Etsy Shop Reviews – Helpful or Not?

Reviews for products on Etsy and other homemade selling platforms can either make or break a home-based shop.  I have experienced wonderful reviews in the time that I have been selling on Etsy, and their selling platform has definitely increased awareness of my shop and my sales have increased tremendously over the past year.  I know that is, in part, to having 99.9% 5 star reviews from my customers.  I pride myself on creating unique quality products, excellent customer service and quick, accurate shipping.  I had a customer leave a review stating, ” I read other reviews and was hoping the picture would turn out nice, but I was just astounded to see the quality of this product. I will be telling everyone to come to you for pictures!!! And I will be getting more from you. Absolutely fabulous work.”  These kind of reviews no doubt has and will continue to give my potential customers a sense of confidence when deciding whether or not to place an order with me.

It is my belief that a shop, despite having a history of excellent reviews, can suffer from one negative review.  I can appreciate a negative review when the customer has experienced poor customer service, delayed shipping or even receiving a product that was not as described or with poor craftsmanship.  It is unfortunate, however, when a customers expectations were more than met and they still elect to leave a negative review. I have only experienced this one time.

A customer ordered one of my Rustic American Flags made from reclaimed wood.  I have sold over 60 of these flags, with out of this world reviews.  Upon receiving the flag, the customer left an awful review and even attacked my patriotism as an American.  This was his review: “Actually add color to make it look like the one they advertised it to be. Very disappointed in the turn out. An American flag should be just that, American. The blue is way off, red looks brown and the white looks like a lighter brown. Who ever made this is obviously not proud of the red, white and blue our country’s flag displays.”

I was shocked at what he had to say.  I wanted to reply immediately, however, I decided to cool down and wait a day or so to reply.  A couple of things he must have missed in the listing were displayed very plainly:

A) “The flag pictured is from a past order.  Each flag will vary slightly, as each is crafted to order and each piece of wood is unique.”

B) “Shade/distressing will vary, as each sign is made by hand and unique.”

Those two lines, to me, would immediately tell me not to expect an exact replica of the pictures in the listing.  But then I questioned myself…Could the quality have slipped during the Christmas rush?  Did the very late nights completing the myriad of orders I received during the Christmas rush affect my vision?  Luckily I Photograph each Item that I make and archive it in a folder for each customer.  I pulled up his flag and was relieved when I saw that it truly did not vary much from the picture in the listing.  In fact, it was extremely close to what is in the listing.  Here is a side by side of the picture in the listing (on the left) and the flag that I made for that customer (on the right).

American Flag Distressed

I truly cannot see how he would be so upset over this flag.  Maybe I have some bias, maybe I’ve made so many of these flags now that I cannot differentiate between them anymore.  Nevertheless, I pray that my customers can choose to believe the other 99.9% of my reviews and disregard this review that clearly was an inaccurate portrayal of the event.

For the record, this was my response to him:

I hope this message finds you well. I hate to hear that you are so disappointed in the flag that I made for you. I assure you that your flag, like all of the ones that I make, had 100% pure American heart put into it. I enjoy making these pieces immensely, as I love what I do and I love using my talent to help others express their patriotism as I do. Be sure to know that I am very proud of my country’s colors, especially since I am a product of three generations of career military excellence. This includes both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. The inspiration of these flags was drawn from a memory of the flag that my grandfather kept in his den when I was growing up. It was an old, tattered flag that traveled across Europe between 1944 and 1945. Its colors at one point when new, I’m sure, were of the beautiful bright colors that we are use to seeing today. This particular flag, however, was no longer new and had seen battles that I can’t even imagine. It’s colors were no longer so brilliant, but faded, worn and showed signs of a brutal war.

Maybe you missed in the description of the listing that “The flag pictured is from a past order. Each flag will vary slightly, as each is crafted to order and each piece of wood is unique” and “Shade/distressing will vary, as each sign is made by hand and unique”. I will assume that this is the case, because even if you expected your flag to look EXACTLY like the one pictured, I would think that such a patriotic person as you obviously are would not go on a hand-made merchandise site and bash the product nor call into question whether or not the maker is proud of the colors of the flag that their family has fought and died for over the past 100 years. This American flag is just that, American! Made by a proud American who enjoys being able to be free to make a living doing what she loves.

I am attaching a side by side shot of the flag in the listing and the flag I made for you (yes, I photograph each flag and archive those pictures with the customers who purchased it from me). Considering that the listing clearly states that each flag will be different and the shading and distressing will vary, I find it quite hard to see how it would warrant such a berating review.
I wish you the best, Patrick, in your endeavors and feel that it is unfortunate that you were so displeased with a product that was made with such love and passion.

A 100% Proud American

Thank you to all of my customers and to everyone who has supported me and my journey in this busy world.  I hope everyone is staying warm this winter and is having a very safe and happy 2016!

All the best



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