I’m here to share with you something what we’ve been dealing with since July of 2016. Something that has been going on now for 2.5 years. Something that has ultimately led to our bankruptcy and my severe anxiety in September of 2017.
I’ve kept quiet about it and I haven’t wanted to let these people break me. I haven’t wanted to feed into the negativity – but here I am, because something needs to be said and I’m here to break the silence.
I’m writing this blog for me, for you and for those in that group. I don’t expect to change their minds because frankly, that would take a miracle. But I’m hoping that it will shed some light on this situation.
I would also like to say this: I’m so proud of us. We stayed in the town we filed bankruptcy in, I’ve held my head high and tried to build an Instagram and blog and help support my family through all of this. Most people would hide and/or move after filing bankruptcy but we’ve stuck out the unbearable and for that, I’m so proud of us. If we were truly “scam artists” as this group likes to call us, we would have ran away and hidden from the world. Yet we stood tall and took every comment, email and all the online bullying.
I’m sharing today for those of you who have gone through something similar, who might be going through this now, or who are struggling as a business owner. Online bullying isn’t okay and I hope to shed light on our story.
First I’d like to say this: It’s easy to pull faults out of someone else. It is easy to bully, to sit behind your screen and throw nasty comments and words at another human being. But it’s wrong and we will all be judged in the end for our sin. We all sin and those of you who are perfect can cast the first stone.
I think if there was one thing this entire situation has taught me is grace upon grace upon grace. Everyone deserves it.
As most of you know, we owned a business called “The Rugged Rooster Creations“. We were booked 12+ months in advance and our followers were quickly rolling in our on Instagram and Facebook and the orders seemed to keep piling in. A year into owning our business, we started to fall behind. Neither of us had any business experience whatsoever, yet we weren’t making enough to hire any help. We were still in the “start up phase” and so we just kept doing what we were doing. We would occasionally cut orders off for a few months so we could catch up, expecting to catch up. But things started piling in; maybe an order was stained not the right shade, or a client was unhappy with a finish, or maybe then needed something fixed and over time our wait times became longer and we started to become more and more behind.
We always stated that we couldn’t do refunds, but the refunds started piling in. People started to become angry. They started threatening to blast on name across social media, so we would quickly refund that client.
We specifically had this client who booked a 2000.00 order with us. At the time, we took that money to refund a different client. Yes, really really bad business, but we assumed it wouldn’t be an issue.
Well, two weeks later that client turned around and demanded a refund. We told her we couldn’t refund her and had a no refund policy, so she hired a lawyer, threw court papers at us and started a complaint group on facebook which ultimately, caused us to go bankrupt a year later.
We ended up refunding this lady pretty promptly with the promise she would take down the group and not bug us anymore. Of course, she never took down the group, yet continued to add more people into it and stir more of the pot.
From that moment forward we had people pouring in and sending us nasty emails and messages. Writing all over our social media. Messaging anyone who liked or commented on a photo about how awful we were. Telling them to demand a refund.
Before we knew it we had more refunds than orders coming in. We couldn’t pay our bills because we had no more credit left to take out loans or credit. We were using the money for our rental, home and bills to pay back clients.
That’s when it got really bad. The point when we actually had nothing left. No orders coming in, no money to pay back people. No credit. Nothing.
In August of 2017 is when we got our first death threat. We had paid the client back 50% and he demanded the remaining amount. We told him we didn’t have it and asked him if he would take our enclosed 6×12 trailer as payment which would more than cover the remaining half. He did.. but then turned around and demanded more.
The next week we sought out legal advice and a trustee. We wanted to file a consumer proposal, finish the last 34 orders in our system and close down forever. But at that point the daily harassment was so bad that we had to close down all our social media. I couldn’t even open our work email because the emails were so terrible. People swearing at us, telling us that they feel sorry for our kids, people telling us that we are awful humans that we should die, that we are the biggest scam artists, that they would ruin our life.
After consulting with our trustee, the police and a lawyer that we only met with once because we couldn’t afford to meet him again, they urged us to file bankruptcy.
I didn’t want to because we had some amazing repeat clients in our system that were part of the 34 clients. But we had no choice. We had no money. We had nothing. We didn’t even have money to buy wood, let alone, put food on our table.
I remember that the extreme stress caused me to lay in bed at nights and cry myself to sleep. I never left the house.. and I ended up taking my personal blog and my Instagram right off the web. I lived in a black hole for 3 months while we filed bankruptcy and prayed for another option to come because I didn’t want to “screw people over”.
But here’s the thing. We filed bankruptcy, but up until the day we filed, we did just over 88,000 in refunds in the 2.5 years we were in business. We tried so so so hard to finish all the orders, but the online bullying become so intense that we began to worry about our safety.
I know that “the group” will read this blog and pull apart every sentence. They will tell people I’m lying and that I’m writing a big sob story to win people over, but here’s the thing: I do not claim to be in the right. I claimed to have tried my hardest and failed. I claim to be a really crappy business owner. I claim to have just been trying to survive and keep people happy. I claim to have made promises to people and then not met those promises because we didn’t have the time or means. I claim to be in the wrong.
