I have to interrupt my regularly scheduled fabric swooning to puzzle over a question in retail ethics.

I just got a pretty stack of Monaluna organic fabrics from a retailer that has an online shop AND an Etsy store.

New Batch of Monaluna

I LOVE the Llama Love. Who can resist those cute llamas and that bright heart?

Prior to beginning this blog post, I didn’t realize there was an online shop. I found it when I searched for a link so I could sing their praises.

New Batch of Monaluna

The Bah Bah Black Sheep from Monluna’s Free Range line makes my heart sing!

Um… no praises.  My order would have been much cheaper had I gone to their stand-alone, online shop. I’m not just talking about recouping Etsy fees; many items were 25% cheaper in the stand-alone shop.

New Batch of Monaluna

Monaluna Waffle, Gumdrops, and Birds Too

Is this just the way it goes? I consider myself a superb bargain shopper, but I really failed on this one. I do a TON of comparison shopping, but it never occurred to me compare a retailer to itself.

New Batch of Monaluna

Gumdrops and Little Bird

I’ve emailed the shop, mentioned that I noticed the difference in price, and asked if they offer a refund of the difference in this situation. I just did this, so I’m waiting to see how they respond. I’ll keep you posted…

New Batch of Monaluna

The solids compliment the Havana line really well.

In the meantime, what would you do? What’s your perspective on retailers with inconsistent prices?  Would you continue to shop with them after being burned or would you just feel like now you know where to go for the better prices?

New Batch of Monaluna

I guess I ended up doing a little swooning in there… This fabric is so cheerful that I can’t hep but feel my mood brighten!

Linking to Molli Sparkles and the rest of the Sunday Stashers.

15 Comments

  1. Molli Sparkles

    First off, the fabrics, fantastic! I appreciate all the details as well! Such interesting colour ways from the organic lines. As for the ethical question…. Hmm… I’d be interested to hear more as to whether there was a reason. E.g. Additional Etsy fees we don’t know about, different yardage cuts, etc. If exactly the same, I’d prob move on to some one else I didn’t have to worry about comparison shopping to.

  2. Erin

    Those fabrics are definitely delightful.
    I’d be really disappointed if I found I could get the same product for less from the same retailer. I’d definitely be letting them know that you have noticed the difference (it may be an oversight), asking if there is a reason (as someone said, Etsy might be charging extra fees, or something) and advising that you are going t write a grumpy blog post about them (public negative feedback is not something any small business would be thrilled about).
    As far as shopping with them goes, I think it would depend in their response. If they come back to you and say that there are additional costs with the etsy store, then I might forgive, but shop at the store store in future. If they don’t respond or respond by saying it’s your fault for not checking (or something equally unhelpful) I wouldn’t be using either of the stores again :-/
    But, no matter what the price, you needed up with lovely fabric.
    E xx

  3. Liane

    I am in love with the animal prints! The llama, birds and especially sheep are so cute! I am a knitter as well, and I have a certain fondness for fiber-producing animals. You are a very smart shopper to notice the price difference! I hope you get your refund! I also hope it was a clerical error, and not an ethical issue. Fabric retailers are usually pretty good about this stuff, but you never know. Keep us posted!

  4. Sarah Schraw

    That’s very odd! Is it an American shop?

    I am very curious how they’ll respond so be sure to update us.

    I am IN LOVE with the print that looks like little pink HSTs. And the llamas! And the birds. 🙂 Cute stuff.

    I have had some trouble with a purchase from fabric.com that I need to report on.

  5. Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs

    Some of my favorite old shops from Etsy have stand alone, as well, and I’ve made the switch; with new discoveries on Etsy, I’ll check before ordering. I have to say that (a) I like when the shop in their info at the top tells you directly that they have a stand alone (and many do because they’re prices are similar but they pocket more on their own website, so it’s in their best interest – Etsy is just another marketing tool for them), but (b) I’m not surprised at all to find higher prices on Etsy from smaller retailers considering the extra layer of costs. I’d think they’re well within the norm for a small mom and pop from a pricing policy standpoint, but knowing you’re a customer who might not otherwise come back (and who might mention their name in a future post if you’re unhappy!), I’m betting they agree to a refund or store credit this one time.

  6. Sheryl

    Fabric first: those prints are adorable. Every time I see those little llama prints I get an urge to buy them and make my best friend a cushion. (She’s a llama fan.) And the blenders are quite sweet as well.

    In terms of the shopping experience, I’d be turned off. Probably to the point that it would require a lot more than just refunding the difference, or giving you a credit for the difference, to get my business again. If they have a standalone shop I just honestly don’t understand why they’d also need to have an Etsy shop carrying the same things at higher prices. Needing to make money from your business I understand, but part of that is making customers want to come back and shop again. Given how many shops are out there, and how many of those shops have *amazing* customer service, I just don’t see any reason to give repeat business to a place that I felt didn’t treat me well the first time around.

  7. Michelle Bartholomew

    Those llamas and those sheep melt my heart. Love them so much. Great photos of everything. I’ll be interested to hear how things go with that shop. Hopefully it was just a big mistake and not super shady business practices.

  8. Kathy

    The fabrics you’ve selected are beautiful! Lovely patterns and textures! Very disappointing to hear of your experience but thanks so much for sharing as I know there are several retailers who do both Etsy and on-line web stores. At the least, I would try a polite correspondence with the shop owner asking for a rebate of the price difference.

  9. Erica

    Gorgeous fabrics; I always appreciate the Monaluna lines – I think they’re great for decor and bag projects.

    Curious situation about the Etsy vs. online shop pricing scenario. If I were a retailer and I felt both options were important, I’d find a way to even out the costs so that regardless of how customers found their way to my door(s), they would be paying the same price. I think there is onus on the shop owners to determine if having the Etsy option – and an accompanying higher price point – is worth the potential negative experience (as this could perhaps be construed) on the part of customers. I know there are a few shops out there that started on Etsy but have since made the move to a regular online shop, leaving the Etsy storefront behind.

    It will be interesting to see how this works out for you.

  10. Sarah from mila+cuatro

    The Llamas are great, I love all the fabrics you’ve blogged about here. I would never have thought to compare an Etsy shop with its own online shop – I would expect them to be the same, why wouldn’t they???

  11. Susan @TheBoredZombie.com

    Oh those llamas! Does it get anymore fantastic than that??

    I would take it one step further and say I hate pricing game always and period. Nothing annoys me anymore than when the lady at the cash register hands me my receipt and says – You save X number of dollars (usually more than my bill total). No, I didn’t. You overpriced your stuff. Since I know the stuff is overpriced to absorb coupons and crazy sales, I can’t buy it at my convenience. I would give a body part for things (from computers to cars and everything in between) to just have a price. Whatever that price may be. Oh well, it’s a pipe dream. I hope your retailer takes care of you – they really should!

  12. Kelly G

    WOW – some utterly gorgeous fabric there.
    I am totally in love with the Llama fabric. I have been trying to get my hands on some (well any) Llama/Alpaca print for a while now! We have a small mob of sheep and we have two guardian Alpacas to help “look” after them. They are both boys and my babies! LOL.

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