It’s something that I see on a daily basis and I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. Shops and Reps shaming small shops. You may have seen it, you may have been a part of it, you may have not wanted to get involved, but if you get anything out of reading this, I hope you understand that in most cases, it’s wrong and it should stop. We are not in high school, we aren’t the mean girls trying to make the less popular girls cry. We are all adults and we should be respectful of one another.
We are constantly participating in movements to promote kindness, love and anti-bullying, yet we are participating in things that go against all of that. It’s time to re-evaluate our actions and what type of example we are setting as parents.
BUYING WHOLESALE AND RESELLING: There are actually groups on FB dedicated to shaming shops that don’t hand make their items. There are lists and bash-fests (for lack of a better word), going on in these groups. People are urging others to unfollow, block and report these shops on IG. And while there are the few that are absolutely trying to fool their customers, cheat their customers or just be flat out shady, the majority of these small shop owners are just trying to support their family and are being attacked for no reason or for a reason that they didn’t even know was wrong. If you are familiar with retail, you understand that big chains are buying from the designer or manufacturer and selling them for more than they paid. There are small businesses that do this as well. For whatever reason, they are unable to hand make items. Maybe they don’t know how to sew, don’t have the funds to buy the machinery needed or just don’t have the time. Maybe they don’t realize that claiming something is handmade is wrong if they aren’t the one that is hand making them. Maybe no one told them. Imagine you are a Mom who can’t work because of daycare, medical or other issues or maybe you are in need of extra money and you have taken the leap to start up a business that you can run from your home. You spend hours searching for the perfect items for your shop, spend money on inventory and work hard to advertise your business. And then… out of nowhere, you are attacked. You have no idea why. Now you are struggling to make back the money you spent because people are shaming you and your shop on social media. Sounds pretty crappy when you look at it that way, doesn’t it?
DESIGN COPIERS: We all know that many t-shirt shops think that they own a saying because they put it on a shirt first. I’m not talking about the design itself and I’m not talking about trademarked sayings as that is 100% wrong and should not be done… I’m talking about a word, a popular saying, song lyrics or a movie quote that more than one person thought would look great on a shirt. They work on their design, they spend the money printing or cutting/adding vinyl and then they announce their new creation and are attacked by other small shops or reps for “copying”. These owners are then forced to defend themselves and get past the social media bullying that occurs because others assumed that they were being deceitful. What if this shop had never even seen the other design? What if they had never even heard of the shop that is accusing them? What if they are being falsely accused because no one bothered to check out the story but instead, jumped on the bashing bandwagon? And what about those that are purchasing design files on Etsy and have no clue that these may be stolen designs? Should they have asked or done a search? Sure. But most people believe that people are honest and trust that a shop on Etsy wouldn’t rip off another shop’s design. Are two shops using the same fabric and are both selling similar style pants? Does that make one a copycat? Most shops that sew their own clothing use patterns, and most are buying from the same fabric shops, so it’s possible that it’s just a coincidence. Before you attack, ask… nicely! Give them the benefit of the doubt.
DELAY IN SHIPMENT: I’m sure we have all been in a situation where an item was supposed to be shipped by a certain date and a week or two or longer have passed. I personally see multiple posts like this, badmouthing the shop in Facebook groups, to thousands of people and the first question asked is always, “Have you contacted the shop”? You would be surprised how many people answer “No, not yet, I just wanted to see if anyone else has had a similar experience with this particular shop.” Let’s think about this. Did your post just damage the credibility of a shop? Do you know what the situation is with this particular shop owner? Do they have a sick child? Did they have a death in the family? Are they moving? Are they on a family vacation? Are they going through personal issues right now that can’t be avoided? If you don’t ask, don’t assume. We are all human. We all have things in our lives that happen unexpectedly. Will there be shops that will give you every excuse in the book? Sure! But you, as the customer, should make an effort to contact that shop and get the details before you post anything about them on social media. If you have and you aren’t satisfied, then go through the steps to get your money back. If you feel like that shop is running a scam (after you have done your research), then it’s ok to warn others. Just don’t do it blindly or viciously. You could do serious damage in a situation that is already painful for them.
The next time you come across a post bashing another shop, try to look at it from all angles. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t automatically block or report that shop just because someone told you to. Think about the person on the other end of this attack. What are they going through in their life? What could happen to that shop owner as a result of this bashing? If that shop has stolen money or designs or pictures of your children, then by all means, they deserve to be spoken to (privately first), but no one deserves to be blind sided and attacked on social media. No one.
It’s ok to stick up for a small shop you love but please don’t assume anything until you have the facts. We are all so quick to judge these days and believe everything we read on social media, but the sad truth is that there are people out there that like to start drama and feed off of it. There are also people out there that are trying to bring down shops that they consider “competition”. Please remember that your actions can damage a reputation so quickly. Support one another. Give people the benefit of the doubt and remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.
Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.