I was visiting the Glittersniffer Complaints Facebook page today when an exchange unfolded that had me almost literally headdesking. I'm posting it in sections, because my laptop monitor is teeny weeny and the relevant comments were a bit lower down.
It went on, and is probably still going, but I honestly didn't want to read any more. It has become infinitely clear to me that a lot of people don't actually care what goes into the things that they buy, use or even eat. Apparently, customer service is also a negligible part of buying, too!
I don't know about you, but I like to know a bit about companies that I buy from, especially online. I want to make sure that not only am I getting quality product, but that I am supporting good business practices. I dislike the idea of A) throwing my money away, or B) enabling somebody to continue ripping people off, lying to and harming people. Even if I've never had a bad reaction to a seller's products, or had bad CS, or a 'missing' parcel... I want to know about it. I want to ensure I'm encouraging good business practising with my spending habits - the only really effective way to do so, in some cases. Ignoring other people's bad experiences is short-sighted, and in my opinion, incredibly selfish.
In light of this, I wanted to write an open letter of gratitude to all of the honest, genuine, hard-working indie companies out there - more than I could name in this post, as I haven't tried them all yet.
Thankyou for observing FDA regulations, for always being upfront about your ingredients and giving options to those people who are allergic to common ingredients like talc and bismuth, or those who don't want to use beeswax and carmine.
Thankyou for knowing WHAT is in your products and WHY. Thankyou for all your research and experiments and hard work in making the best and most unique products you can.
Thankyou for wearing gloves, sterilising your instruments and packaging your products carefully.
Thankyou for shipping things on time, and for updating ALL your customers when you can't because of extenuating circumstances.
Thankyou for listening to your customers - combining orders, making new products, altering old ones, making custom listings, giving advice, changing the way you do samples.
Thankyou for taking criticism gracefully and using it to help improve your company, rather than taking it personally and reacting badly.
Thankyou for combining your creativity, vision and skill with sound business sense, ethical practises and a solid understanding of what makes good customer service.
Thankyou for replying to emails, convos, tweets and making us feel like we are important to you.
Thankyou, above all, for being trustworthy.
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I'm also going to plug the Sparkledex again. Blogging has become a vital part of the online community - no matter whether you're buying make-up, bath stuff, embroidered pencil cases or silicone phone cases. You're almost always stepping into the unknown, buying a product you've never seen in person from a complete stranger over the internet. Blogging helps take away that uncertainty, and give you a better idea of what you're getting yourself into. Unfortunately, most bloggers don't have unlimited income or time with which to blaze the trail constantly.
The Sparkledex will allow us to pool our resources when it comes to the indie MMU and B&B sphere. We can collect material, pointing the way to places where potential customers can get the information they need, to make a decision they are happy with. If you've recently reviewed a company, go add your review to their page! Or if they don't yet have a page, make one. Many hands make light work, and a full Sparkledex is a happy and useful Sparkledex (many thanks to VijiiS who edits like a boss and has made all the current Company pages look amazing).
Also I want to shout out to Frances, who runs the GlitterSniffer Complaints blog and Facebook. She is a patient, determined soul who really stood up for all of the GlitterSniffer casualties. It look like (I have my fingers very tightly crossed) that there's some real progress going on there, and that there might at least be some resolution for those who got caught in the mess, if not restitution for everyone who was affected. Please know that for every person still blindly following Lela and supporting GlitterSniffer, there are dozens more who support and sympathise with you.