Friday, March 8, 2013

How to give up an incredible opportunity and not feel bad about it...

So, I'm pretty sure that I just lost the biggest wholesale account I may ever see.  On a positive note though, that loss will help keep my moral compass pointed in a forward-facing direction.  Remember when I said that I bent over backwards to get samples to a big-boy company, and then didn't hear back from them?  Well, I actually DID hear back from them, finally, this week and it continued to get worse instead of better.  Basically they decided they wanted to carry my perfume on their website, but they lost the sample of the thing they were most interested in.  So they wanted me to send a replacement, as well as a whole boatload more stuff again for free.  After 4 days of exchanging wildly frustrating emails with their buyer, I chose to send off this gem of a self-destructive email to them this morning...

"Hi *employee whose name I shall spare in this blog*.  I apologize for any misunderstanding.  This was the first mention of the fact that I may be getting the account.  Up until this time, I was under the impression that I was shipping samples for review at meetings, and was not made aware that any decision had been made.  To be completely honest though, I don't really feel good about sending that amount of product to be photographed for your website without some sort of commitment that you're going to end up buying it.  And at this point I'm not sure I'd feel good about having this account at all. 

I sincerely hope that other small business owners are not having the same experience dealing with Urban Outfitters.  This feels like a large company trying to take advantage of the high hopes of a just-starting-out small business.  Financially, an account with Urban Outfitters would be an amazing opportunity that I may not see again.  However, some things are just not worth the money.  Feeling belittled and taken advantage of, is not the way I want to start a business relationship with anyone.  Where I'm from, businesses, large or small, are run by people.  Those people deserve to be treated with kindness, respect.    

So far I've I taken time away from my family, and hundreds of dollars worth of product off my shelves, to prepare a sample order for you.  I made sure that it got to you the very next day, so that you could have it in time for your meeting.  Only to find out that some of the products I sent went missing.  And with no apology, I was asked to send replacements for what was lost, and an additional $200 worth of product.  It was not an empty bottle of perfume, as you say, that I sent either.  It contained a generous amount of sample perfume in it, just like the solid perfumes I sent you.  If you find the hand-written note I included to you, thanking you for the opportunity and hoping that you enjoyed the perfume I sent, you may find the perfume as well. I also sent a line sheet, at your request, that went unread.  This was apparent when you sent me an email that included a photo from my line sheet, with an inquiry about wholesale cost of the item.  The wholesale and MSRP list was on the line sheet just below the photo that was copied and attached in the same email.    

This behavior shows a serious lack of attention to detail, and lack of compassion towards me as a human being.  So I hope you can see why I'm hesitant about continuing a working relationship with you.  Please either start treating me with respect, or find another supplier for your perfumes.  

I thank you with heart for the opportunity."  

I anticipate (if she even read the whole thing, which I highly doubt), that she'll be taking the later option and finding a new supplier.  But being treated like crap just for the glory of the paycheck, goes against everything I stand for as a business owner.  While I'm not a fan of throwing others under the bus, I'm even less of a fan of large companies that bully smaller ones.  So you'll notice that I left the name of the big-boy company unedited this time around.  I feel it's my duty as a business owner, and as a consumer, to let folks in on the way places do business, and let them make informed decisions as shoppers.  I can't say I'll never shop at Urban Outfitters again, and I'm probably not going to give up the cute little owl I have from there that so happily calls my coffee table home.  But should I decide to shop there again, I will now do so in the hopes that the item I'm purchasing is supporting another small business owner that had the nut to make it further through the corporate gauntlet than I did...

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Sounds like someone looking for freebies.

    1. That's what I was beginning to think as well. but I did some research, and the person I've been dealing with at the company does, in fact, work there. So if she's in it for the freebies, then hopefully the company will catch what's going on. I attempted to speak with her supervisor yesterday, but the receptionist wouldn't put me through, because I didn't know his/her name.

  2. I know you did the right thing Linds and the email was very well written. now I would send that email to as many employees of Urban Outfitter as possible hoping it would get to somebody over her head. you could put it on facebook too, even thou they remove anything that makes their company look bad they still see it. ~James

  3. P.S. I love love love your owl! Guess what... I have two similar owls and I didn't even know you had your owl. We have wonderful tastes!! ~James