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« The impact of others | Main | Mow-down »

One-time lesson

Alright, folks. I'm shoving the 'Merry' under the bed for a few minutes and borrowing my sister's ass-kicking boots. If me standing on my soapbox is going to tarnish your image me, please hit the 'back' button and step away from your monitor. This could get ugly, but I'll try to keep it a little humorous. Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, your sister will shove you down the stairs and laugh at you instead. Right?

It seems that a few misguided souls seem to think that it's okay to shed manners while playing on the 'net and that unkind behavior in online forums is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh, kids these days."

Sorry, folks. These are grown-up, adult-type people with jobs and educations and the ability to KNOW BETTER.

Remember the bully who used to throw spitballs at the girl with one pigtails shorter than the other? Well, apparently he grew up and discovered the internet. And he has friends who are just like him.

"So, why do you care, Oh Merry One?" you ask. Well, because over the last three months, I've found this problem becoming more and more common and it bothers me that this is becoming an acceptable online behavior. In the last month, thanks to Google Alerts, I've found two online communities flaming yours truly in such a caustic fashion that I wouldn't dare fart in their direction for fear of incinerating myself. It would be one thing if they had legitimate complaints against me, but these are people who have never even worked with me. These are groups of people who enjoy reenacting and place historical accuracy at a high priority.

I don't have a problem with people who enjoy historical accuracy. In fact, I have many friends who strive for the highest level of historical accuracy possible. Even *I* love making historically accurate attire (when I have free time). But I would never, in a million years, try to force my preferences on the rest of the world. If I did, the rest of the world would be wearing pink bunny slippers and eating a gallon of Flavocol every year. I don't need (or want) the rest of the world to be exactly like me, and I can't figure out why these rudely-behaving people feel the need to pee on everyone else's petunias just because the rest of the world won't think like they do.

So, you ask:

Did you do something to offend them? Nope. I simply exist, and in their eyes, that's enough.

Did you screw up an order they placed with VMS? Never once. These are not my customers.

Do they know anything about you? Nothing more than the few seconds they took to look at one or two pages of my website.

Have they ever taken the time to get to know you as a fellow human being? Not even for one second.

Why do you care what they think? If they were picking on me for my ridiculously large feet or my bad haircuts, that would be one thing. I'm pretty thick-skinned when is comes to playful ridicule. But when someone attacks my business, my source of income, my reputation (that I work damn hard to keep positive) just for their own personal amusement, I'm going to get angry, and rightfully so. What these people seem to forget is once they type in my company's name, it is indexed in search engines. When a potential new customer performs a quick Google search for my business and pulls up that horribly negative discussion in their list of links, those comments are going to unfairly tarnish my name and I will lose business as a result.

THAT is why I care.

"So ,why do they behave this way?"

Well, friend. They are doing it for personal fun and entertainment.

Yes, that's right. There's this online trend where people are encouraged to throw kindness out the window and pick the hell out of people in online public forums, unconcerned if they destroy lives, businesses, reputations of fine, upstanding people and companies - all for their own personal pleasure. They are unconcerned about the consequences of their behavior, because what's important to them is that they have an opportunity to laugh at others at someone else's expense. Enjoyable, right?

I mean, isn't is rollicking fun to spend an afternoon on the computer making fun of and causing pain to others?

The reason these folks have targeted me is because the majority of my website contains garments that are not historically accurate.

You ask, "Par-dough-nay-mwahhhhh, but didn't they have manners back in the Renaissance?"

Yes, dear readers, manners DID exist during the Renaissance, which makes these turkeys not only historically INaccurate, it makes them hypocrites.

Let's see if we can cover the basics about what I do, just so there's no more confusion and we can avoid situations like this forever:

1) I am a professional seamstress and clothing designer. To boil it down: I sew in exchange for money. I make whatever my customers pay me to make. I am not a purist. I will not try to talk my clients into buying a fancy, hand-sewn, historically accurate garment unless that is what they want me to make for them. MY CLIENTS are the boss. I am their humble servant. I am pleased to make any garment they desire and I refuse to make anyone feel apologetic for being unconcerned with historical accuracy. If it makes my customer happy, then *I* am happy.

2) The majority of my clients are brides and their wedding parties. I love all of my clients equally, however, I do play favorites sometimes. As long as you know that you, yes, YOU are my favorite, that's all that matters.

3) Despite the fact that most of my clients are brides and their wedding parties, I do not discriminate against anyone. I will sew any garment for any customer. I have a loyal list of the most amazingly joyful and friendly clients including, but not limited to drag queens, cross-dressers, prom girls, sweet 16 birthday girls, actors and actresses of all shapes and sizes, children, senior citizens and people of every age in between, reenactors, movie stars, strippers, porn stars, furries, mascots, Halloween customers, movie companies, television producers, musicians, Vegas showgirls, psychics, Trekkies, Wookiees, and a guy named Ferb.

