Mystical Creations Yarns or how to fake your death unsuccessfuly.
This was by no means the first yarnie to rip off customers and to try to disappear, but thanks to Ravelry and the blog system and podcasts, it was the first fake death that gripped the fledgling online knitting community.
A bit of background: Danielle was a dyer of yarns, her color combos were beautiful, she had an etsy store and she was popular. The colors were bright, deep and fast and slowly her popularity swelled until Lime and Violet spoke about MCY in a podcast and bang WORLD DOMINATION.
It’s around this time that issues started happening, the yarns were felted, in some cases melted and the color ran. Not in every skein, but in enough that little whispers started floating around. Money was taken and then yarns not shipped.
Many reasons for the downturn in quality have been put forward for this but unless Danielle pops up we’ll never know the truth.
One theory is that it was her mother, another dyer, who was the brilliance behind MCY and when she stopped (some say she did actually die) Danielle just couldn’t do what mom did so easily. Another theory is that Danielle employed people to dye for her, people who just had no idea what to do.
This theory is backed up by people who allege that they were employed by Danielle who were piping up during the is-she-dead-stage.
Anyway, the dye jobs went to crap and packages were going missing in the post so people started asking for refunds. Some got refunds, others didn’t and eventually those who didn’t get a refund were in the majority and the whispers turned to bitching.
This was happening on the boards at Rav and Knitty, but it was on Rav that it really took off as the platform for the chat sections made it easy to people to return to their last read page, to check the identity of posters – in other words, the easy chat platform meant that Rav was the perfect forum for pulling together info about bad experiences.
And so it began, posters started sharing their experiences trying to get a refund, shared the stories of woe that they received via email.
Oh noes, Danielle was sick. Oh noes, Danielle was dying, on no she was so talented and leaving behind children.
As many a cynic pointed out a lot of the correspondence from Danielle or her ‘family’ was along the lines of she’s sick how dare you, you are a sick person for a refund for x,y,z.
Feb 08 email to a customer: Please understand that the family is doing everything that they can while Danielle is in the hospital. Due to the catastrophic effects of a debilitating illness, the company doing business as Mystical Creations Yarn has been forced to permanently shut down operation. It is with deep regret that there are no provisions in which to financially or physically process any outstanding orders in the professional manner MCY has served its customers over the past 5 years. Left is the remnants of an uninformed, devastated family making an attempt in good faith to try to fill outstanding orders with remaining inventory of equal or greater value. The family recognizes its inability to fulfill their obligations to both their customers and creditors in an accurate, timely manner and express their sincere apologies for any hardship this may have caused. Please email us and we will try our best to answer your questions or concerns. My Sister is trying her best to fill all orders and every order will be out this week of February 24, 2008. I am sure that when Danielle gets out of the hospital she will want to carry on her passion. If anyone would like to continue with her journey or send prayers, please email me and I will see that she gets them she she returns home. Dying yarn as you can see has been her passion for years and I don’t think that she will give it up if she comes out of this. Sincerely, The family Mystical Creation Yarns
Thank you ever so much for shopping with us
Mystical Creation Yarns.
That was sent to a customer in Feb 08, by March 08, she was a dying, or is that dyeing, and the family had stepped in to help.
Another email from a separate fiber artist on behalf of MCY: Here’s an update on the Mystical Creations Yarn. The owner and head dyer/painter, Danielle Glunt, has been in the hospital for the last 6 months, dying of leukemia. Naturally, without her attention, the business has gone to heck in a hand basket. Now that the end is near, her sisters, Margaret and Jean, have stepped in to try to get back orders filled and get the rest of the yarn sold and the business shut down. It’s a fire sale, and the prices are great! I hate to take advantage of other folks troubles, but the Glunts really need to part company with a TON of yarn and they really need the money. They have beautiful, high end stuff and there are great sets available.
There is also a considerable quantity of undyed stock for any of you hand dyers out there. If you don’t hand dye, Margaret is doing some dying, but be prepared to wait a couple of weeks for her to get a batch made. Their focus is really on Danielle right now. You can contact Margaret at “mysticalcreationsyarn AT yahoo DOT com”. Score yourself some gorgeous yarn and help out one of the great fiber artists.
S. T. A------, VA
That’s when ‘Margaret’ started being involved in a lot of contact with customers.
Later that month Danielle’s European agent Claudine piped up on the Rav boards, adding more fuel to the fire. Claudine was filthy, she’d been sent crap quality yarns and because of that her reputation had suffered.
According to her, Danielle was not dead nor dying, had no sister that had died (another thing floating around) but that she did have a brother that had died some years earlier.
Email: Subject: MCY YARNS We just got word that Danielle has passed away Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2008 16:53:46 +0000
I can hardly talk/write right now I am crying so hard. Mom just called from the hospital and Danielle has just passed away.
I just want to say Thank YOU to all of you that have showed your support, sent prayers, all of your kindness and just being there for us. The family is going to need it. She has left behind a loving husband and 2 loving boys.
So Danielle was now dead!
For a few days the bitching calmed down, but then the Chinese whispers started – she’d been seen by a local knitter in Walmart, she’d been seen with her hands stained by dye. She was not just alive, she was pretending to be Margaret and had set up another yarn business and dumped the MCY name.
