Remember hitting that stage of child development where you didn’t want anyone to copy you? One of my children is this way “ad nauseam.” It’s so bad that he won’t even pick his favorite scoop of ice cream if a sibling chose it first. He insists on choosing last to eliminate any possibility of being copied.
Anyone who has created anything and put it out for the world to see has experienced getting copied. When it first happened to me, I wanted to throw a fit like a child. These two ladies came into my booth at a craft fair and I thought they were admiring a pair of baby booties I made. No. They were analyzing how to go home and make it themselves.
Was that a little tacky? Sure.
Another time I was approached by a fellow craft fair gal who wanted to learn how to make one of the hats I was selling. This was back before I began designing and teaching. I agreed, she didn’t pay me, but we were gal pals at the craft fair, so whatever – right?
Wrong. She started selling the hats… the same hats I taught her to make. At the craft fairs we both attended. I didn’t say anything – I could have/should have, but it was a small town. A little drama goes a long way.
Was that also tacky? Yeah. For sure. 100%
As a designer and teacher, I’m not as annoyed to be copied. I mean, I want people to make my designs. That’s why I’m sharing them with the world, right?
Imagine my dismay when I walked into Target the other day and found my Bulky Beanie hat complete with a faux fur pom on top selling for $14.99.
Should I feel flattered or frustrated?
Many wise people told me to feel flattered.
On the one hand, I agree.
But if I didn’t, do you really think li’l ol’ me could actually take a stand against a giant corporation like Target?
No. No, I cannot.
I know some of you may be thinking I’m big-headed for thinking this hat in Target is MY hat. But I released this pattern 7 years ago. I’ve taught this class to HUNDREDS of students. The beanie with the faux fur pom came on the scene 2 years earlier when I started selling hats with Elle Inspired. Those photos are all over the internet.
Yes. Dear Target, that’s my hat.
So let’s talk about this idea of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. The good side?
- You had a good idea. Good enough to copy.
- Your style is on-trend.
- Other things you are doing can’t be too off-track.
- Sometimes people copy you just because they like you.
When is getting copied not flattering?
- When it costs you business
- If it tarnishes your reputation
- Someone else gains from your hard work
What do I think happened with Target?
Let’s be clear. I love Target. I’ve had a RedCard since 2001. Okay? I love that store.
Target seeks out trendy items via Pinterest, Google images, and the like. Sometimes photos go out into the web-verse and they are not attached to a person, website or whatever, so no credit to the original person is given. This is not Target’s fault. I do not believe that they went after my work in a malicious way. Lazy? Maybe. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
But will this cost me business?
I don’t know. Will a person still want to take my beanie class for $35 if they can buy the same hat at Target for $14.99? Will someone buy my hats at Elle Inspired for $39 when they can buy it at Target for less than half that? (I mean… my hat’s made with Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool… a far superior yarn than what Target is offering.)
Talk to me in the comments – have you ever been copied by a stranger, crafting friend or larger company?