Here’s part of an email I just sent to a company that buys patterns from me. Yet again, my payment was not made in a timely fashion.

I sadly deal with more than one company who doesn’t start processing my payments until they are on the cusp of due, which means by the time the check is cut, signed, stuck in an envelope, mailed (usually on a Friday) and finally in my mailbox, it’s about 10 days overdue.

Imagine using this rationale with your credit card company. Right.

I don’t understand why a company would choose to build a process that essentially abuses their suppliers.

Their business is built on people like me making the things they want to sell. I’m the little gal at the end of the chain. I suppose I could short my long-arm artist, or screw over my assistant or printer to make up for it. But I’m not going to do that. I need what these people offer to the success of my business. Besides, it’s not who I am. I can do better than that.

And so can they.

Imagine an industry built on respecting each other, and making agreements that help EVERYONE rise. If we can create a $4 Billion industry out of the passion of hobbyists, surely we can create supportive and kind business practices.

Dear (person at company)

Thank you for your efforts to track this payment down. I appreciate it.

My agreement with you is for Net 30. This means that this invoice should have been paid in time for me to receive it by January 29th, not cut on February 2 and then mailed (and still not received as of today’s mail delivery on Feb 9)

What can be done to prevent this delay from happening again? I’m sure you can relate to my needing to rely on income coming when it’s supposed to, not to mention the cost of the time I have to spend chasing down payment that could be put to far better use – like making more things for our customers.

I realize a lot of companies in the quilt world have gotten by on this type of slow paying, and obviously suppliers like me are at your mercy.

But I’d like not to be. I’d like our agreement to be respected as a partnership where we both do what we say we are going to do, and we do it in a way that supports each other’s business goals, and respects what we have to offer each other.

My responsibility is that I make something that you can make money from, and that I ship it when you ask for it. And may I point out that you make DOUBLE what I make on this transaction (your profit is about $7, mine is about $3.50). Without designers making patterns for your customers, your business will eventually peter out. Yes, we will lose your sales but we still have other avenues through which to sell.

Your responsibility is to pay me in such a way that it honors our agreement and partnership. I truly don’t understand why your would create a process that essentially abuses your partners. Why would you want to?

And my hope is that you can change it.