, well, i'm the one who designed the product, the one who printed it, the one who cut and packaged and prepared it.

i had my first unhappy customer this week. someone who didn't like what she got in the mail. from me.

i know i've had probably a thousand customers by now. i know that this shouldn't upset me as much as it does. but there it is anyway: i'm bothered. apparently in addition to being chief operator i am also head of the complaints department and the feeling bad department. i'm the brains and brawn of the business, but apparently i'm also the heart.

and this heart is feeling a little discouraged.

but in my defense, it's not just one unhappy customer. i think the unhappy customer stung all the more because of what happened the day before i got that displeased and displeasing email.

someone ripped me off.

she copied my feelgood list™ exactly (by the way, that feelgood list is trademarked. it seems annoying and pretentious to put the little ™ after it all the time, but i guess that's what i'm going to have to start doing).

and then she bragged about it on her blog and in her flickr photostream. she went on and on about how nice it must be for me to charge $16 for a list she could copy all by herself. an artist and etsy seller herself, she showed absolutely no respect for what i do, saying that her art, because it's not done on a computer, is inherently worth more than something that is done on a computer. and therefore she can just copy my work and slap it up on her blog and act all superior.

i told someone that the copying, that was a paper cut, but the bragging and the condescension, they were like pickle juice poured right over that tiny little cut. they were what really hurt.

fortunately, a few redeeming things did come out of this experience:

(1) someone who reads this woman's blog contacted me to let me know what she had done. there are people out there in the world who don't even know me who are looking out for me. that's nice to know. because the woman didn't name me or my shop, i probably wouldn't ever have found this otherwise.

(2) enough people left comments on the woman's original post and flickr picture that she took them both down without my having to contact her.

(3) all of my friends and peers on twitter rallied such support for me as i boiled and seethed and floundered. i didn't share the links because i didn't want to start a war with the offending woman, but it was nice to know that if i needed them to go leave comments in my defense, i had plenty of people right there all ready and willing to go to bat for me.

still, though. it's going to take a little while for me to put this whole week behind me. it was a rough week. i'm afraid my heart's still stinging.


Nicole | Three By Sea February 26, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

Sorry about the crap week- thank God it's over, eh? ;)
The unhappy customer- shake it off. You can't please everyone and some people just can't be pleased, period. Do your best to make the situation right and move forward.
That chick who ripped you off did serve to show you how many people you have out there supporting you and who have your back. That's got to be a great feeling. Must mean you're doing something right. ;)

April (Everything Little Miss) February 26, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

Your work is beautiful and original; don't let this hard week keep you down! I can only imagine how difficult it all was, but I do know that stinging feeling. It will pass. On another note, it must have been great to find all of your supporters backing you up! ★

daisy janie February 26, 2010 at 9:29 AM  

I am so sorry you had to deal with all of this, Julie. It's def the unfun side of business - brings a good deal of negative energy to your very positive efforts. On the bright side, it will serve to toughen your skin and broaden your shoulders for future breaches. Thank goodness it wasn't worse the first time around. I hope that you'll be able to channel the passion you so clearly feel about your work back into something even better!!!!

Sam February 26, 2010 at 9:29 AM  

Such a bummer; so sorry. I wanted to say that even though we all say that we shouldn't take things personally, we always will. We are human and it is normal to feel things. I think it's what we decide to do after those moments that makes us the strong, determined people that we can be. *hugs*

Anonymous February 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

Julie, you're a fantastic designer and very talented--it takes courage to open a shop with such personal attention to detail on all levels. I hope you can bounce back from this by thinking of all the customers who you have made happy with your wonderful work.

As for someone ripping you off--yes it stings, but it's also a compliment. You designed a great product, and are the originator. I applaud the person who alerted you to the situation, as well as all of your supporters who had the other person's product removed.

