Our Break-up with Chairish
By Dirty Girls Restoration, Jan 23 2017 09:16PM
Let me start by saying, we highly discourage anyone from giving their money or time to the people behind the Chairish website.
So back in 2014 we were minding our own business, selling on different platforms and loving what we were doing. We received an email from someone who worked for Chairish (which we had never heard of) who essentially tried to "woo" us to sell on their site. She was really talking up our business, telling us all the great things Chairish could do for us. They were marketing to high end buyers and designers and seemed like they were trying to find a niche somewhere above Etsy, yet below 1stdibs. They wanted the best of the best. Wanted us to do a photo shoot (on our own dime), get 50 items listed, they would feature us, market our shop, etc....
We researched and found they had millions of dollars in backing. We didn't agree with some of their policies such as requiring the main photo be photo-shopped to remove the background. We understood they were going for a uniform look, however one of the things our customers appreciate is how we stage items with other Mid Century pieces so people get an idea of size and function. We also didn't like they charged a 20% commission (considering Etsy only takes 3% and Ebay 10%). They didn't seem to be offering anything more in terms of "service", but they were brand new, told us all sorts of things were "coming" and so we decided why not?
We did the photo shoot, got the 50 items listed. Everything that we were promised never happened....and even though we weren't really selling much on that site it wasn't hurting us either. However, there were some things that we didn't appreciate from the get go:
1) The entire business platform appeared severely flawed. Once you submitted a listing...it had to be "approved" before they would list it. Which we understand, however their "approval process" included re-writing OUR description of OUR item. That seemed very strange to us since they had never seen our items and therefore shouldn't be writing the description of them. However, every single listing....they re-wrote.
2) In the beginning there was zero way to talk to customers. If a customer needed to ask a question, we were contacted by Chairish who would then relay the answer to the customer. Later they added a "comment" section where customers could ask questions directly - however they were VERY monitored. Most of the questions were "can you send more photos?" There was/is no way to send photos. There is still no way to directly converse in any professional way with your customer. Even after you answered the customer in the comment section, Chairish would chime in with "their answer" and sometimes remove yours. Also, once a buyer purchased something....you had no idea who they were, where they were located, etc.....which leads to me our 3rd problem...
3) Someone buys something.....Chairish charges the buyer immediately - the cost of the item plus shipping, but does not pay the seller. Then the freight shipper gets notified.....a week or 2 later the shipper comes and picks up your item....so starting at that moment, the seller has no item and no payment. Meaning if Chairish were to become insolvent at that moment....the seller would be SOL. Chairish's policy is that the seller is not paid until the buyer has had 48 hours with the item. Take into account freight shipping takes 4-6 weeks. That is 4-6 weeks that YOUR money is sitting in THEIR bank account drawing interest. Multiply that by all the sellers they have and that's a whole lot of interest they are drawing on money that is not theirs. In addition, they never paid us after 48 hours. We always had to track our items ourselves and remind them to pay us.
4) Chairish seemed to refer to us as "partners". They would frequently use verbiage during conversations implying they had some sort of ownership in our business. That did not set well...
So....all of that was in our mind...but again...it wasn't hurting us, so whatever. Then came our first major issue: We were told when we signed up that they would never tell us how to price our items. 6 months in they threatened to close our account if we didn't change our pricing. They were stating we needed to price our items the exact same across the board....meaning, the price on Chairish needed to be the same as on Ebay, Etsy and our website, etc.....which is not possible. There is a bottom line you have to meet as a seller. If one platform is taking 3% and another is taking 20% you obviously will need to ask more on the 20% platform to get the same bottom dollar. Apparently that black and white thinking made no sense to Chairish. We went round and round with them on this topic. After 15-20 heated emails and several phone calls we told them to just close our account. They didn't...because they were struggling and we were their only Mid Century seller in the mid west, but they did remove all of our listings...and we didn't care.
A few months later we decided since our account was still open we should list our higher priced items on Chairish because that way we could list them across the board at the same price. In other words, we changed our business model to accommodate Chairish on our higher end pieces. We did that for maybe 6 months and then started researching....every single seller we looked at that sold on Chairish and who also sold on Ebay or Etsy ALWAYS priced their items higher on Chairish. Every....Single....Seller. In other words they were threatening some sellers but not all....so we changed our business model back to what it was in the beginning.... and Chairish said nothing to us.
No other major issues until the end of 2016 when we sold a lamp. The label they sent us had Chairish's name on OUR business address with no mention of OUR business name anywhere.
We emailed support and inquired how it was legal that Chairish put their name on our business address without mentioning or putting "c/o" our business name under the Chairish name. Chairish does not reside at our business location nor have any ownership in our business - so we thought that was a pretty valid question. The response we received from the "Director of fullfillment" was that if we didn't like their shipping methods then we should ship it ourselves (which we would LOVED to have done, however we were not allowed any communication with the buyer and were not provided with their location). We thought his response was extremely unprofessional, and there were many other issues regarding their shipping policies that I won't get into.
