I used to visit a small quilt shop at least twice a month. I’d go in because there was something I needed, or I happened to be shopping nearby and I wanted to see what was new, or because I was traveling and I needed blog material (like: check out this new quilt shop I found!).
But then something I never expected happened and it’s still hard for me to think about without a lot of anxiety.
To preface this… my thought process when writing a new blog post has always been ‘what will be interesting, funny, or helpful to my readers?’ Not: ‘how will my blog sponsors or the companies that give me fabric respond?’ Because really, you guys are the ones I write for. Not them. If their interests coincide with mine and they want to sponsor me or send me fabric, great! If not, no biggie. We can still be friends, right?
Not always, it seems.
So this past summer I wrote a blog post called ‘My 5 Best Tips for Buying Fabric Online.’ Because let’s face it - we all shop online. It’s not going anywhere. I don't think shopping online replaces shopping in person, but it’s super cool.
I wrote the post late one night and slept peacefully only to wake up to an inbox of angry emails from quilt shop owners and a phone call from the president of a certain fabric company demanding me to take it down. Yup. Wow. I was in shock, to say the least. I learned really quick how fast opinions can turn. Even after you have been supporting, promoting, and cheering on those same people for years.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I caved. My anxiety went through the roof and I took down the post - even though it was getting a lot of readers. I mean, who wouldn’t like tips for fabric shopping online??? That sounds like just the kind of article I would read too.
The last piece of electronic hate mail I received was two weeks later from a shop owner in Washington who said that because of my ‘infamous blog post’ (infamous after being up for less than a day?) she wouldn't be supporting me. And she said that I was despicable.
If we skip talking about my own personal anxiety issues and how much medication I took that week, I’d like to point out that many online fabric shops are women owned small businesses too. Why do shop owners who have a brick and mortar location deserve all the support? What about the moms, grandmas, and military wives who are supporting their families by storing and cutting bolts of fabric on their kitchen tables? Or brick and mortar shops that decide to open up an online shop too?
But I wasn’t thinking about shops when I wrote it - I was just thinking about writing something that YOU would like to read.
And, back to what I was thinking about when I first started writing this post… I haven’t set foot in a quilt shop for months. Why? Because I’m afraid that my local quilt shop owners despise me now too. I don’t think I could face being chewed out in person - it was hard enough to read in emails.
Logically, they probably never even saw the post because they were too busy running their shops to follow that crazy blogger lady who comes in now and then. But what if I am wrong?
My heart rate is elevated, my hands are clammy, and I feel the need to take medication even now as I think about it, lol!
And I cancelled my trip to Quilt Market this year too because of anxiety. I’ve always considered Quilt Market an oasis of inspiration and a place to make new friends but now I can only imagine myself attending with a big hat and dark sunglasses trying to stay incognito. That’s more stress than I can handle!
This is totally silly, right? I must be imagining a mountain out of a molehill.
I’d love to hear what you - my readers - think about all this. I’ve already heard from the shop owners. What about everyone else?