Okay. For any readers who aren’t aware of the issues with Emily Witcher’s past stores, named ‘Project Undefined’ and ‘Pundefined, there were problems with photo theft, unprofessional behavior, and worries on my part that the products might not be sanitary/safe for consumers, as well as concerns about quality. I noticed the photo theft originally last November, and made this post about it, and some of the actions I had found unprofessional. I also made a follow-up post a few weeks later, and a post concerning Emily’s allegations of cyber bullying and slander shortly after that.
In early February of this year, she began gearing up to reopen, this time with the name ‘Pundefined.’ A few weeks after initially starting to prepare, Emily, for whatever reason, posted over forty pictures that were not hers, of her product, or her intellectual property on the Pundefined Facebook page. I tracked down the original sources of the photos, notified the owners, and made another post showing the photos both on the Pundefined Facebook page and the original listings they came from. About ten days ago, I published my fifth, and hopefully my last, post concerning the unprofessional behavior of Ms. Witcher.
I had not intended to write anything more about Ms. Witcher or any of her stores. However, shortly after my last post, she unblocked me on Facebook and sent me a link to a status on her newest store’s page, Divine Etiquette. Below is a screenshot.
Transcription for those on mobile devices:
“I encourage everyone to visit The Honest Reviews.
I did do all of that. I lied, I stole other companies images and claimed they were my own. I bought from one company and would sell her products as my own. When Paypal disputes got to the point where I was in the negative, I couldn’t refund anyone I misled (sic). I do want to change everything I did, but I cannot change the past.
Every photo on this page is mine, if you need exif data, I will gladly give it to you. I am telling you this to start fresh, I will expose my own past, rather than having people mislead you and start rumors. You can unlike the page, and start your own, but I’m not going to stop doing what I love.
This is the only thing I have stuck with for a long time, and I really enjoy this business. You can forgive me and help me move forward, or we can backtrack and live in the past. It doesn’t change things, it was all wrong and until someone (has} proved they had changed, I wouldn’t trust them, so I don’t expect you to trust me until I can prove to you that I’m not the same any longer.
She also posted this in the comments of a thread on The Honest Reviews’ Facebook page that had my fifth post linked in the original post:
(top comment is her linking to the confession on the Divine Etiquette page)
Emily Witcher: Yep. I did all of that. I stole people’s photos (sic) and claimed them as my own. I bought from one company and claimed the products were my own. However, while I regret everything I have done, and want to refund everyone I misled (sic), I will have to wait until I have the income to do so. You can continue to expose me if you want, but I have nothing to hide anymore. I have accepted that I was a scammer, and I did a lot of people wrong, and I’m ashamed of it. I bought a new camera that’s made for professional photographers (sic) just to take my own product photos (sic), I can provide you with the EXIF data if needed. I buy my supplies from TKB Trading, but I don’t use a single color and repackage it. I try to make my own blends, even if they come out shitty to some people, I treasure them because I made them, and not someone else. I want to do the right thing and I’m moving forward. Thank you.
It’s possible she posted statuses or comments with similar statements elsewhere, these are just the two I saw.
Now, is this perfect? No. Hopefully she’s apologized privately to the people whose IP she stole. A public apology addressed to them would have been nice as well, but it’s up to them, individually, to decide when and if they forgive or trust her. Apologies to the people who are still waiting on refunds would have been nice, as well as her plan, whatever it is, for finding those people and refunding them when she can afford it. A general apology for reacting in a hostile manner to people who criticized her and perhaps an apology for the racially insensitive things she’s publicly posted would be nice. Honestly, an apology to me, for the threats, lies about my actions, and frankly disgusting message her boyfriend left on my blog would have been nice as well.
However, I understand she’s focusing on trying to come clean and be honest, and how to continue to do something she loves despite her past mistakes. I’m not going to hold the fact that she didn’t think of everything against her.
She has a new store, and both it and Divine Etiquette’s Facebook page have no images besides ones she’s taken herself. Yes, I have checked, not with her EXIF data, but with the various methods I used to track down the original listings the stolen photos came from. Her photography skills have improved quite a bit. There aren’t any swatches yet, hopefully she’ll have time to do and photograph them soon. Possibly she will work something out with another blogger or bloggers, like sending them samples for free in return for photos of swatches that she can use freely on her website and on social media sites. She’s still selling neon shadows, but at this point, so is Urban fucking Decay, and Sugarpill. At this point, all anyone can reasonably expect her to do is to what the other companies have done, and I gave her some advice on her site, after she asked. One of the things I suggested is explaining why neons aren’t considered eye safe in the US, yet are in Canada the EU, in the listings that contain neon pigments.
I’m making a post about this not only to give anyone who finds my blog posts about her a complete and accurate picture, but also to show what is the beginning of, hopefully, an indie success story, so to speak. There is no reason Divine Etiquette cannot have a thriving store in a year from now, with quality products, excellent customer service, and no issues. Emily is fully capable. My hope all along has been that she would realize her mistakes, and apologies or no, do what’s necessary to run a legitimate indie cosmetics company. As I’ve said before, the indie community needs all of those they can get. We don’t need any more problem companies scaring people away from indie altogether. And a well-documented journey of an indie company from problem status to being legitimate would be a wonderful thing to have.
I wish Emily the best, as I’ve never had a problem with her personally, and I understand people make mistakes. Admittedly, it will take a while, and some great reviews, before I would personally consider buying from her store, not just because of past experiences, but because I already have so many damned indie eye shadows it’s getting a bit ridiculous. Regardless, I hope Emily comes into her own as an indie mixer and seller over the next year or so, and we as a community can have our own success story in Divine Etiquette.