Thursday, September 12, 2013

It hurts, but it's ok.

I canceled today's scheduled post because I wanted to talk to you guys about something. We often share our successes on our blogs with our readers. We often talk about all of the wonderful things happening and we often ignore the bad. So it's no wonder that a lot of small businesses & small blogs (myself absolutely included in this) feel like utter failures when it happens to us. 
We aren't prepared for people to hate us. We aren't prepared for people to look at our words, our products, our hearts & souls and just not get it. But it happens. And yesterday it happened to me. 
As most of you know, I run Darling Dear, the blog, Darling Dear, the shop & It's Paper Dear, the subscription box. I put my entire being into my babies. Because they're mine. However, failure (or perceived failure) is not something new to my business. I've had quite a few bumps along the way, some more painful then others. Two in particular stick out. 
Quite a few months ago, I received what can only be labeled as a "flame". A gal I had sent a box to sent me a really hateful email, that just broke my heart. But she went one step further and posted a review of my box that pulverized my heart. I could see some of the merit in her opinion but the phrasing and tone were hurtful. 
I know a lot of people talk about how one of the keys in business is take nothing personal. I call BS.
How do you not take it personally when you put so much heart, so much soul, so much of yourself into something? I'm not a robot and it hurt. 
Then yesterday, I got an email letting me know that someone had tagged my box in something. I, of course, checked it out. What I found was a negative review posted on a blog. The review itself was a bit hurtful, but again, I recognize that some people just don't get it, as the review, itself even said. But the combination of that review, and the comments left, really hurt. People called me a joke. They thought It's Paper Dear was worthless. And the things they said broke my heart. I cried. Quite a few times. 
Because you guys, nothing hurts like failure. Nothing hurts like being a joke or worthless. Even as I write this now, I have a heavy heart. This kind of thing makes you question yourself, question your business. 

 But if I ever needed proof of the amazing support of Darling Dear & It's Paper Dear readers & subscribers, I sold quite a few boxes yesterday, and more than one three-month subscription. I don't know if that had been in response to the review, or just a coincidence, but it meant the world to me. 
I also have, other then the two or three negative reviews, always had enormous praise for It's Paper Dear. People get it. People love it. People have even told me that it's the highlight of their month. 
So even as my heart is heavy with sadness, I am so blessed. This too, shall pass. And that's what I wanted to say today. 
To those who are like me, and feel alone in their failures, their struggles. You're not alone. We all have bumps, but we must always remember that even though they may hurt, it's worth it. Because we make people smile. Our blogs, our businesses are not for those who don't get it but those who do. It truly isn't about those people who said I was a failure, a joke, a mistake. It's about you, every one of my beautiful friends and readers and subscribers. You who, love what I love; rejoice in what I rejoice in; feel as I feel.
I thank you for your continued support and just know, we are in this together. We got this. 

 photo ziedarlingsign.jpg


  1. Hi Zie, this post thoroughly resonated with me as there is always someone out there that doesn't understand just how much heart and soul you pour into creating something and will say nasty things and make a mockery of you for trying. BUT, at least you are trying, you have been one of my biggest inspirations and I love reading your blog and looking at all the pretty things you create whilst wishing I had more money to buy up all the prettiness you sell. It will always hurt when you get negative reviews because you care, you care about what you do and you care about what your customers think and that's what makes you great. For the couple of trolls who seek to diminsh your sparkle there are hundreds more who revel in what you create, don't let the spite and malice of others get you down; you're doing a great job! xx

  2. Sometimes I'll go through the whole process of an illustration commission and when I send the final product I get silence. No response. After all that hard work and catering to their opinions through the whole process. It's the worst feeling even waiting for the response to the final--what if they don't like it? :( I get really scared to email them again like "... so get you get it? Is it ok?" Being a creative professional isn't easy and it especially isn't easy when your business only relies on you. We CAN'T not take it personally because our creative work is the definition of personal to us!

    It's so hard to deal with that kind of stuff, but you just need to remember the fabulous words of Ms Dita Von Teese: "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach but there's always going to be someone who hates peaches" Make yourself and the people who "get it" happy! <3

    Thanks for sharing! It helps to read that others go through the same struggles sometimes. <3

  3. I know how you feel, girl.

    Although I don't own my own shop (yet), I've encountered similar situations and unappreciative people. One example happened just a few months ago. I crafted and handmade a really special gift for a friend's birthday. As I proudly handed it over to her, she let out a chuckle and asked, "What is this??" as she dangled it in the air. I could tell immediately by her reaction that there was no appreciation from her end. That stung, it stung real bad. She didn't get it. She couldn't see how much thought, dedication, and time was put into this just for her. That right there prevented me from opening up my own shop. I know it may seem silly, and she was the only friend out of the others that reacted that way, but that feeling really stuck with me. I felt like my work wasn't "good enough" and started to question my artistic abilities.

    Don't be like me and let others prevent you from your ideas or projects. I think it's awesome that you have your own shop and a wonderful box subscription. When I saw that I remember thinking what I great idea that was! You bring so much inspiration to others, don't let the opinion of one or two people weigh you down.

  4. Wonderful post, and thank you for being so open and sharing the downside/hurts of being in business. I have been in business for 7 years this November, and I have never posted or publicly talked about the hard times, or gut wrenching difficulties I have faced at times over those 7 years. So, I think you're rather brave for doing this, and so eloquently as well.
    Business is HARD. No way around that. It IS personal. How could it not be? It's your hopes, dreams, ideas, worries, work, time, etc, and it can't feel any other way than personal. But, you have to let those few instances of negative spark you. Push through, and show the ones that love you and the ones that hate what exactly you're made of and how wonderful what you do really is.
    You got this. I have no doubts.

  5. PS, I love that quote posted above by Dita Von Teese. Just one more reason I love her.

  6. I'm really sorry to hear about this, when I first heard about 'It's Paper Dear' I fell in love with the idea, although its something I can't afford at the moment I would love to receive paper goods to my door every month! I've actually read the bad review (as well as a million good ones)and I personally feel this person might have taken the whole 'It's Paper Dear' out of context and not really read/understood what they were buying. Try not to be disheartened I know its hard when you put so much energy into the things you care about but I think its pretty easy to see that you bring so much joy/inspiration into peoples life's with 'It's Paper Dear', this blog and your shop =)


  7. this is such an open and honest post! Best of luck with your blog and business you should be proud of yourself :)

    Rowdy Fairy Blog
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  8. I hate how much people suck sometimes. I bought a three month box a while ago, and I absolutely loved it! I suppose no matter how amazing your product is (and it really is) there'll be someone that has something to say. I hope that you don't let this get in your way!
    XO Samantha

  9. i haven't seen/heard anything but amazing things about your shop + sub boxes! all of the pics i've seen are of beautifully curated paper goodies— something a book fiend like me croons over!

    i'm sorry you had to go through this. i am planning to open a handmade book shop soon and although i'm mostly filled with excitement i do sometimes wonder about the ugly side of small business owning. i'm glad you posted it though because i think it's just as important to share our failures as our successes.

    you are definitely 1000% correct when you say we do it for those that *do* get it— and that's the part i'm looking forward to. <3

  10. I read your blog and don't post usually but I think you are very gifted. I know that it is hard to put yourself and your creations out there. It takes a lot of courage. Please don't stop. there are a lot of people out there who like to use the internet to spew the hate inside them. Keep being your own quirky self and happy about it.


Hello there! And thank you for commenting. I read every comment, and they mean the world to me! But if you have a question, please leave an email for me to reach you at, if possible. Or you may find it a bit quicker to reach me directly by email ( or by twitter (@ziedarling).
Have a darling day!