March 3, 2007.
So..just so you all don't think I use this blog to totally brag and puff my chest about how great my company is, I thought I would write about a baaaad experience I had:
It has been three years since I had a parting of ways with one on line retailer, and it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It was the first and only email battle (well one with a really good friend, but we made up - thanks to her) I have had with my business - and I really learned my lesson.
I started working with a company in Spring of 2003, my husband actually found the channel on line and helped me start the relationship. At the time, this site came up pretty high on search engines and the name of the company "fit" with our products. The battle was winter of 2004 (see how young my kids are? It was me hand-painting in the garage):
If I am to have learned anything, looking back, I realize that when we started discussing pricing, listings, etc. the conversations did not sit well with me. Watching Oprah all these years has taught me something...I should have listened to that little voice in my head that said, "something is not quite right".
She had her own hand painted letters on the site, more prominent than other products. When you tried to purchase my letters (which I did) hers kept popping up, trying to get the customer to buy hers, hence change the sale to her letters.
And I was very strict on price increases, and charging the same across the board. She kept raising my retail prices, which I did not like. Looking back, the price increase was out of my control. But I wanted the retail prices to stay the same, and she ignored my continued requests, without explaining her position or prerogative. Emails would go unanswered.
She also tried to get me to say the products were made by her, or shipped from her warehouse. She kept asking if she could say that she made the products. She wanted me to change the ship from address, I did not like this at all....
So, after situations that kept coming up and making me uncomfortable, I sent an email asking why she continued to do these things when I asked her not to. She immediately pulled my products and said she did not want to work with me any longer, no explanation. I should have left it at that....
I replied, stating the problems we had and I did not like the way she pushed her products on customers that bought my products. She then replied with a blast about how she had to pay for advertising and she could do whatever she wanted. I replied again...it was ugly to say the least.
I let it get personal. Days after the dust settled and we were both nursing our wounds, orders continued to come in from her. One after another, before she could pull our products off her site. After shipping the last of her products out, I never heard from her again. I continue to see her products pop up in magazines once in awhile, and it makes me think about the way it ended.
I should never have gotten into an email battle, it was not worth it. And, I should have trusted my gut. Now I have strict guidelines and there is no longer a grey area when it comes to who can carry my products. I don't like to work with companies that sell there 'own' creations, just for this very reason. I believe there is a conflict of interest. As for the price increase, ah - I was green and did not understand - I should have let it slide. And, uh must I go over the whole pretending she made the products? That one still burns me up.....
After telling my husband I was going to write about this experience, he stated I should call her up and see how she's doing, and if she wants to work together again...........isn't that just like a man? They can let gigantic argument settle and then pat each other on the back and start all over. If only it were that easy. To quote my very sassy 4 1/2 year old daughter I told him, "NOT!"