Sunday, May 19, 2013

An Open Letter to My Bashers

Hi, my name is Bethan.  You may know me by "Bethan Davies is a bitch" - yeah, I saw that post on Etsy.

Have we met?  Do we know each other?  I don't think so ... so I'm going to introduce myself as a person, not as a company.

I am a crafter - have been my whole life.  I am also a TV / Radio producer and consultant for various broadcasters.  Crafting is my passion and always has been and based on that I had a dream for a site that was community based for like minded people.  People who would help each other out, be given a platform to build on their small businesses and their crafts, and have a fun and successful time doing it.

That's when I came up with the idea of The CraftStar.  A site built for crafters, by crafters, who wanted to help people take control of their own destiny and build their businesses with less competition. Starting a new site with a major dominant player in the market is a huge risk and isn’t a walk in the park.  We worked day and night on building the first version of The CraftStar and I was so excited to launch it.  I ask you to put yourself in my shoes for a few minutes here.  You've promoted to the world your vision, you've seen it come to life in the testing stages, then you launch it and the whole thing falls apart.  Totally.  Falls.  Apart.  And there's nothing I (as I'm not a computer programmer) could do about it.  Not only did I feel (and was) misled by the people who were working for me on my dream, but I felt I personally let down a huge amount of people who were there to see my dream come to fruition.  It was awful beyond words.  Because of my profession, I am used to high pressure situations, but I had never ever faced anything like this.  I am not going to point the finger and say it was his / her fault - because at the end of the day, it was me who was cheerleading The CraftStar and it's my company.

Did I make mistakes?  Yes, most certainly.  Did I mis-speak?  Yes, most certainly.  I was so overwhelmed, exhausted, despondent ... I honestly didn't know what to do.  I did lash out and boy do I regret that. But have you ever had over 3,000 people yell at you at once?  I don't blame them for doing so ... we didn't deliver what we promised, but that's a hell of a lot to deal with.  

The first six months of The CraftStar were a mess.  We had a tech team that was leading me down the garden path, and it wasn't until I FINALLY woke up and realized this wasn't going to be fixed, that I changed teams and, I'm not exaggerating when I say this: my whole life changed.  I no longer spent every day in tears of frustration, dreading to get out of bed in the morning, so stressed out that I couldn't eat or sleep, and basically a total mess.

Me = my life.  I am a person.  I am a woman.  I am someone who has gone out and tried to create something that would help many people, and yet you're still calling me a bitch, and someone actually said "deserves to die" in a post I saw yesterday.  Really?  Honestly ... really?

Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I've ever done.  I have worked day and night.  I sleep, eat, dream The CraftStar.  I haven't had a day off in nearly two years ... in fact pretty much the only time my computer isn't on my lap is when I'm sleeping.  Or sneaking in a mojito with the girls.

So, please ... stop the hatred.  Can you not support a woman (especially in a business environment where being female is hard anyway), forgive the mistakes she has made, and understand she honestly, and truly wants the best for everyone?

Most of the nasty posts I get sent I just brush aside:  we would never waste money on buying Facebook or Twitter followers.  Someone said they have proof.  I'd love to see it.  But when I read my name in front of the word "bitch" and that I deserve to die ... this is really taking things too far.  This is bullying … would you approve of your kids talking like this?   Or worse, having your kid’s peers talking like this about your kid?

Am I a strong person?  Yes.  Do I stand up for what I believe in?  Yes.  Has this upset some people?  Yes.  But haven't you done the same at some point in your life?  And being a strong person doesn't mean you don't have feelings ... quite the opposite.  We're actually really the softies inside.

I would never call someone I didn't know names like that, spread gossip, or continue a stream of hatred based on things that happened so long ago.  Have you actually seen The CraftStar lately?  It's a completely different site than it was before we changed tech teams.  We have built it all over AGAIN from the ground up, and it's being built upon daily.  We have a GREAT community, we have a happy place.  I love The CraftStar and everyone who is part of it.  

I'd love for you to stop by, check it out and if you like what you see, join our community.  If not, no problem.  As one of my mentors describes it: some people choose chunky peanut butter, some prefer smooth.  People will choose what sites they want to be on for their own reasons… but this continued nastiness is unnecessary.  If you want to get to know me better, I'll happily talk to you on the phone or Skype or email, or whatever is best for you.  If I was the person you seem to think I am, I would never have started The CraftStar to begin with - a company with a vision to help everyone.

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