So the googling started and soon a bright spark found a group called Visionary Yarns – which also had a telephone number. So of course the number was dialled and then the person who answered was dead or was it all a massive coincidence . . . still following?
In April a new knitter joined the Rav site, abacadabra20, who was tricked with a pm and a pixel into disclosing her IP addie. She’d already popped up in the long length MCY thread and pretty quickly two plus two looked suspiciously like a dead dyer.
Then another knitter did the same thing and sent an email to ‘Margaret’ the alleged sister of the allegedly dead Danielle and what came back was an IP addie absolutely the same as abacadabra20 who by this stage was defending Danielle and generally trolling the MCY thread.
Strangely enough when the investigations died down and some refunds started appearing abacadabra20 stopped posting. In fact she doesn’t exist any more on Rav, but of her 180 posts during her short lived stay on the boards 160-odd posts were in the one thread searching for the truth about Danielle-Margaret.
Then up popped another identity MCYYARNS . . . . Was this a zombie, was Danielle Margaret back from the dead...?
At this stage there was a waiting period of up to three weeks to get your invitation to join! One raveller when PMing Abacadabra20 pointed out that if Danielle’s family contacted Casey he would be able to push them up the queue and get them straight into the site to sort out the issues.
Strangely enough MCYYARNS appeared in less than 2 hours after the queue jumping tactic was suggested to Abacadabra20.
So MCYYARNS started setting things straight – or really just digging a bigger hole.
In the four months of active posting only a few things were learnt about MCY – they were a ‘member’ of Danielle’s family, that they were helping to alternatively run or close down the business and to make sure people got refunds.
This family representative said that four people were dyeing the yarns for Danielle and that
“She had 4 dyers that all used a lot of dye when they dyed. They did not do a very good job. This was the start of the downfall of the business. I have had many people say that they soaked the yarn in a tub of water till the dye came out. The yarn was fine after that.”
But within a few days of MCY posting an email addie for people to organise refunds, a few people who tried it started getting refunds from paypal – a few not everyone. I know knitters who tried that email, hell they tried every email, but due to not being in the US were ignored.
The refunds pointed to the fact that MCY was part of the Dead Danielle circle – but was it Danielle-Margaret-Abacadabra?
The style of posting changed for MCY, from sloppy use of capitals and punctuation to something a little bit clearer – maybe D-M-A just took awhile to get into character?
And just to confuse you more, it’s time to add another name, Zach was the person who initiated the refund – Zach being the name of Danielle’s husband, or was that former husband. . .?
In May the plot thickened as Danielle was seen alive again! She was spotted by an inhabitant of her small town, another dyer who due to her location had to do some damage control to maintain her business.
Below is her post to MCY and ‘the helper’ she is referring to is the MCYYARNS poster.
Though it looks as if this particular MCY persona has sunk back into the dungeon, I thought I would de-lurk long enough to try to help The Helper.
I thought The Helper should know that a woman claiming to be Danielle Glunt, presenting Danielle Glunt’s driver’s license with an address on Futures Road as proof of ID, was seen and overheard today depositing checks at a neighborhood branch bank. She was driving a brand new car with dealer stickers and tags still on it, I might add.
And no, Helper, I am not a defrauded customer of MCY. I am, however, a fellow resident of Edgewood, New Mexico with the misfortune to also be named Margaret. Need I mention how much your nefarious business scams have cost MY business? Including the cost of renting a post office box in Sandia Park?
So this is just my way of saying Thank you, Helper, for all you’ve done for me!”
So Danielle had definitely risen from the dead, cashed some money and bought a car and on the other hand some knitters had managed to get a refund, although mainly in the States, outside of that zilch, nada, nuffing. It seems that when posters started talking about civil and criminal action against MYC Danielle thought it best to pick out the trouble makers and refund them. Those outside the US court reach could just whistle it seemed.
A few lessons were learnt, for consumers and for dyers alike.
Getting big too quickly can be dangerous, not hiring decent staff to help keep things together (accounts, shipping etc) can also be a bad way to go.
For customers listen to the whispers, don’t rely on ebay or etsy feedback, both are easily faked (there was talk that Danielle was buying her own etsy stock to leave decent ratings to drown out bad ones).
And if you are buying from an overseas location you have basically no protection.
As for Rav, the thread about MCY was at the time one of the biggest threads the fledgling site had had, and afterwards it had been treated as the exception rather than the rule – the rule being that Rav is not customer service which is a shame that some take that to mean that you can’t talk about negative issues.
Not customer services means (at least in my view) that your first point of call is NOT rav, but rather the seller, that you talk to the seller first.
Then if you don’t get closure (or a legit funeral notice) then you have every right to bring up your experiences on Rav as you have already done your best with the company involved.
Other consumers need to know, need to be aware of faulty goods, bad shipping or inappropriate company practices or general arsehattery.
Of course, this isn't the only fake death in the fibre world. There was also Monkey Momma or Monkey Toes who died (dyed) of Lupus - yes it's always lupus.
There have also been a few other hard luck stories including a sordid one from an online yarn store holder who sellers other indie dyer's works, and then there is the Intentions Yarn Club in which Miss Violet (from the Lime and Violet podcast) has taken a heap of people for a ride, and not just in the yarn world - her inability to fullfil contracts goes back at least a decade and includes the online journaling world as well.
But these stories and a few others will be featured later, it's time to start looking at some yarn.