4) In the ten years I have been in business, I have had one, ONE customer who has ordered a truly historically accurate garment. I LOVED making it for her, and LOVED the research involved. However, if I limited my business to working exclusively with people who desire historical accuracy, my babies would starve and we'd be living in a cardboard box. One order in ten years ain't gonna put white cotton undies on my fat ass forever, folks, so I gotta do whatever I need to do to keep it covered. Trust me, life would be scary if I walked around naked, so really, I do this for you.

This means I must sew what my paying customers ask me to sew. AND I LOVE WHAT I DO. Do not expect me to apologize for making clothing that is not historically accurate. This is MY JOB, and since I don't question your ability to do YOUR job, don't questions mine.

Understand this: Unless you have ordered a historically accurate garment from me and I was incapable of fulfilling your order, You don't have the right to discuss my ability or inability to create historically accurate clothing.

5) That said, my training is theatrical, which means I love to incorporate artistic expression into my designs. I am diverse. I am educated. I understand how to research and am completely capable of doing it, but because my work often is theatrical and artistic, or because my clients do not desire it, it does not mean that I am incapable of doing research or making historically accurate clothing. I can offer clothing of ANY kind to my clients and not be a complete bastard about historical accuracy. So, why are YOU being a complete bastard about it? Is it so impossible to understand that a person who runs a custom clothing business is likely going to be capable of sewing anything their customers want?

Research is available to EVERYONE. It's not exclusive to purists. One does not have to be an intellectual, elitist snob to learn how to hand sew a garment or buy historically accurate patterns. I make what people pay me to make, and since the majority of my website is filled with garments that are not historically accurate, guess what that means: It means that the majority of my customers are unconcerned with historical accuracy.

Because my clients are unconcerned with historical accuracy does not mean that I am unworthy of kindness. It does not entitle you to behave this way, nor does it justify your behavior.

If you have a personal complaint with me, email me. I want happy customers, always. Don't cower behind an anonymous online identity and attempt to ruin my reputation as a businesswoman just because YOU desire historical accuracy. I care about the happiness of my clients, and just because your number one priority is to clothe yourself only in historically accurate attire, does not mean that my clients must do the same.

Shame on you for expecting it of them. And shame on you for your online behavior. I hope this is not how you behave offline. If it is, shame on you again.

To you, the few who think that this type of behavior is acceptable: If you took the amount of time you spend online spewing hatred and unkindness and instead spent it helping an at-risk teen, or reading a book to someone confined to a nursing home, or even spent those minutes with your own child or another family member, think of the positivity you'd be spreading in this world. Just think of the wonderful, exciting things you could accomplish.

Behaving like an asshole makes people pay attention to you for a couple of minutes, and when they look back at their time spent with you they'll think, "Oh yeah, he was an asshole." Being kind to others makes people pay attention to you forever, they'll remember you fondly, and sometimes, if you're really good at it, you'll get your picture in the paper with a caption that says, "This person is super-duper nice."

Be excellent to others, people. Not just for them, but for you, too. You'll feel so much better about yourself if you simply make that shift from hostility to kindness. For real and for true.

Oh, and "K," Mark, Joe, yes, I'm addressing you: Don't be surprised if sometime, somewhere, when you least expect it, karma comes up to you and says, "SMILE, FOLKS. THIS WON'T HURT A BIT."


*Takes off ass-kicking boots, locks them away forever. Pulls the 'Merry' out from under the bed and skips away*

Now, go play with Google Alerts. It's awesome fun.

Don't let the idiots bother you at all. I have not had the chance to be a customer yet, but I plan to purchase my historically accurate tudor wedding dress with you, as well as my bridesmaids historically accurate tudor dresses with you. And you know what? I know they are going to be the highest quality dresses possible. (And historically accurate to boot!) These people feel they are so superior that they need to push their "knowledge" on other people. Well, you know what? Guess what I am going to school for? Medieval and Renaissance art history. I look at those portraits and I look at your dresses. Simply fab! Keep up the good work! :)

Poo on them, seriously. Your designs are gorgeous, and omg so affordable (I cannot express enough how much I love you for this)! I *wish* I had the money to have a 100% historically accurate gown, but ya know what? I work for a living! So forget them, and keep on doing what you are doing - we love you for it! :)

Bravo....'nuf said.

I was looking for a seamstress and found a soul mate! I'm glad someone has the kahonas to say what anyone using the internet should have to "agree to the terms and conditions" of using the internet. Abuse is abuse whether you clicked "I agree" or not. Woo hoo! Great items, by the way!

I completely agree with you. Online bashing is completely out of hand. People write things online they wouldn't dare say to someone's face. They can be very hurtful and way off base in their judgments. I've been involved in Renaissance recreation for nearly 20 years and LOVE your fashions.

And I appreciate your free spirit!

pooh on them, you are an inspiration to me and I can only hope to one day be able to take on even a fraction of what you do.

