January 24, 2010

Even the best of intentions can go awry: beware indie artisans

Last year a bunch of indie artistsans from ArtFire and Etsy rallied together to raise money for a fellow artisan, Larry Hamm. Prizes were donated, funds were collected. Money was given from the pockets of the sellers themselves. Many did not really have the funds to donate, but our friend needed a surgery. Right?

We had a great auction, raised thousands of dollars, I think somewhere around FIVE grand. Invoices were sent out. Larry was sick, in and out of the hospital. He would come online long enough to tell us he was in the hospital and then nothing.

Pretty soon people started getting antsy. They wanted their items, and we wanted to get our donations mailed out to the winners. Emails were sent to Larry and pretty soon he just never bothered to respond.

Was he sick? Was he even okay? We had no way of knowing. But we did know he wasn't coming out of the woodwork. NICE!!!

Then, the wonderful couple who hosted the fundraising auction disappeared. Advertising was sold, money was given to them, and then they disappeared too. Hmm. Huckleberry Arts and Blockhead Radio (BHR). Very nice people, or so we thought. Friends? We thought so. But we were wrong.

Being friends with Annette of Huckleberry Arts, I agreed to a trade of $100 worth of custom made beads, and I also gave a free $35 bead, was traded for a years worth of add space.

Then they left town. Packed up for and adventure. Never to be heard from again. It's been a months of emails from various artisans, with no replies back. I waited patiently for BHR to come online again so I could see my add. Nothing.

Until one day the site came back up...under new owners. Fricking nice!!! Excuse my language, but I'm sure you understand.

I feel terrible having to write this out loud, over the Internet. But please, PLEASE! Be careful of how much you give to others. They will take advantage of you if they can. Not all of them, but the ones who will are watching, and waiting. They offered great advertising at even better prices. Only to give nothing.

My husband always says, "No one ever gives the good stuff away for free." And that's true. And in this case the old saying, "too good to be true" plays a big part.

We all wanted to help Larry. We all wanted to believe that Annette and Rod would be great friends and even better advertisers. But we were wrong.

And so I say, even the best of intentions can go awry. We tried to help a fellow artisan, and it appears we've been scammed.

So please beware, be careful. Don't offer too much. We think they'll be back, because we were too kind, had big hearts, and opened our pocketbooks and offered a piece of ourselves. And were taken for a ride.

No wind in the hair, no sunshine on the face, so sigh of contentment. Just a swift jab to the gut.


Kay Sommers said...

great post! i wonder if they even on the road. probably just laughing at us from their home sweet home.

JanelDudleyBeads said...

This is crazy! First time hearing about this too! Glad I did!

Thank you! J

jinx1764 said...

Damn! You know at the time I felt a little bad about not participating. I had just started my business and didn't have a lot to give but I'm a paramedic and know how bad diabetes can be. I'm sure glad my generous nature didn't overwhelm my good sense this time.

A Beaded Affair said...

So sad that people like this are out in the world. Unfortunately, they rarely get caught when it's online either.

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