copy catters...


what an insult that was a child, to call someone a copy cat! of course as you get older, and when you work in a creative field you begin to realize there are very few completely original ideas. it's impossible, and probably not even advisable. we all learn and are inspired by those who work in a similar field. as our world grows, we no longer sit in sewing circles or work in artist communities perhaps as much as we once did. our communities have expanded to an online world, where boundaries of "inspiration" and "copying" often get blurred. i know of many artists who have been frustrated to see their work appear in other online shops, made by other hands. recently, however, i have seen something much worse. i visited a local shop before christmas and immediately recognized the work of two artists i admire, ashley anna brown and stephanie congdon barnes. i asked how much the shop was selling them for and was told 9 dollars!! i knew something wasn't right, so i came home and googled it and found ashley's post. sadly, someone has purchased many items from etsy in order to copy and mass produce them. apparently there is a catalog of these items sent to stores, who knowingly or i suspect most often unknowingly, purchase them wholesale for their store.

this is such a sad occurrence, because i know how many hours go into each creation. i know how little money is actually made from these endeavors. to see a company knock them off and sell them for so little, is truly disheartening. having to compete against another handmade seller is one thing, but a large seller manufacturing your work cheaply in china isa much larger issue. i could really go on and on about this, but i just wanted to help raise awareness about this. ashley is doing a lot to try and stop this company from ripping of not only her work but others as well. i appreciate her efforts. she contacted me personally to let me know the same buyer had purchased some of my work, and i know she is doing the same for others. she has hired a lawyer to help her through this process. i really hope it works out well.

i also think it is important to keep educating everyone on the difference between buying something that is handmade, and something that looks handmade. i see the "handmade" label used everywhere these days, including large chain stores. i know that the handmade movement has grown incredibly over the last few years. it is wonderful to see true handmade artistry honored, and to see artisans hopefully making some sort of a living from it. sadly though, as it gains popularity it loses everything that makes it special... it goes from buying unique hand crafted items from the artist, to a marketing concept to sell mass produced "handmade looking" knockoffs, that are made from shoddy materials, in questionable conditions, by who knows who? i am not guilt free in this, none of us are. it makes you realize how important it is to think about what you are buying and whether it better to have more for less, or less at a better quality.

5 comments:

Kickcan and Conkers said...

How very sad this all is.

Post Grad Hair Cut said...

Thank you for posting about this. This message is so important. When something is handmade it has so much more worth and meaning than when it is manufactured in mass amounts. It's awful when it is so blatant.

Cary Walker said...

yes, you are both so right. i guess those who make handmade or support have to keep raising awareness. often people are probably not aware of the important difference.

Anonymous said...

I read your post last week and have not stopped thinking about it. I have also been a victim of "copy cats". I think the worst part was the "copier" was a co-worker who put her copied items for sale next to mine. The copied pieces were done so badly, they shouldn't have even had a price tag on them. I was always concerned that people would mistake her poorly done work for mine. I guess, if you are going to copy, at the very least-do it better, better yet, don't do it at all....

Jenn said...

thank you for bringing awareness to this issue. i have tried for years to speak out about this, as it is very close to my heart. but i have also learned a great deal too. yes, there is inspiration everywhere, i get that. i also know a lady purchased my dolls at one point and then emailed me and *told* me she was going to tear them apart to learn how to make them so she could sell them locally. this upset me so greatly, disturbed me so deeply, that i never could get over it. i have closed my shop. not only because of that instance, but i see sooooo many copiers everywhere. i have been copied again and again. blatantly. i know others who are being copied. it is hard to deal with. i totally lost all my passion for creating because it wouldn't be a few weeks/months and someone would be copying what i was making. where does it stop? i mean, if we are "inspired" by something and we go and create something "similar", isn't that copying? but that's o.k., as long as we make it our own? i don't know...it's all very confusing and hard to pin-point and draw lines over...but i just wanted to chime in here and say that i appreciate this article. bless~