O'Retha (from Auction Costuming)
Era Originals

From the Merry One:

O'Retha, you're a doll. :-)

Dear very merry seamstress,
From the second I set eyes on the main webpage I thought I would cry. I mean because the dresses alone were beautiful, but once I clicked and went further into your website I found a very interesting page. Yes I realized you were a seamstress and in all actuality Ive been looking for one of those. Then I see your comments to everyone and I realize by a sheer click of a mouse I hit pure power. Power not only by presentation but, words. You are an artist whether it be pen, pencil, and paper oil pastels, paints whatever media you use. Clothe and thread and your imagination to make a living. Who in this world is to say you should stop to say that you have to be accurate and live and breath by a book, by a picture, by a model. Why should you when you have your mind and your hands to help you, to guide you? You go and keep on going and never let them put you down.

From the Merry One: Deborah, WOW! Thank you so much for your very, very kind words. You totally made my day. :-)

The fact that these people spend so much energy belittling others to feel good about themselves shows that they have a serious lack of sex in their lives and thus aren't worth knowing or acknowledging.

Besides, historical accuracy is very well for societies embracing anachronism, but adopting attitudes from and living in the past doesn't make you elitist, it just makes you a self-indulgent twat who needs to adapt or perish.


Yeah, don't let snobby people get you down. It seems unfair that they would expect anyone to push their customers to order historically accurate garb. Some of us can't afford it, and some of us are happy to get top-grade quality custom-made garments at an extremely good price. So what if it isn't historically accurate? We look and feel good wearing it!
You do excellent work, and I hope someday I'll be able to afford a cool and totally accurate dress, and I hope that you'll be my seamstress!

From the Merry One: Katarina, I don't want ANY of my customers to ever feel bad about not wanting to wear, or not being able to afford historically-accurate attire. It IS more expensive, absolutely, and you're right on when you say that many people simply can't afford it.

In fact, if I didn't sew, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

It's perfectly acceptable to wear anything you want at faire, especially if you're a paying customer! Nobody should be able to dictate to you what you must wear, unless they are paying you to wear it.

I will be honored to be your seamstress no matter what you wear, and I will always be so delighted to make any garment for you - whether it's historically accurate or not. You're all gorgeous as far as I am concerned. :-)

"They" - the historical fashion purists - are why I had to quit the SCA many years ago. It just became "not fun".

I love renaissance faires - which have no "rules"

If I had extra money I would buy one of your queen costumes.

I love to browse through your website.

I just want to say that your costumes are amazing. I am looking well in advance for a wedding dress and can't wait to tell my guy about your site. We love going to renfaire every year and even though I sew, even I'm not brave enough to try some of these dresses.
amazing marking this site for sure!!

From the Merry One: Thanks, Moriah! Please feel free to drop me a line with any questions you may have! :-)

Heather, there are far more GREAT reviews out there (via the internet & word-of-mouth) for you than this horrid slop that the afore-mentioned clowns have posted.

VMS's reputation is a shining one, and has absolutely no reason to be even slightly scratched by these morons. Keep being your awesome self and keep sewing that fantastic garb!

Good for you for standing up against these people. Your outfits are beautiful and the people who make those comments have too much time on their hands and a lack of empathy in their hearts.

And another thing: These guys sound like they're in the same club as my brother's in-laws, I got to listen in on as they disparaged sniffily a fellow civil war reenactor because the dovetails on his wooden boxes weren't handcut.

It was so far from anything I could even conceive of caring about that I felt like an anthropologist.

If they still have their teeth, they're not historically accurate, either.

Neither is living in your mother's basement.

Wow, where to start? I find this type of behaviour appalling and unfortunately it's not limited to the internet. I've seen an increase in the number of people displaying bad manners in general. I try to live my life by the motto "Be the change you want to see in the world" Hopefully, if enough of us try to spread kindness and remember our manners we'll change those who seem to enjoy spreading misery.

As one of Heather's transgender customers, I can honestly say she is an amazing person to work with. I hate to think these low lifes would distract anyone from giving her their business. The green Civil War dress has given me opportunities to be out and about in ways that I never before imagined. I say that's a pretty magical dress, and it's gotten quite the workout :)

Stephanie Marie, you *KNOW* I love you, doll. ;-) You're most often my favorite.

You know what you need? A combination pair of ass-kicking seven league boots, reserved just for those unenlightened Grinches!

*cracks knuckles and squares shoulders*

Let me at ' Heathers have to stick together...stupid jerks...

Anyway, you are awesome! Just ignore the a@$hats and continue to make the world more beautiful one garment at a time :)

Aww Heather you should not let these people who reek of poo smell get to you! :( BUT em!

So I guess I can't pick on the historical inaccuracies of that Red Flyer tricycle then, eh?


From the Merry One: You can, indeed, but only because it's making my ass look fat!

SAD gits! and IGNORANT(as well as ILLITERATE!!) specifically state you will make it HISTORICALLY ACCURATE if someone wants it that way!

Oops maybe I should lay off the caffeine ?!

Sorry for MY rant (and the uppercase) but people like that burn my...anatomy!

WELL SAID! Perhaps I should borrow those ass kicking boots from time to time...

Hmmm... I'm going to go ponder this.

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