Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear Anonymous Jessie

I recently had this comment anonymously left in my blog and I thought I would do this "Jessie" a favor and give a real reply. If ANY of you ever have questions about my products, please please please feel free to ask away! I stand by what I make. I have no reason to hide anything that I do.

I am so very sorry if I have given anyone the impression that I have mislead them.

On a personal note, I 110% respect the viewpoints of EVERYONE. I may not agree with them, I may not believe the same things you do, but I still respect the fact that they are YOUR choices and ideas. All I ask it that we all try to be polite and respectful. If you are going to slander a person or company, at least have the guts to not be an anon about it. I mean really, how strong are your convictions if you can't even admit they are yours?

Anonymous said...
"complete open door policy"

Regarding that, I just received my first shipment from you in the past month and noticed a card that says you are "green" and environmentally friendly but then i went to follow you on twitter. To my surprise you eat meat, which even "grassfed" cows are still the worst thing you can do for the environment. You can't be a environmentalist and a meat eater according to the UN. So I just found that a bit misleading. Maybe you are only referring to your products but it's not clear.

However, I noticed most of your soaps contain palm oil, which is horrible for the environment and locals health as well. I know how great "labels" can be to make profits but in all honesty it's not fair to mislead the consumer who may not be aware of the damage such ingredients cause.

Also as a fellow Etsy craft maker, it concerns me that you use trademark logos for your soaps which is not legal or fair. Not only to the companies that created that art but to other members who are trying to make an honest living.

Thanks for reading. Hope you consider these issues in the future.

October 22, 2011 1:02 PM

Dear Anon Jessie,
Yes, the open door policy is for real! You raised several points, so I'll do my best to address them one by one.

First - unless you're a vegetarian who is eating only vegetables you've grown yourself on a solar-powered farm, with crops fertilized by the wastes from your own animals (and thus subject to bio-contamination), you're carbon footprint is likely almost as large as any meat-eaters -- and if you like your seasonal items like oranges or avocados year-round, it might even be bigger. Yes, I know meat is a resource intensive source of nutrition, but if you're eating vegetables grown in the Big Agri US-style farming environment or even worse - US-style agricultural products grown abroad and shipped here, that's pretty resource intensive as well -- petroleum products play a huge role in everything from transportation and harvesting fuel to fertilizer and power for irrigation, and huge monoculture farms require more irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. So the issue, from an environmentalist's standpoint, about beef=bad, vegetables=good is not really so clear-cut as you put forward. From an ethical standpoint, I do believe animals should suffer as little harm as possible and there is a lot of room for improvement in this area. I would also point out though that while humans can survive on vegetables alone, we evolved to be omnivores, and while you may disagree with my choice to eat meat, I believe that doing so in moderation is responsible from a nutritional, ethical, and environmental standpoint.

Secondly - regarding palm oil. Yes, many palm oil harvesting operations have very bad direct and indirect consequences for the environment. However, in and of itself, palm oil is a great natural product that requires much less chemical- / energy-intensive processing than other types of oil, say soy for example. As a responsible environmentalist, you have to go beyond scanning headlines and do the detailed research necessary to understand the effects your choices have -- not just at a single point, but through a product's entire production, use, and disposal cycle. In this case, I purchase palm oil that is not only certified organic, but certified to have been responsibly and sustainably grown. I spend more money on these base ingredients and yet have to keep my prices competitive, so if profits were truly my driving force, I wouldn't go through this charade. I'd just buy the cheap stuff and charge the same price as my competitors and I'd be earning more money immediately.

Which makes a great transition to be able to talk about something that I believe is at the core of my business: integrity. I didn't start making soap because I wanted to make money, I started because my son needed something pure enough that his very sensitive skin wouldn't over-react to it. And I continue to make soap because it's something I have a passion for -- from the ingredients I put into the soap, to the care and attention that goes into crafting my own molds and making my soap, to how I advertise and sell it -- it all comes down to integrity. And I think, compared with many other crafters, that integrity can be seen in every single product I make. I can't tell you how many times I've been presented with a choice pitting integrity against profit -- I ALWAYS choose integrity.

Lastly, I feel I must take exception to your phrasing "to other members who are trying to make an honest living" -- I'm happy to explain my choices regarding the environmental impact of my products, after all I have links on every product page of my site which answer the questions you presented, and I still took the time to reply. But when you imply that *I* am making a dishonest living, I believe that crosses a line. However, I will tell you that you seem to be laboring under a seriously mistaken viewpoint regarding intellectual property, what exactly a trademark is, and what the concept of "fair use" provides for. None of the stuff I reference in my soap is really “trademarked” per se. People always get confused about this. There are intellectual property rights involved, but within the confines of the law, there is fair use and my products are always truthfully presented as the interpretations of a huge fan that in no way presents a threat to the rights of the owners of the intellectual property rights. I have been bullied into no longer selling some products by companies that have more time, money, and lawyers than I do, but I would not sell ANY product that was not honestly represented as what it really is and that I had the right to make.

Thank you for your comments and I hope you feel that I have given them the time and attention they deserved. My door remains open to you and anyone else who has questions and I wish you the best of luck making a living, honest or otherwise, as a crafter. I've been doing it for more than six years and have been blessed with opportunities, but I understand it can be a very difficult business for some who aren't suited to its demands.

♥ Kylee

1 comment:

Jasmine said...

Wow, you did a much better job of being polite with this troll than I would have.

Oh, dear anon Jessie, if ONLY one could see the polemic ends of each debate and just "pick" a side the way you think it can be done.

Gotta go finish my beef-fried rice now. Toodles!

~not anonymous Jasmine