During this same time we also had issues with them accusing us of using "manufacturer photos". Anyone that has seen our shop knows that is impossible. Our items are 50+ years old and we obviously take all of our photos ourselves. Then they accused of us selling items from "Restoration Hardware", which is complete insanity. After that email we just sat there blinking with a blank look on our faces before responding and telling them that was a complete lie.
The next morning we hear from the Director of fullfillment again stating he has "hidden all of our listings for the moment". When we replied stating that we would formally report him for his conduct, we were told that he is closing our account because of our continual bad mouthing of Chairish......???
At this point we are at a loss for any explanation of the above. We want nothing to do with Chairish and hope that none of our customers/followers visit their website. However if you do - here's a tip: Google the shop name and/or the item you want - It will be listed lower on other sites, or better yet just buy direct from the seller. Chairish should not receive one cent for how they are treating sellers as well as buyers (read their reviews). We wish we had not wasted our time. This break-up will not be a hard one to get over.
Hello there! I would just like to tell you how much I appreciate your candor regarding dealing Chairish. I felt after over 6 months of searching for and reading solid seller reviews of Chairish and not finding many unless they were directly linked to the Chairish website via Houzz, etc. (obviously biased not to mention Chairish chiming in with their BS "oh were so sorry you feel this way" comments), I saw your post and thought it was fantastic I finally found fellow vintage sellers that shared very detailed information regarding their dealings with Chairish and so succinctly. And no one has commented so I thought thats a shame for such a great blog post, so I felt the need to comment! Hahaha
I agree with everything you have said and everything you have discussed were my exact concerns heading into beginning selling on Chairish. I have dealt antiques and vintage items mainly online, mainly on Ebay for over 20 years now so I am not new vintage e-commerce. My concerns were exactly what you have stated, holding our money until (shipping & packing money too) the buyer has had the item for 48 hours, then having to hound them for who knows how long to get said money while they make untold millions milking our money's interest in their accounts. I mean if you handle your own shipping or even say just paying for packing for larger items, that can even be thousands of dollars over a month or a period of a couple months waiting to get payment. Thats insane, I've never heard of anything like that!
No communication with buyers is even more ludicrous, thats how I sell, by developing a good rapport with my buyers, I have heard 1stdibs is the worst with spying on its sellers and buyers communications, but they are also a high end paid site where I have read comments from numerous sellers, some of the top dealers in the world that they have increased their sales a hundred fold, so I am sure for most of them that may be worth it. A 20% commission is steep enough and I would actually be perfectly fine with it if they were really driving traffic towards my items and they were selling at the prices I know from my experience & research that they should sell at. But...Chairish is now at the point where they are not only not rotating your items into circulation unless you opt to do the paid "impressions", which in my view is a scam just like Ebay's gazillion different forms of paid promotions have always been. I have only listed 18 items on Chairish starting 2 months ago as a test run. I did a search in google for one of them to see how well they showed up in search results on Chairish. I picked a Curtis Jere wall sculpture I have listed, something that should have sold within weeks, no more than a month. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Then I even went directly into Chairish own search bar, again, absolutely nothing, and I have lowered my price several times because of Chairish BS line that "if you lower it, it will show on sale pages, etc. etc." I had to try searching for my item 3 different times within Chairish itself, 3rd time's the charm, I finally found it...RIDICULOUS!
I have had 2 different so called "Buyer / Account Managers" contact me in regards to reducing pricing and buying into the impressions business. Before answered either of them I searched for both to see what their so called credentials were. I have felt as far back as 2 years ago when I first started thinking about selling on Chairish that their whole "our expert curators" will review your items and blah blah blah was BS. I was not wrong. Both of these reps have phony website pages, just a single front page, not even with any active content to look at or anything to navigate, saying they were former interior designers for big time design firms. Yeah okay, sure you are, just like their Chairish curators they don't know jack about this business or the type of merchandise their vintage dealers handle. And when I told the last one I was very disappointed thus far as I knew I could have already sold several items for what I am asking on Ebay and not take a 20% commish hit, they quickly started to disappear in the conversation, sending me one line responses or typical canned company responses. I can tell without having even sold anything yet that their customer service deserves all the negative reviews I have read.
They also edited my written descriptions which I put a great amount of time and energy into, probably more than I should but I have always done the long winded, "flowery" descriptions, its too much for most people to read in these modern days of short attention spans and lack of patience but it lets a little of my creative, poetic side get loose! Hahahaha They did not edit mine anywhere near as bad as they did yours but I was still shocked and even more shocked when they moved my pictures around and even removed several of them to make room for their own adjustments to the order of my photos. We know as sellers that we put a lot of not only time and energy but thought as well into that! I was peeved to say the least!
Your label issue with Chairish is shocking to me! I would be furious and I have sold from home all these years but I would still be steaming about that anyways! That is low class, sneaky, underhanded and unprofessional!
Anyways I could go on all night / morning but just thought since this was such a great blog post I would comment and let you know that your post is greatly appreciated!
