I saw hesitant though because I would be shipping to so far away. I felt assured when the owners sent me a very reasonable contract with good consignment terms and a link to their blog with frequent updated photos of the shop location, renovations, and lots of info about the town it was located in.
So I sent off my package of 28 pieces of jewelry. (earrings, necklaces, and bracelets) It arrived at the shop the end of March for their April 1st opening. When I emailed them the next month, they told me the opening was pushed back until May 1st, there was more cleaning than expected to do in the older building. I still felt confident that everything was fine. I gave it a few months, and emailed again. In June I got a very short, " No, none of your jewelry sold". In August my email to them came back with an odd reponse. " Oh, I don't know if any of your jewelry was sold, I will have to check and get back to you." Curious.
By October I was concerned that my emails were not being answered, but the Holidays were coming and I didn't want to pester them. Jan. arrives and I get a message from a fellow artisan on Etsy and Artfire. She has discovered that we both have items in this shop, Queen City Emporium. We start exchanging stories and realize we are getting the very same run-around from the owners. Then threads concerning consignment deals start popping up in the forums of Etsy and Artfire. What happened next happened very fast.
Within 3 days people were bombarding their Facebook page with questions. (The page disappeared on the 3rd day). Some created a Facebook page so everyone involved could post and keep everyone in the loop, "Etsy Sellers Unite". Some else created a database of all the sellers; with Name, Address, Email, and any other info we thought was important. Within a week we realized there was over 100 artisans with merchandise in Queen City Emporium, all with similar stories. Some people had made sales; but no check was received, some never got return emails. The amazing part was that there were so many others not affected that wanted to help!
We had offers of locals to go to the shop to retrieve our merchandise, one person contacted the local news station; we had 3-5 segments of a news crew live on the shop. (By then the doors were locked and paper covered the windows). By far the most important step this gutsy group of entrepreneurs was to contact the local police and State Attorney's Office in Missouri.
The State Attorney's office was very helpful and I am happy to report that the Facebook page; "Etsy Sellers Unite" is still up and with the help of Missouri State Attorney's artisans have been and continue to receive their merchandise back. Unfortunately, like me some have only received part of their inventory, and some was damaged, worn, and dirty.
As for the scammers; they are a mother and daughter team with about 7 different aliases, multiple websites, shops on Etsy; which are now closed down, they jumped rent at the building the shop was located, jumped rent at their apartment, and we are not sure where they are now, but can only hope the authorities can catch up to them.
So in conclusion, I was one of the lucky ones to get most of my merchandise back. I was overjoyed! So I am having a Recovery Sale of the returned items. All items that were recovered are 40% off. I will be posting on Facebook, so be watching.