The reason you take these things personally is because you're the brains, and the heart, behind Up Up. So try not to be totally disheartened! You're doing a fantastic job :) Keep your chin up!

andreajoyce February 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM  

Oh Julie! I want to give you the biggest, smooshy, fat hug.

xoxo. Your peers will always stand behind you! I know your weeks will be better in time. :)

Isa Maria February 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM  

Wow what a tough week. I haven't faced the copycats yet but I know it is getting rife within the handmade community. It's a shame because it is such a great community and people like yourself offer so many freebies and tutorials etc which is so kind. I really don't know why people steal and in such a nasty way. I'm sorry this had to happen to you.
Sending hugs all the way from England xx

Cameron February 26, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

I totally understand why you didn't share the link (and I promise I wouldn't have escalated the situation without your permission), but even though I don't know you, I'd have your back. :) Just sayin'. :)

Veronica February 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM  

Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery - Just think how beautiful your art is that she felt so compelled to steal it ;-)

JC February 26, 2010 at 1:17 PM  

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened and the lingering sting it's caused. You are fantastically creative and I'm so glad I found your shop and blog.
Keep up the great work!

Chelle February 26, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

Your work is wonderful! Don't ever let people like that bother you! I know it's hard because it gets under your skin, but at the end of the day, You are the one with the successful, lovely business, doing what you love (I presume).

By the way, I purchased one of your cards for Valentine's day for my guy, and it was such a hit! I loved it, he loved it, we had a wonderfully romantic chuckle about it all, because your card fit us to the "t". (It was the "I love you so much...I let one or two farts go unnoticed" one.) It really made the holiday better, because we don't have a ton of money and we never do gifts for those types of holidays, it's just too hard. But that card was perfect, and I just wanted to say thanks.

Cassie February 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

Your work is truly wonderful and I am debating which item of yours to spend my hard saved pennies on. Just wanted to lend my support, try to forget the week. - write it off as one to try to forget and move on if you can. You are a fantastic, inspirational woman, please remember that in the greyist moments. xx

Betsy February 26, 2010 at 5:44 PM  

I actually just got my 1st order from you on Wednesday, and I loved it (so did my boyfriend)-- I'm sorry to hear about this sad person's actions ruining your week-- keep your head up! Spring is just around the corner :)

Sarah February 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

Your blog gives me such happiness and yet I've never bothered to leave you a comment. Shame on me! You certainly deserve to hear it now - I am thankful that you share your creativity, and it inspires me or at the very least gives me a smile. You matter much more than you know!

hub-e February 26, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

I love you.

julie green February 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

you guys have no idea how much your comments mean to me. i wish we were all friends in real life, by which i mean i wish we all knew each other in person and could get together for what they called "group therapy" when i was in college.

Tamara (Sally's Shopping List) February 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM  

Julie, your Feelgood List is fantastic, just like the rest of your printed goodies! I'm so sorry that happened. Maybe you can add copyright and trademark infringement to one of your "sucks" cards? I'm a huge fan!

Brandi February 28, 2010 at 10:01 PM  

Oh, Julie... This is my first time visiting your blog, but I adore your shop! I'm so sorry that it's been a rough week. It hurts because someone stole from you - that's what she did, and as a fellow artist, I truly feel for you.

Keep your chin up! Digital work is not always validated like it should be; but you know and your fans know how hard you work - it shows!

Anonymous March 1, 2010 at 1:53 AM  

i hate how it only takes one bad response to negate all of the positive ones. think about how many people rave about your work... try and remember that it really is unfair to be upset by that one person.

and also, the fact that you care that someone was dissatisfied, shows that your heart is still in the business. which makes things more complicated, but also means you're doing it the right way.

keep on truckin'.

Natalie March 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

I am so sorry that you had such a rough week!! I have read this blog only for a few weeks now, but have never commented and I feel like I should've long ago. I love you work and obviously so do a LOT of other people. It's awful that it only takes one disrespectful person to ruin that all temporarily, but just think about how awesome it is to have all these people rallying behind you :). And by not posting the link, you are a MUCH better person than that other girl!

Eileen March 2, 2010 at 12:09 AM  

How horrible! I'm so sorry {and angry} that this happened to you! I can't believe someone would do that. I'm such a huge fan of you and up up creative!! :) ♥ xo!

Josy March 2, 2010 at 8:08 PM  

Julie, you are so talented! I'm sorry you experienced what you did (both things!) but have faith in what you do... and the people that support you!