And if you have any suggestions and general tips for other sites to sell mid to high end items on that would be great too! Hahahahaha
Sincerely David Lum...:-)
Ok, as a store owner AND Chairish seller who would you use? We are also on Etsy.
Hi Connie - We do most of our business on Ebay, Etsy and our own website. We also utilize social media.
I'm very happy I did some research on Chairish. I'm located in Atlanta and in the process of downsizing my home for retirement planning. I have several high end furniture items, mostly Marge Carson items, that I'd like to sell. If you have any recommendations as to how to market these items for sale, please let me know.
Hi Linda - In our opinion your best bet would be to utilize a high end auction house in Atlanta to get the most return. There are many things involved if you were to sell your furniture online yourself. If you try to sell to a dealer in your area you should expect to receive about 1/3 of what the dealer can get (once they deduct fees they will incur by selling). Hope that helps.
I've been selling on Chairish for a few months now (experienced online seller for over 15 years)... and have to say I agree with this post and appreciate you writing it. The 20% commission and holding my money for weeks is insane. I haven't sold any large furniture items yet, only small items. And still I have been waiting for 2-3 weeks before I'm seeing my payment. This experience makes me totally respect Ebay and Etsy.
Also, I have 55 items listed. Many in which Chairish has suggested to sell (as they will be promoting). While I get many likes, it is seriously difficult to get a sale on this website. I go weeks without a sale. Meanwhile, my items are selling on ebay (just at a lessor cost). I'm not sure if there traffic is not what they say, or what the deal is. I get emails frequently suggesting to lower my prices (because I have so many likes). . . But honestly my pricing is already as low as I can get in on there (given their 20% fee). Also, I have received some comical low ball offers on Chairish.
Honestly the experience is not great and forced me to open up my own website and promote through Instagram! I guess sometimes good things come from bad experiences. It is worth more effort to try and build up your own brand.
Thank you all!
I completely agree with what is written here.
The Chairish principles are outrageous for the seller and to buyer too!!!
1st, I really don't understand the curating system: the website is full of fake and wrong descriptions. It is obvious that there is no expert working at Chairish.
20% commission is insane and I would advise the shopper to try to reach directly the dealer via their own website, they could earn immediately 20% off.
The White gloves service is not a White Glove service. I recently sold 2 items. The 1st one was picked up 2 weeks after it has been sold, and the 2nd 3 weeks! The shipper would only call the day before and you would have to be available, otherwise, it would be delayed 1 week after! And I am not leaving in the middle of nowhere, there are 1 million people leaving in my city...
Also, the 1st item has been sold more than 1 month ago, and is apparently lost! For 10 days I am asking Chairish to find out where my item is and to resolve that situation and they were only able to tell to not worried!
It is good for them if the delivery is long. they can use and your money during that time.
I really wonder if all of that system is legal...
All is true. Im on chairish for long time, average 3 sales a month mostly furniture and lightning.
1. Chairish customer service as a seller is BAD no phone number to call only emails that getting replied by amateurs. A chairish representative of relationship ( yes sounds very good LOL) contacted me recently and stooped by very nice with a lot of promises and" I CAN HELP YOU IF YOU NEED ANY HELP" BS ,same response from her regarding any issue YOU MUST CONTACT CHAIRISH SUPPORT .
2 Payment. recent completed and payed example My item was sold mid October 2017 was delivered Mid December 2017. Today January 9 2018 i got my payment.
I have the delivery drivers cell phone numbers that works with chairish and im calling them to schedule the pick up, contacting chairish a couple of times to get the bol for the shipment.
Monitoring the delivery and make sure all is good. When delivered im contacting chairish to notified them to mark AS DELIVERED and then a gain after 48 stupid hours contact them again to release the payment. AND NOW WE WAIT. My average sale is $700 Now do the math how much money made on interest rate by and for chairish.
This procedure of selling with chairish is a NORMAL with us.
Average wait time on payment from day its sold 60 days.
Chairish taking 20% of the final sale which a lot but there is no monthly or listing fees so its should be fair enough BUT the problem starts when you are not worth the 20% because your (cahirish) operations, customer service,payment to vendors not on time.
Bottom Line, if you want to sell on chairish this is what you will go through, if you ok?! GO FOR IT . Cahirish is great idea with great vendors. A good professional shake up will make chairish great because now its run by bunch of armatures and greedy people.
Just one more thing...LOL...the buyer was in CA and I am in Fl and it was a dining table, pricy. Get this...after the long delay in transport etc, the buyer asked the shipper to just hold it in storage until the room was painted. After s%%# hit the fan on my part, Chairish released my money to me. As far as I know, the table may still not be delivered. This was in Dec.
If you choose to ship your items yourself, then you get the client's email, phone number, etc. and then you can communicate with them. I get my trays promoted so that is good. 20% is high so I just figure out how much profit I need to make, and then adjust the price accordingly. I do get paid faster these days and I try to ship asap so that they pay faster. It has been working well for me, but I guess with furniture there are more problems.