Sunday, July 16, 2006

We Have Angered The Wrong Gods!

Today I was forwarded this posting on

"Last week, Christy Burton told me about a website called Retail Beef. This site was purportedly put up by a fashion designer to encourage feed back about store owners and buyers. Before you get really excited and stampede over there, there are a lot of problems with the site, so much so that I really thought long and hard before deciding to post this information. At this time, there are 83 comments reporting on the problems designers have had with specific retailers. Store names, buyers names, addresses and telephone numbers are often included. Many comments are complaints about such and such store bouncing boxes, writing bad checks and returning unsold product. Still, designers are well known to ship late or the wrong styles or whatever and there's no way to know from the comments whether the person complaining didn't do something to contribute to the problem.

There are credibility problems with the site too. The first entry of the blog is written in all capital letters. The credibility of many comments is questionable because they're written in such juvenile language. Or maybe I'm questioning the validity of the comments because in my own experience, designers tend to be more intelligent than average and express themselves well. It is transparent (to me) that most of the damning comments are from the same anonymous poster (nearly all comments are anonymous). Worse, it would appear that these few are multi-posting with complaints about the same stores repeatedly, in order to weight visitors impressions. It wouldn't surprise me if many of these comments were written by the blog author.

In summary, caveat lector because I think it'd be a tragedy to turn down a buyer who was innocent. There is no way to know if the return is really the designer's fault. Still, I can only think the comments on RetailBeef could serve as a testament to mind your sales and payments policies. In the comments, you'll find train wrecks of sales fiascos that never needed to happen.

In the event anyone wants to discuss similar matters here, I've started a topic in the forum."

On June 29th, 2006 I was contacted by Kathleen via email. She wanted to talk to me and asked me to check out her blog. I did look for a minute but did not have time to email her back.
She responded with "Kathleen Fasanella has left a new comment on your post "DESIGNERS! POST YOUR BEEF!":

I'd love to link to you but not if you can't respond. I'm getting 70,000 designers visiting my site a month and I think it'd be useful to my readers but under the circumstances (you're hiding from me and don't publish my comments) you can understand why I won't link to you.

It could not be more obvious to intelligent people that many of the comments published here appear to have been written by the same person. I think that what you have to say is sufficient. You don't need to lie, fake it or cover it up. That doesn't mean you shouldn't remain anonymous because I think you should. Just don't fake it. " END OF EMAIL

I was quite surprised and emailed her...
"hi there i actually run two other businesses in the other fashion industry and i started this pet project as a resource for my fellow designers. i have not had a chance to check out your blog give me 5 minutes...we will talk in the coming days i am just putting together tradeshows & i am in the middle of production...i try to publish the comments as fast as i you have a phone number where i can try to phone?" END OF EMAIL

I havent been able to call her and then someone forward her posting on her blog to me today.

Although Kathleen has reacted to being ignored in a very unusual manner, ( I wish buyers would react so quickly) she does make some valid points about the language of the blog. We have to remember to be professional and to discuss matters in an appropriate tone.
It is not nice to call someone "crazy" or use the "b" word when we are describing our experiences with retailers. Trust me, I know personally how frustrating things can become when you have worked so hard to create a beautifull, sellable product and your not getting paid for it, but using swear words and personnally attacking the "mental" health of these shady buyers is not cool!

I encourage everyone to remember we are all "LADIES" & "GENTLEMEN" and should not use fowl language. I do not want to start editing comments or not posting someones comments because of language. Just state the name of the store, location (extremely important since there are alot of common boutique names) and $ amounts, # of phone calls, interactions with the buyer, etc and whether it was resolved.

Hopefully Kathleen will change her mind and apologize for insulting me and accusing me of being the author of all of the "Anonymous" comments. The reason some stores appear more than once is because they are in the business of screwing people over.

I think that her blog is great and it has so much information on there, I encourage everyone to check it out! Also you can post your support of retail beef on her blog too!

Thank You For Your Support! Retail Beef


Anonymous Pretty as a Peach said...

