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Sharing an incident with you. What do you think?

I'm going to begin by 'fessing up.  I don't like to be criticized.  I don't like it, I become defensive, maybe even a bit angry.  I've learned, however, to take a few minutes and count to 100 or even as much as 1,000, depending on the criticism.  I then revisit and try to objectively find the essence in what was said and see whether it is even partly justified. Why am I sharing all this? Well...  here is an email I received yesterday.  I am removing the name for obvious reasons.  

NOW for the bad news,,,,,I purchased and talked co-workers and customers into purchasing and downloading designs a couple of months ago.  The downloads –vs – kits-worked much better as we will sometimes change a fiber or two as we stitch.
However, we were shocked at the number of fibers listed on the pieces that were no longer available.
If we are to pay for a chart, one would expect that it would be current.  I would not think it to be too much to ask that even though the chart may have been originally composed several years ago, that it could not have been updated as time went by.  That, I would feel is the responsibility of the designer. 
I am a firm believer in respect of the copyright.  I will not copy and pass out a chart to a friend, I am the first on to say, that this is the livelihood of the designer, and the designer deserves the money for each of these charts, however as the designer, there is a responsibility, that they be correct, especially in the that the fibers listed be available and current.
Please review your charts, as I feel you have lost just with in my shop probably 6-8 customers who will not re-purchase from you just due to this issue.

I'm sharing this because I want to encourage you to always let me know if you are unhappy with my products and designs.  I may count to 100 first, but I will look into what you are saying and try to fix what I can.  I will try to make things right for you and for future customers.  
As for the complaint in this specific case,  there is not one fiber company that lets me know when a thread is discontinued.  In all the years I have been designing, I have only found this out when I go to put kits together, and then either I still have the fibers in stock in my studio, which keeps me in the dark, or when my order comes in I will see a note on the invoice saying certain fibers are discontinued.  When this does happen I will look for a good replacement and update the charts. It is nearly impossible for me to go over each and every design, each fiber list, (I usually give more than one color option per design), multiple times a year. It would be much more doable to have stitchers contact me, I would look for the appropriate substitutes, make the changes and send the customer a nice clean page of supplies.   

We all know that as much as we try, we can’t seem to be perfect.  Knowing this, when I am the customer I always try to give criticism in a constructive way and give the business a chance to fix things.  It makes so much more sense and helps us all. 


Dee W  – (January 30, 2016 at 10:07 AM)  

OK, no one is perfect. And this "shop" owner is missing an opportunity to do some great customer service helping her customers find a suitable substitute. Does she carry every thread available? I'll bet not. If she was one of those shops anyway, she may be out of a color, would that also be your fault? No, she is out of line here, everyone needs to occasionally make a substitution and if you can't help your customer/friend do that, find someone who can. Nothing stays the same forever, change happens, get over it, move on. If that's an excuse, she may as well quit stitching right now. Take care,

jhm  – (January 30, 2016 at 10:22 AM)  

Perhaps a comment (in the chart)as to what to do when a stitcher finds a discontinued fiber listing in a chart.
Wonder what she would do if she bought an out of print chart and perhaps you had stopped designing or was deceased (like 50 years from now).
She really is missing the chance to recommend other threads and sell what she stocks, assuming she really is the shop owner vs an employee vs customer with influence.
If she changes "threads" on a regular basis then why is she so upset? It seems to be the perfect chance to find a substitute.


StitchingBea  – (January 31, 2016 at 6:04 AM)  

I would just add a line underneath the materials list stating that

"These fibers were available as of month / year. Please be advised that manufacturers discontinue lines without any advance notice. Should you find that a certain thread is no longer available, please feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you find an alternative."

I have bought older charts before and found that a thread (or 2) was no longer available. That's when you get with a trusted shop owner to figure out what to use instead.

LIZ  – (January 31, 2016 at 10:45 AM)  

I agree with StitchingBea. You can't be expected to keep track of every manufacturer and continuously update your patterns. That was a silly, lazy shop owner.

stitchkat  – (February 6, 2016 at 5:40 PM)  

I think this is an absolutely ridiculous complaint, especially from a shop owner! She's the one who should have known she had other options for herself and her customers. Of all people, she should have known to give the designer a chance to help remedy this situation. For goodness sake, she could have called/emailed the manufacturer/distributor of the discontinued thread to see if there is an available substitute! Just when does she think designers will release new designs, if they're constantly revising their older ones? Who does she think will be able to pay for printing the revisions? Clearly, she didn't use her own intelligence and initiative at all, preferring to bitch at you, rather than find a solution for her customers.


Blaming other people, without providing a solution will cost her and her shop dearly, if she continues in this behavior. After counting to 100, I would have emailed her back, telling her the positive actions she could have taken to resolve the problem, as opposed to the negative action she chose to take.

YOU are in no way to blame, since she gave you no chance to help! KEEP DESIGNING. That's the job we want you to do! Of course you will assist if someone calls for help - that's who you are.


Orna Willis  – (February 8, 2016 at 3:26 AM)  

Thank you all for your comments! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and support! I really warms my heart!!

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