But guess what? These people who sit in this group on Facebook are also in the wrong. They used to pull apart our business, but now they have moved to pulling apart me as an individual. They like to group my personal blog ( White Picket Farmhouse ) into our business. THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG THAT I TALK ABOUT MY HOME AND KIDS ON. YOU WILL NOT FIND ANYTHING FOR SALE ON HERE.
When we lost our baby Nolan years ago, people claimed that we deserved It and even questioned if it was real.
So why am I posting this today?
Because I’m DONE. I’m done with the online bullying. I’m SO done.
It’s been 1.5 years since we filed bankruptcy for the very small amount we filed for. Yes, we screwed people over ( Which I felt awful about for so long ), but we’re also screwed over. We won’t be able to buy a house or have a normal life for 7 years. We will always have a stigma attached to us since we were well-known. Bankruptcy is not a walk in the park. There are so many things you cannot do while bankrupt…I never wanted this for myself or my family. I never wanted this for the few clients left in our system. But this is our lot right now and I just wish people could move on.
As of last week, this “group” became more active again. Trying to figure out our address. We’ve moved since filing bankruptcy.
Recently we had to purchase an older car from a dealer in town. The current car I was driving was so unsafe and was falling apart and we didn’t have money to buy another, so we had to finance an older car so I can drive the kids to school. It was by the grace of God that we were even approved. Anyways, the threats started up again. People messaging all over my Instagram, email, facebook and blog telling me how awful of humans we are. That we don’t deserve anything.
When did this become okay? To bully someone like this?
Over the years I’ve had so many people report this group on facebook, but Facebook has not yet taken down the group as there are no death threats or racism. I’ve talked to police officers who have gotten into the group, and tried to report the group, but again, Facebook did nothing. Sadly, the police can’t do anything until these people actually hurt us or form a plan to do so.
Facebook has automated bots that look over groups and I wish there was an actual person behind their systems. This group has ultimately ruined our life and caused us such intense stress, and put us in financial ruin. The kind of stress I would never ever bestow upon my worst enemy. Yes, not even someone who owed me money.
So why am I talking about this 1.5 years later? Because these people will not leave us alone. People trying to figure out our address, constantly sharing my instagram stories, blogs and invading our privacy. Sending horrible emails that cut to my core.. it has actually affected my self esteem. I literally have none.
I do not want you to think this is a sob story. I’m sharing this so you know how deep words can cut. How much cyber bullying can tear into a person. Maybe it will help even one of you think before you type. Think before you ruin someones life.
We live in a digital world where it is so easy to type hateful things and make yourself feel better. But guess what? These are people who are so unhappy that it delights them to rise on the pain of others. One of oddest things about this group, is that the majority of the people in this group were never even our clients. The four admins in this group were paid off before we even filed bankruptcy.
Bullying isn’t just in high school, it is everywhere. I refuse to let these people cause one more anxiety attack. I refuse to spend one more day in bed because I can’t breathe because the fear is so bad.
In writing this blog, I hope to show you and our kids that we are rising above, that we are stronger than their words. That this isn’t okay and it needs to stop. I will admit, they broke me. They broke my spirit and have caused me many nights to question my self-worth. But I’m done.
People make mistakes and I hope that when you make your next mistake, the world can show you grace and forgiveness. Because we all do and WILL make mistakes.
So go ahead, share this blog and say all the nasty things about it that you want. But I know our truth and I will not hide.
As I conclude this blog, I would like to make a few notes:
Firstly after our horrible experience owning a business, we will never own another. Second, this blog ( White Picket Farmhouse is NOT a business ) It’s a personal blog for me where I share about DIY, Home, my kids and personal matters. Third, I have over a hundred screen shots from over the years. I have names and if this group continues to harass, we will be taking matters to the next level. I have scribbled all the names out in the pictures, but if needed to, I will share on a much larger scale with names on blast.
LEAVE US ALONE. MOVE ON AND LEARN GRACE. Because I promise you, you will need it someday as everyone makes mistakes and deserves forgiveness and grace.
Edit: These people claim we scammed hundreds of people and used fake photos. I’d be happy to provide our documents to show the 34 orders that didn’t get completed – not hundreds. If you take one second to look at my photography, You’ll know I styled each shot in our home. My blog is full of thousands of photos from OUR HOME. In fact, I still have those duvet covers from the beds I styled, Brinley’s quilt from her crib etc.
They also claim we keep rebranding ourselves. We rebranded ONCE to “The Rugged Home” in 2016 and at the time we were very transparent as to why we did that on our work Facebook, Instagram and emails. It’s not something that we were hiding. We made it very public.
Third, for the LAST time. White Picket Fatmhouse isn’t affiliated with our old business. I do not sell anything and we never ever will own our own business again.
I have nothing to hide and if need be, I’ll share our bankruptcy documents and anything asked for to the world.