Every small business relies on other businesses. Having a small business that deals with handcrafted work I have to rely on suppliers for everything from specialty beads to quality findings, but at an affordable price.
I am constantly visiting local craft shops, hardware stores, flea markets, and craft fairs trying to find new suppliers for my materials so that I can provide good product at competitive prices. I rely on flea markets, estate sales and yard sales for the hard to find vintage materials.
Recently I visited a new Flea Market, Wagon Wheel down in Tampa, St. Petersburg. I was thrilled to find a new bead vendor who patiently walked me through his wares to show me bright colors, hard to find stones, and strands of oddly shaped beads.
I picked up these great red beads as shown in the pile of goodies purchased that day.
It took me two weeks before I got inspired to create something with them. I paired them with re-purposed silver beads from a yard sale find and new chain.
I was thrilled with the results and shortly after posting the piece on etsy and on my Facebook page, it was reserved. The client who purchased the piece asked me to lengthen it and make matching earrings. For pictures, I wore the necklace to show her how it would look as we decided on an appropriate new length. I was wearing the necklace for just over an hour as I worked.
After finishing the pieces and finishing up my work for the day, I changed into my pajamas and saw this on the white shirt I had been wearing all day.
Those gorgeous red stone beads were DYED and they were NOT dyed well. I promptly sent a picture of my dirty shirt to my customer. Pictures can communicate a lot better than words sometimes. I did make sure to apologize along with the picture. This was incredibly embarrassing.
Thankfully the buyer had no paid for the jewelry yet and she was incredibly understanding when I explained I did not want to sell her a faulty item.
In the time I have been making jewelry I have only had beads rub color off once before. Then it was a $1 strand of navy beads purchased off a clearance rack. I kind of deserved that result. They looked a bit wonky when I bought them. I got a blue neck from that necklace.
This time I had purchased from a new vendor and I paid a fair price for what I believed to be a fair product.
I want to build a clientele who trust what I sell to them. I am so thankful I was wearing white today when I “test drove” the necklace. I would have been horrified if I had sold the piece, shipped it off and it ruined someone else’s shirt and their day as a result.
I want my clients to trust who they buy from just as I want to trust who I buy from.
Now just so you know, I plan on taking those beads back to that vendor and giving him a chance to fix the situation. Maybe he bought them from someone he trusted, too.