Ouch. The 'low sales performance' part got me feeling that sweaty nervous feeling you would get at school when you knew you hadn't done the homework and you'd been rumbled. However, let's not forget the little human I birthed into the world - I think it's safe to say my time was more tied up in keeping her alive than worrying about my sales performance.
The 'completing the form' section then switched up my guilt from feeling like a 'seemingly pathetic businesswoman who has poor sales and has been reminded of her failures' to a 'businesswoman who is now being asked to jumped through hoops after being insulted'.
Why does this fill me with anger?
Because for the past year NOTHS have made it increasingly difficult to be able to just list items to trial on the site. There were specific guidelines and trends to adhere to as well as strict photography rules. Generally, it made the whole process 10x longer to list one print, than, say, to list said print on Etsy and test the waters.
No testing the waters here, you must have said print in perfect listing condition before submitting it to the powers at be. (and don't get me started on the ridiculous reasons why they haven't accepted some of my products. That is another trial in itself...)
So after all this hoop jumping, and then to have received this insulting email, the spoilt brat in me was stamping their feet and wondering why the hell I should invest more of my energy into a company who didn't seem too invested in keeping my business. Business that I give back to them, no matter how meagre my scraps of commission are that they receive.
I had paid to be with this reputable company, and not only having paid an upfront fee I paid commission on each of those sales. Now, I know what I agreed to when I signed up with notonthehighstreet, and I knew the commission and the fee went back into their advertising campaigns, their support team and the networking events they run. I was totally fine with that because that made sense.
Service + Product = £££ to pay out
However, what doesn't make sense to me is to treat myself (a paying partner) like I'm a freeloader. I'm not using the site for free, I'm paying to be with them. A customer. I'm not just using up the time of paid hardworking team members and gleaning profit from the sale of my products without paying something back into it.
Look at it this way, you wouldn't be refused something that you've paid for in a shop simply because suddenly the shop decided that you just couldn't have it, for whatever reason they chose.
Imagine if, God forbid, Netflix told you that even though you're paying to use their services, they've deemed that 10 hours of usage a week is not enough and you can't use the service unless you up your Netflix binging.
Let's pray that will never happen.
I may have tweeted NOTHS in the heat of the moment, to the in justice of it all, and credit to them they arranged for someone from the company to call me to discuss the matter further.
And she was about as useful as a hat with the hole in the top.
So a week passed and then my suspension email arrived:
I thought I would feel more eager to fill in said questionnaire and restore my shop but I decided no. Why should I keep investing my money in a company who clearly doesn't seem to value my business?
Couple this with an atrocious incident of stealing a personal photo from another partner who had been suspended in order to generate PR and sales, and I decided that I had enough of complaining about them and thought it was time to make a clean break.
This was the perfect moment to start a new journey and take my business down a new and more personal route: To invest more energy into my own shop and carry on with the most supportive selling platform I've ever used, Etsy.
The past 3 years have not been lost, and I am grateful to NOTHS for the support and help I received in learning about trends, mood boards, product development and product photography.
I guess some relationships just aren't meant to last, and I wish them all the success in the next steps of their business. Truly. I'm not sure the way they're running their business is the best way to go about it, but I hope they seriously know what they're doing for the sake of the employees who maybe don't know what the experience is like on the other side of the market place; as a partner.
To all of you reading this who are considering selling with them: Do your research. This is just my own experience, and no doubt there are other partners out there who have had a totally different one.
Negotiate the fees with them. Confront them about experiences you've heard. Gauge what they're going to do for you after you've parted with your very hard earned money.
To all of you who do sell with them: I hope you can get the most out of your experience with NOTHS. I hope your business can flourish, and I hope you have better luck with them than I did.
Keep hustlin' guys ✌🏻