Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Tale Of Two Artists

If you read my blog then you know I love jewelry.  I also love to support other artists and get something a bit different and unique in the process.  Unfortunately not all artists are created equal.  Today I am going to tell you two very different stories about artists that I have had dealings with recently.  

First I want to tell you about Andrea from Artigiano Jewel box 

I had been looking at her shop for a couple months.  Her aesthetic is amazing and her silver work is top notch, you can just tell from her pictures and the things people have said in feedback about her work.  I wanted something a little bit different than an item she offered in her shop.  (Not the ring shown above, I just snagged one of her pics and hopefully she won't be mad at me for it.  Isn't it incredible though!  I may have to have one of those in the future.)  But I was nervous about asking because I always hate to ask anyone for a custom order.  I don't really like to do those very much, and so I don't like to put that on other people.  But finally I got up the nerve and asked her if she would do it.  She was SO nice about it, and she had it done in a week!  A WEEK!!!  

So she sent it off first class mail to me and I had the tracking number and all that.  Now for some reason the post office has decided to send it on a tour of the US instead of getting it to me.  But that is not Andrea's fault.  Even so she felt bad and has been keeping on top of it, calling the post office and said that if they don't get it straightened out soon she will just make another one.  She has kept in touch every few days.  And that is what makes Andrea a rock star!

On the flip side I am going to tell you about another artist.  I am not going to say their name because that's not cool.  But I ordered a ring from them on February 16th.  It wasn't a special order, it was just what they offered in their shop.  It was supposed to take 6 weeks.  So I patiently waited.  Finally on March 28th I got an e-mail saying that they had mail problems and apologizing for not getting back to me sooner and that it would be shipped and I would get a confirmation and tracking number very soon.  

Nine days later I still hadn't heard anything.  I sent an e-mail and waited.  No reply.  Now this is an artist that I had ordered from once before a couple years ago, so when I ordered I didn't bother to check them out because I had no problem the first time.  After another three days I sent another e-mail.  Nothing.  I posted to their facebook page.  They deleted the post, along with some other people's posts who were asking where their orders were as well.  In the interim I went and looked at their Etsy shop to see if there was an announcement about a delay or anything.  Then I noticed something, their feedback wasn't 100%.  When I went to look at it, they had over 50 negative feedback notices for non shipment, wrong size or misspelled words on stamped items.  Many of them even went on to say that the wrong sizes and misspellings were never fixed or replaced, and many people had never gotten a refund after waiting months with never receiving their orders at all.

At this point I decided to call Paypal about getting a refund.  The brilliance of setting a six week delivery time is that it goes beyond the 45 day limit for a paypal refund.  Paypal did send them an e-mail in hopes of prompting them to send the ring.  But they also suggested that if I didn't get it to call my bank.  I finally did that a couple days ago.  

While the bank did get part of my money back, the problem with that was I had a little bit of money already in my paypal account that went toward the purchase.  So it didn't show up in the bank record.  That money is lost, as well as the rather large fee the bank took to get the money back.  So from all this aggravation and money spent, I have nothing to show for it.

Normally I am pretty patient with people, I am understanding, forgiving if you have a problem that arises...because that happens to all of us...and I am never vindictive.  I always feel that whatever you do will come back on you through your own karma.  However this time I am not letting this one go.  And I will tell you why.

It's not that I was out so much money that my stock portfolio is going to crash or anything...but it's the principal of the thing.  Some people won't buy from artists because they believe that whole Hollywood cliche' that we are a flaky and untrustworthy lot.  While that couldn't be farther from the truth for most of us, whenever someone does something like that it casts aspersions on our industry as a whole.  Now most artists I know, myself included, work incredibly hard and really never get paid enough for all that goes into what they do.  But those few rotten apples can ruin it for a whole bunch of us.

So I am going to go the distance on this one.  Having been an artist for so long, I know the correct agencies to call and get that ball rolling.  I cannot stand the thought that there are people out there who are being taken advantage of, and from what I read some of them don't even know how to get their money back.  People don't realize that you can go through your bank if you have to.

All in all with everything I have going on right now in my personal life with my family and my diet, I soooo did not need the frustration of having to deal with this annoying little issue.  There was no reason I should have had to either.

If you are buying from an artist on Etsy, I urge you to look at their feedback before ordering...even if you have done business with them in the past.  If you are dealing with an unfamiliar artist not on Etsy, Google them.  If they have a bad rep past one or two unhappy people it will come up.

If you are an artist and cannot meet your obligations I urge you to save your reputation and just stop taking orders until you get caught up, and please...PLEASE treat people the way you would want to be treated if you were the customer.  I am sure you would hate to spend money on something that isn't made correctly or that you never receive.  It's ok to say no to certain things, but do it in a nice way, and never say yes if you won't or can't deliver.

Now go look at Andrea's shop, because you need her jewelry...you really do! And her feedback is perfect!

Hugs, K. <3


Katy Cameron said...

To be honest, this is one of the reasons I didn't go down the route of offering to make a certain item repeatedly for the etsy market (it wasn't an art piece, but something to help photgraphers) My fear was that I would get overwhelmed with orders (and given how my work life in the day job goes, when it can go from a 37 1/2 hour working week to an 80 hour one in the blink of an eye, it potentially wouldn't take much to overwhelm me). As it happened, supply issues stopped that particular line of making, although I may return to it, but I will always only list things that I have completed, and never 'I can make you one just like this 3 weeks next Michaelmas term.' It probably means I'm not going to get rich quick from my crafting, but you know what, I'm okay with that!

That butterfly ring is fab BTW, can't wait to see what you commissioned. I loved doing silver work when I took some evening classes in jewellery making a couple of years ago, but although the teacher was desperately trying to encourage me to go further, I knew that I didn't have the facilities to do it at home, and I'd always be frustrated I could only work in college opening hours during term time evenings. I'd love to get back to it some day if I end up in a house with a garage where I can set up the torches etc though...

ArtigianoJewelBox said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about me and my shop in this post! I'm sorry to know though, that you have had such a trial with your other purchase. Customer service is so important! And I agree - if it can't be done, an honest and polite explanation is much much better than risking a disappointed customer!

Amanda said...

Its awful. Let us know how you go on. I too have had aggravation in my non bear job, its so not nice when people think they can treat you badly. Good luck.

Debora said...

Wow--thanks for the warning to always look at the feedback. I just checked my favorite sellers, and they have stellar records...now if I could only afford to buy all I love. :o) So sorry this happened to you!! So glad that ArtigianoJewelBox has been a great experience; her pieces are lovely.

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