Cool Design Site: Fabric on Demand

Fabric on Demand lets you upload your own images to their website, and then they will print your design on yards of fabric for you to buy. Buy fabric by the yard, or as small as 8" x 8", and choose from many types of fabric from cotton to fleece to spandex.

Basically it seems like the crafter/designer's dream. There are so many great items out there made with the same mass-produced fabric, this website seems like a great way to create your sewing projects with fabric options that no one else will have.

Now, this isn't something I've tried yet because A) I'm not supposed to be crafting right now (I'm still on maternity leave) and B) I don't sew very often. This would have to join the long list of crafts and ideas that I'm dying to try but don't have the time to try.

If anyone out there has used this site, or has used a similar service, it'd be cool to hear about your experience and if it's worth it.

Dealing with negative comments and feedback

One experience most online handmade sellers will probably encounter is the negative comment. Whether it be in an online forum, in your or someone else's blog, or in your online shop's feedback, there is bound to be someone that doesn't agree with your thoughts or isn't 100% satisfied with your products or service. It's impossible to please everyone. So what's the best way to handle this situation?

1. Give them the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to blog/forum comments, remember you don't know what kind of day this person is having, and sometimes typed comments can be misunderstood. Sarcasm and tone-of-voice often don't translate well.

2. Keep the high ground. If someone is being out-right bitchy, don't stoop to their level. Not only will this prevent further negativity, but remember that these comments are public and that you are running a business. Potential customers will see your positive/mature attitude and this affects your brand-image.

3. If you have a dissatisfied customer, apologize, take responsibility (if you are indeed in the wrong), try to rectify the situation, and be friendly - don't get defensive! Sure, maybe they were wrong, maybe you'll take a loss, but by keeping your cool and going out of your way to keep the customer happy, others will see this in feedback and respond well.

NOTE: this doesn't mean you have to break your shop's policies if you have them in place. If you have particular policies, and you know you did nothing wrong, refer the customer to those policies and continue to communicate! If, however, you KNOW you screwed up and are at fault, you can feel free to throw your policies right out the window and do what ever it takes to make the situation right.

In the end, all this sounds nice and lovely, but when faced with negativity, sometimes we freeze at the prospect of losing face. Simply by thinking before posting, not replying on impulse, and having a plan for unsatisfied customers, can actually help us to save face and possibly earn some new admirers in the process. I know I, myself, am more impressed by those who respond well to criticism than those who get defensive.
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