How I got scammed ~$1000 in my small business

  • 1000$ I do NOT have

Hello my friend! Hope you are doing well. If you are new to my blog, I have a small business where I create and build event+wedding decor from scratch. I created this blog to share my artistic journey and personal life lessons I learn, in hopes someone can benefit a little or at least relate.

In my last post I wrote about my desire to tackle the marketing side of things, and an attempt I made was to book a booth at a wedding show, to see if I can improve my presence in my community.

I received a few bookings from the event and one of them was a custom build — a 12 foot tall arch of flowers for someone. Let’s call this person Roger. Roger came up to my booth with a photo of an arch he wants at his wedding, and asked me if I could make it. I told Roger I could definitely do something similar for him and his fiance. After the event he sent me an email:

Red flags?

So we go back and forth deciding the details and in hindsight this process, maybe there were a few indications he wasn’t a straight forward person. The first one was he was being flaky, which is normally fine! People shop around. But if you get to the point where you are going back and forth discussing heights and customized flowers, I don’t think it’s fair for this to take weeks.

I got busy and I started to just think he wasn’t being serious, I stopped prioritizing this conversation and diverted my attention to other things. He then messages me on instagram:

The second red flag was when it was time to send a deposit he send this email:

Again, nothing too concerning, it happens sometimes! I get the money and start working on the order.

this is the arch he wanted


I’m still new to this craft, so building custom orders aren’t easy. This is the first time I am building something as large as this. This was my biggest order yet! I was excited and also a little bit scared.

The calendar flips and the seasons change and eventually(after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears). I am almost done the arch.

Things turn sour…

December arrives and I email Roger, on the 9th:

He emails me 2 days later:

This is where I made a mistake! I should’ve kept a paper trail. He calls me to tell me he got an arch off Amazon and therefore he “forgot” he booked me. I asked him how that makes sense when he ordered a custom build specifically for him, it wasn’t like it was already a product on my page. I reminded him how we went back and forth over the measurements and after we were done, He sent me a $ deposit. I also reminded him that he confirmed all of these details in the invoice. He then goes on to say, he is so sorry, but not to worry he will definitely still pay me the full amount, but he doesn’t want the arch. I said if you are going to pay me I might as well bring it, even if it’s placed somewhere else. I told him he should at least see it. He agreed to that and he told me to send the photos.

I am honestly so shocked and hurt as I was really looking forward to doing this wedding. I wish it just ended here, honestly I would’ve just took my loss and moved on with life. But he was apologetic and said he was going to pay me and so it might still happen. Since he was polite over the phone and I’m still booked for the 16th I said this:

I felt like this question was really disrespectful but I let it go.

I continued to be as polite as possible, but decided to share my feelings:

I thought he would be as understanding as apologetic as he was over the phone but this is the email I got instead:

There’s so much lies here. Didn’t respond to what?

This flip really shocked me as he was soooo apologetic over the phone. Now, this is essentially taking a dig at me by saying I wasn’t a reliable source and so they thought I ran off with their money? I literally told him I’d come back on the first week of December, which I did! Granted maybe weekends don’t count so I was late by 2 days, but even then, I gave him my personal phone number and business email, wouldn’t it make more sense to call me or email me to ask where I am? Mind you, He already told me on the phone, before he saw the pictures he wasn’t going to need my work. So what is all of this talk about measurements? The only thing that was changed was the height, which was changed to be bigger.

This all felt like salt on the wound but I really wanted to remain polite:

??? When was the arch ever said to be stored outdoors? I already told him that wasn’t true. Keep in mind this chain of emails has been going on for 2 days now.

At this point, I was so upset. I felt like my politeness and willingness to cooperate was misinterpreted as docility & this is started to feel like he is trying to punk me. It doesn’t matter if you want to work with me or not but I really can’t allow people to lie about me or my work

Okay I admit the last line was a bit much. But I was so upset. I don’t even want his money, it’s just the principle of it. I would’ve accepted it if he saw the pictures first and then decided he did not want it. But in the phone call he made it clear he didn’t even really wanna see it… I essentially pushed for it (it felt weird being paid for nothing, I said why not just take it?) This, to me, is trying to manipulate the situation and I don’t appreciate stuff like that.

I guess the suing thing scared him because he went back to how he was over the phone and He ended up sending me an apology:

All in all,

I learned a lesson here: Never rely on events that didn’t happen yet. I was really counting on this money to pay off my credit card (that I used to buy the stuff) and also i revolved my entire giveaway around the photos of the bride/groom I thought I would get.

When this happened I was so heartbroken I didn’t get out of bed the whole day. I start to question if I’m good at this or if this is the right field for me. When you put in a lot of effort and overcome your fears to do something, it burns a lot when it goes left. I thought this wedding and this product I made would be “the one” that would push my content further(which is problematic within itself, maybe there is never one thing that changes your life). The rejection/failure feels like a sign this isn’t for me.

But Ive been here before, many times. The failures and experiences in my early and mid 20s have taught me what works and doesn’t work in regards to my morale, perspective, and overall mental health. Now in my late 20s, I know what to do. I know what I need to in order to get back up. I gave myself time to mourn and just feel down. I let myself stay in bed. I know it’s a bit dramatic but that’s what my heart needs. And the next day I got up and thought about my next steps.

What really saved me in regards to content was that a few weeks ago I randomly recieved a DM from a woman who invited me to her launch of her venue/studio. I went, and while I was there, she offered me a free shoot whenever I wanted with my product (as long as I tag her venue). And so I was able to quickly book it on the 16th, change the arch to more of my aesthetic, and get some photos/videos. It’s not as great as a wedding but Im sooooo grateful for that allhamdulilah. I rearranged my giveaway to revolve around something else and we just keep going.

From now on, if I am doing a custom build specifically for a client, they need to pay 50% up front. Lesson learned!


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