i'm sure you probably know by now that i prefer silliness to seriousness, but sometimes i have to put on my big girl pants and save the laughter for later.
i don't look at my blog as my personal space to air dirty laundry, but i do feel that i have a voice here, albeit small, and there are some things that just need to be shared - like a public service announcement, if you will. last week my sale and business with a one-word name flash sale site was officially over, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth - like lemon rind marinated in trickery. to receive payment for sales, i had to confirm the payment amount, only the amount i had was significantly higher than the amount that site had calculated.
the buyers from the site explain to (potential) sellers that items are sold on their site for 4 days at a discounted rate (set by the seller), and then the site takes 20% of the retail price. the seller submits retail prices, discount percentages, and sale prices, and then verifies that the site has received the correct information. sounds simple enough, right? i thought so, too. i began to worry about potential problems as soon as the sale went live; my balancing print for example has a retail price of $21, and should have been put on sale for $17.22, only i noticed that the retail price was set at $32 and the sale, or "discounted" price, was set at $27.99. clearly that's not a sale at all seeing as how it's $6.99 higher than the retail price in my shop. so i contacted the buyer i'd been working with, but received no response. not having any control over the site, i just accepted that a mistake had been made, and hoped that the prices on the next set of prints going on sale would reflect those i'd submitted. much to my dismay, the retail and "sale" prices were incorrect; instead of the retail and sale prices i'd submitted, $16 and $13.60, respectively, the retail price was listed as $26.99 with the "discounted" price was $18.99.
when it came time for them to send payment for the orders i'd received, i wanted to be sure that i was paid my percentage for the items' selling price. after multiple emails to the site, and multiple vague responses, i was finally told, in a roundabout way, that they will raise prices as they see fit (sellers' prices be damned), and that's why they require sellers to submit and verify their prices BEFORE the sale starts. this means that in addition to them taking 20% of a seller's retail price (which is understandable and explained beforehand), they will also raise the prices and pocket the difference all without telling the seller. this, my friends, was absolutely NOT mentioned in the information provided to me, and it most likely wouldn't have been mentioned had i not demanded to know where the extra money was going after they'd raised the prices on every item in the sale. those thieves pocketed over $100 of extra, free money from my prints, meaning they came out making MORE per print than i did.
i already know how difficult it can be to make a living in the handmade marketplace, thanks to the wal-mart mentality of not wanting to pay an item's true worth, but to think that a supposed "legitimate" site is taking advantage of so many artists and designers by basically stealing from them through underhanded business tactics and not divulging important information makes me livid. my sale is over, my lesson is learned, but my point with this post is to hopefully let other handmade shop owners know the actual details of doing a sale with that site: it's thievery.
had i been informed of the site's practices in the beginning i would have simply said no thank you and forgotten about it, but not being told until after the fact, and in a roundabout way even then, makes me feel taken advantage of. i feel that by not being open and up front, that site is running an unethical business, and i don't want for any of the talented artists i know to be exploited.
because many of my readers are handmade business owners, i felt the least i could do was post this as a warning and review of my experience. while you are the only person who can know what's best for your business, i do urge you to do the math and to really think long and hard before doing a sale with them; decide whether or not you can afford to have anyone - not just this site - potentially profit more from your work than you. handmade is special, it's unique, and a little piece of you goes into every item you make; don't let yourself of your items be undervalued. the end.