When I first got to Etsy I sold something completely different. Within three weeks I was being copied by an aggressive seller. This seller put her prices down at below 50% of my prices. She had signed up to my RSS feed so, every time I listed something new she listed three of her products next to mine. As expected, I sold very little and she sold large quantities, I had to content myself with the numerous emails saying how much better my work was.
I am tired of being told to be flattered by copyists…I had my arse well and truly kicked!! It was not a flattering experience, I can assure you. Not only was my idea ripped off, I was shown to be useless business woman! To this day I feel nauseated when I remember that period of my life and how soul destroying it was.
People who suggest I should be flattered, I can only imagine haven’t thought it through sufficiently or haven’t personally experienced it.
Regarding that creative idea, I gave up and I resigned myself to moving on to something else. That is when I started creating lichen and moulds. This time I have a great deal more to feel threatened about. This is my niche on Etsy that I have been working at for two years, sometimes 14 hours a day. How do you expect me to feel? To those who don’t approve of my anger in this situation, it’s NOT a hobby, it’s my living. Being copied can mean the total destruction of your business.
Also, people often pipe up with the old chestnut ‘It’s not an original idea’ so and so has being doing this for years. Sorry, in two years of working I haven’t seen anything like my moulds (until now). Yes, I’ve seen plenty of people who make textural pictures of lichen and very occasionally mould. I’ve exhibited with the British Lichen Society right alongside some of these folks. But sorry, I’ve done something different and it’s been lifted by another seller. If you can send me a link to something that really is similar I’ll admit defeat, but until then….you ain’t right!
I recently attended a seminar run by the Intellectual Property Office in the UK. Many aspects of what I do could be registered under ‘design rights’ because of their originality (which I would do if I could afford it). Places like Etsy are a free for all, most people think by you just putting it out there, it gives them permission to set themselves up in competition with you using your idea.
What is the universe telling me? I should get ready to get my arse kicked again? Well, that’s really peachy isn’t it.