Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why Nobody is Copying You-

1)You used two or three common English words- Someone else named their earrings Moons Over Miami. They are copying you, right? Actually, thousands, even millions, of people have been exposed to the idea of 'Moons Over Miami'- it's a song, a movie, a TV show. Or what if someone called their earrings Ocean Dangles? They probably aren't copying you. Ocean is a very common word, and dangles is descriptive.

2)Your super secret supplier is on the internet- The truth is that suppliers want to make as much money as possible. They can't do this by selling fish hook earwires and little charms with paw prints to only you. So every day, your supplier to selling these to hundreds of people. And so everyday, at least ten people are thinking "what if I put these charms, on these earwires, with a little crystal inbetween'. These people don't even know you exist.

3)Your super secret design was in last month's copy of Bead and Button:

The truth is that there are probably very few original designs. Sooner or later, the pattern for a peyote stitch bracelet, chandelier earrings or hammered sterling silver hoops will be published somewhere that thousands of people read. In the old days, maybe this wasn't as important. If you in one state and someone else in another state make the same twist to the design they saw in a beading book, it used to be that you had no way of knowing this. You were safely on other ends of the country, never the twain to meet. But online, if I wirewrap a gemstone and you wirewrap a gemstone, we, and thousands of other people, can see that we wirewrapped gemstones. There are also tutorials, unconnected to either of us, telling people how to wirewrap gemstones.

4)Really, is that all that original and new?

I think a lot of the worries about copying are related to the rise of the internet as a craft selling medium. It used to be even though you ordered your supplies from a nationwide catolog, and widely avaliable books, you could often be the only person at the craft fair selling wire wrapped pendants. But without these local monopolies, how can someone be successful? Well, I would suggest better craftspersonship, publizing yourself, and making sure your items have internet appeal- good pictures, good descriptions, good keywords. But also, another part of this is realizing how the internet works-there are millions of people on the internet, who in fact, have no idea who you are. Even a really sucessful person by craft world standards is maybe known to maybe 5,000 people, and that's being generous.

So millions of people online do their business every day without any knowledge of you or your creations. They buy supplies, they create things, and sometimes they post them online- not knowing that their beads on headpins look like yours...

5)An example-an etisian showed ten necklaces that looked similar. Note that the charms were probably bought from the same or a similar supplier, and also that the idea "I love Paris' is very common.



i loved reading this.

shannon said...


Caroline said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Callooh Callay said...

Very good points. There are so many threads where people complain they're being copied, and I'm sure sometimes it's true. More often, people are probably "influenced," often by the same external things.