Hey, so Kathleeen took a shot a you . I am not surpised. She has a habit of striking out for no logical reason at times. Just look at the number of people she has aliented or been extremely rude to, and you should have seen it coming. She surrounds herself with people that fall at her feet and if you, on any given day, say the wrong thing, you are singled out for a tongue lashing. You most likely present an intellectual challenge to her. Your success as a business person is also factored in. Disturbing to see.

Don't let the 70,000 hit/month stat impress you. While some are designers, most are neophytes curious about the business.

Don't be swayed by a woman who openly professes her mental illness, and don't feel as tho you have been singled out. You are in good company.
I am only surprised that she didn't ask if you had bought her book.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That email was sooo mean, pretty as a peach. I don't know either of you...but your email was so terribly mean. It was hard to read. I think the site is absolutely fantastic. And I am not a "neophyte curious about the business." Jeez, even I got a bit insulted.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous pretty as a peach said...

I think it is sooo mean to tear down and criticize this blog and not really give the author a chance to fairly explain the situation.
Accusing the author of writing multiple postings is wrong.
Questioning the credibility of the comments is wrong.
I think she is sore because she didn't think of this idea first.
She obviously likes the concept enough to "borrow" it for her site. She did a good job painting a negative picture of Retail Beef, ending her diatribe with "anyone wanting to discuss similar matters here , I've started a topic in the forum".

I can't believe you can get away with B.S like this. It was so hard to read.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got it wrong, pretty as a peach. I thought Kathleen was the author or Retail Beef. Now I understand Kathleen is the author of Fashion Incubator. I agree with you that Fashion Incubator was way way way too harsh on Retail Beef. In fact, her cricisms was petty. I agree with you.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Francine Harder said...

That was a rather nasty attack on Retail beef, I must say.
I agree that that she jealous of not thinking of this concept first.
If you could immediately assist 70,000 designers a month by forewarning them about some shady retailers, this would be a terrific addition to a blog forum.

Do keep up your terrific efforts here. This type of blog was sorely needed.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey There Miss Retail Beef, the owner:

I had chatted with you briefly when I first recieved this link and I found you to be very cool. I post alot on this site under anoymous b/c my industry history is quite vast. I have been maybe a bit tough on this site. (I like to call it honest) speaking the truth and trying to educate. These are real life experiences that have cost me (and other reps I am sure) time, money and stress working with some of these retailers and if people out there want to judge and think the truth is mean, then let them think it. It is only b/c they don't want to hear the it!I have also posted several nice comments about the good retailers out there as well. I think what you are doing is a great servicce to the industry and a forum to educate. Not only did I send this link to SEVERAL collegues, but I also forwarded it on to all of credit managers and the lines that I represent so they can periodically get on and see who is bouncing boxes, running late ect. All the lines I represent are factored, but I want collegues and everyone else to know about this site. Keep doing what your doing, and screw what everyone thinks!

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathleen has had a tendency to be an "equal opportunity offender".. she has done it with a number of (previous) posters on her don't take it personally.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equal opportunity offender? Her "review" of Retail Beef was just plain rude and ignorant. She obviously didn't gather any facts whatsoever, and proceeded to pull apart this blog.
I mean, cut this blog some slack.It had been around for what, maybe a month or so, and already is most likely benefiting designers around the world.
We could easily criticize the amateur nonsense at Kathleen's site, but God forbid that happening.
She would take anything negative towards her or her "disciples" down in a second.
Funny, not a thing had been posted at her "Retail Beef" section.
You would think some of her 70,000 designer visitors might be interested.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that I want draw any further attention to Fashion Incubator, but I just don't know what the deal is with this Kathleen person. She openly mocked ordinary people by bringing attention to photos posted at "boing boing" and this I found reprehensible.
I mean if she was something to look at, well I might understand, but she looks like the people she is mocking.
This topic post and her behaviour are puzzling.
p.s did you get an apology yet ?

7:32 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Hey Guys:
I really like this blog and think that Kathleen's reaction was on the reactive side. I post a lot on Fashion Incubator and am not a neophyte, either. It has great information and a useful community. That said, I certainly don't agree with everything that goes on there. I will encourage Kathleen to revisit Retail Beef and look at the gracious reply to her attack...lead by example, right?

Andrea Baker
A.C. Baker Apparel

2:08 PM  

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