7 Feb 2010

I'm on Regretsy!

Well, here at Stoat Towers I've been doing a little stoat dance of celebration every so often this afternoon because (... drum roll please... ) one of my items has appeared on Regretsy! Wow! I was just winding down after two nights of working till 05:00 when I decided to check out Regretsy for a snide snigger... only to find one of MY wands at the very top of the page... I was gobsmacked! And not only was a wand a featured item, but there were "honourable mentions" and links in the comments to a pendant, the bundles of sacred woods and the cat's whiskers! I'm tickled pink, over the moon, chuffed as punch and all those other quaint English expressions that no one else understands! :-)

For those of you who are not familiar with www.regretsy.com it's a kind of anti-Etsy. Just as Etsy is a brilliant site dedicated to all that's best in art and hand made craft with the emphasis on high quality, affordable pieces to grace your home, then Regretsy is a truly fabulous site for indulging your sarcastic, mean, say-what-everyone-else-is-thinking side by highlighting Etsy items that are shoddy, badly made, over priced, or just totally unintelligable in the build-a-heap-of-old-cardboard-boxes-and-call-it-art kind of way. As far as I can gather, the wand in question falls (mostly) into the last category because... wait for it, this is a profound statement... it's a stick! It also has an unusually long (even for me) and pretty pompous description that mentions magic, unicorns and Faeries, which seems to have hit a nerve in some Regretsians for reasons I don't understand. The only thing that slightly disappointed me was that the entire piece was built around "C'mon, it's a stick!" and I would have expected Regretsy to have come up with something original. I've been selling wands online for over four years and I generally get a message or email every two or three months saying "It's a stick" from someone who doesn't understand the concepts of my religion so I'm fairly used to it. In fact, as I've been a Witch for over 25 years now and never hidden my beliefs, I'm probably fairly used to most of the standard reactions I get from the uneducated bigots who haven't got a clue about any faith but the one they were born into. Ooops, I'm rambling off the subject again... that last remark was NOT directed at any of the Regretsians who left comments, as they were kinder than I would have expected. Actually, most of them seemed bemused rather than hostile, which seems fair enough. Some of them even seemed to know a little about the Craft, which I found encouraging. The thing that struck me as most odd after reading all the comments, was how many of the folks moved to have their say referred to me as "he".

I have often been tempted to simply write a description that says "It's a stick, buy it you bastards" but I don't think Etsy would allow it. Besides, there are times when the bullshit flows wonderfully, so I always feel it's best to go along with it. True, my better half sometimes amuses himself by calculating how much per gramme I can sell our kindling for, but I console myself by thinking that he obviously doesn't get it either.

I take my crafting and my religion very seriously, but that doesn't mean I can't laugh at myself or my life and appreciate how bizarre it all seems from the outside.

Oh, and the reason I spell it "faery" not "fairy" is quite straightforward. To me, "fairies" are those sickly sweet and horribly cute, skinny teenage girls or chubby babies with insect wings popularised by C. M. Barker. "Faeries" on the other hand, are the nature spirits who live in, look after and are part of everything in the natural world. It's simply the Gaelic spelling of the same word... I also write "gaol" instead of "jail". Neither is incorrect, just uncommon.

So am I hurt, offended, annoyed or even ever-so-slightly miffed at gaining notoriety on one of my favourite websites? Hell no!
I've always half expected something magical to appear there, but didn't dare hope it would be something of mine! I'm flattered and slightly amused that one of my items has been capable of causing quite such a stir. Regretsy rocks and I remain a loyal fan!

3 Feb 2010

To celebrate Imbolc, here's a photo I took at sunrise on the 31st of January this year, from the bottom of my garden. The days may well be getting noticeably longer, but that night the ground was white with frost and it was f-f-freezing!

OK, I really need to get this off my chest as it's been bugging me for a while now... WHY do so many buyers fail to leave feedback for the items they buy online?
Maybe they don't realise feedback is the only way for an online seller to gain a public reputation about the quality of their work and/or customer service, so they don't believe it's important. Maybe they're uneasy about condensing their buying experience into a single sentence (although on Etsy the length of each feedback comment is unlimited, so you can write pages and pages if you like or just check the positive box and not bother writing anything at all!) Or maybe they're just too idle to bother with it. Whatever the reason I find it really annoying, especially as often finding feedback left for an item is the only way I have of knowing it's arrived safely. I don't approve of sellers "blackmailing" their customers into leaving feedback by stating that they won't leave it until it's been left for them... it feels unfair NOT to give someone (good) feedback for choosing your item and paying promptly as soon as possible after the transaction. I also find it slightly worrying that the people who don't leave feedback after buying from me have as their reason the fact that maybe they can't actually think of anything NICE to say so prefer to say nothing! I tell myself that's not the case, but still I'm not quite convinced. If a buyer has a problem with something they've bought I'd much rather they told me about it (although maybe NOT in public feedback, but privately so I can do something to fix it!) In common with all the online sellers I know, I value each and every positive feedback I get... reading people's comments about the things I've made and they've bought not only makes me feel good about myself and my craft, but also leaves a lasting testament to prospective buyers about the quality of my work... and in a virtual market place where folks can't actually handle the goods this is an extremely important tool for people to get the feel of what they might be thinking of buying. Up until today, on Etsy I've been fortunate enough to have had 364 sales, but only 289 feedback comments. That 70-odd people who haven't bothered to leave feedback is a large proportion of my customers and I'd dearly love to know their reasons. I'm fully aware that there are some folks who prefer not to acknowledge their purchase of magical tools, but I've only ever had ONE customer request me not to leave feedback for them for privacy reasons, so I don't believe that's what's behind most of the "feedback neglect". Oddly, a lot of people take the time to write me a little thank-you note which of course has to remain private, saying how pleased they are with their item, but STILL don't leave public feedback!

So please, all you buyers out there, leave feedback for the items you buy. Be honest about the item in question and the entire buying experience, as your words will help to guide many others into deciding whether or not to purchase from that particular seller. But try to be kind as well and if you have a problem tell the seller FIRST and give them a chance to try and sort it out... if they don't do everything in their power to fix anything that may be their fault then they deserve all the negative feedback they get, but don't condemn them without letting them try to make amends.