WARNING: The internet can be a harsh, openly critical place. Thick skin may be required.
When you put yourself out into the world of cyber space, there are going to be those who will judge, criticize, and hate you. This is true whether you are trying to sell products, offering your personal opinions, or simply passing along information. How you are able to handle these negative reactions could be beneficial to your online reputation, if you can mange to keep your cool, maintain a positive perspective, and remain respectful of others (even the meanie-heads.)
For starters, keep a personal distance from your products when they are criticized. Always, ALWAYS try to look at things from the customer’s point-of-view. Instead of feeling hurt when craft fair browsers say your prices are too high, remind yourself that they may not know how much time you spend on each of your pieces, or that they may have no clue how much your supplies cost. Bite back the urge to make a snappy response, and take the time to educate these criticizers exactly WHY you price the way you do, and they just might end up changing their minds.
Same goes for internet remarks of the same nature. If you stumble across a group of forum commenters, marveling at how you could possibly sell anything with such “high prices,” feel free to step in, and calmly explain your pricing methods, while at the same time letting them know that you appreciate their feedback. If people feel like they are being listened to, and not argued with, they are more likely to listen to what YOU have to say as well.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: ALWAYS be respectful. You never know when some harsh words might come around and bite you in the arse.
When you see criticism of your work, it may be tempting to feel personally attacked. When someone says “I think that handmade _____ is ugly” you are thinking “they think the thing I made is ugly, so they are basically saying I’m ugly!”
No, they aren’t.
They are saying a particular item that they found online is unattractive, in their opinion. Even if they aren’t using the most respectful tone, there might even be a chance that their criticism could be of value to you. If the item in reference isn’t selling, perhaps there is merit to the negative opinion. Take a step OUT of your role as creator, and INTO the role of the customer. What are their specific criticisms of the item? How can you take them into consideration and make future items better? How awesome will you look when you step in and THANK them for their remarks, letting them know you have dutifully noted their concerns, and you plan on rectifying the issues in your future creations.
Internet criticizer: Have you seen these handmade pillows? They look like they are poop stained! Freaking GROSS, amiright!?!
You’re response: OMG, now that you mention it, the fabric I used for these really DOES look… unsanitary. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before. Thank you so much for pointing it out! I’ll definitely reconsider using this fabric in the future. No wonder those items haven’t been selling.
OR: I can kind of see what you mean, but honestly, the sales I’ve gotten from these items tell me not everyone thinks they look that bad. Or, they do, and they’re buying them as gag gifts. Either way, I appreciate the feedback!
See what happened there? In either response, the criticizer was recognized, and felt as though his or her complaints were HEARD and RESPONDED to. There’s even a good chance that your positive, appreciative attitude could land you some new customers. Keep that in mind before you feel the urge to post a knee-jerk defense of whatever negative thing anyone has to say about your items.
Related post: Handling the Haters