August 31, 2008.
Before you read this post, if you not an avid reader of this blog (I know really, isn't everyone a loyal rabid fan?) I suggest.....no I mean, really insist you go read these posts from last year:
I will wait while you re-familiarize yourself with my uh, dilemma that I knew was coming.....a year ago. Please, talk amongst yourselves, I will wait....Oh okay, if you do not want to waste your day away reading what I wrote? Okay I will make this quick, just know I knew some other company was going to come out with Wall Art on ceramic tiles - just like moi'. I wrote about it about a year ago, discussed copying vs. plagiarism, creative vs. a hack - pretty much exhausted the topic and got a bunch of people in my industry all a talkin'. My point was basically, bring it on I can win on service just do NOT be copying my artwork or I will flash some copyrights.
I Knew this Day Would Come
So practically a year later, some birth tiles, name plaques and name tiles have hit the market. They have hit my industry, and any day now I expect to see them go head to head with my products on most if not all of my sales channels. Apples to apples....er wait not exactly - that is not what I would call these, more um oranges to cantelopes. I saw them this morning - Name Tiles, Name Plaques and Birth Certificates on white 6 x 8 tiles. Let me demonstrate a little analysis of the competing products and Jamie's Painting & Designs products:
- Ribbons hangs tile with a bow or a knot
- Art is hand painted looking, my style is very distinct and detailed
- Personalization is done with my own fonts I created, my hand writing & mine alone
- Name Tiles are 4 x 4 tiles
- Price is $35.00
- Turn around times 1-2 weeks
- We have over 300 original themes to compliment a child's room
- Ribbon's hang tiles with two knots
- The personalization is done with True Type fonts
- Name Tiles are a 6x8 tile
- Price is $36.00
- Turn around time 3-4 weeks (ouch!)
- Artwork is very modern looking, stylized, not hand painted at all............wait stop - right - there.
I am going to say that again, only this time slowly (let it soak in) - The - artwork - is - very - modern looking - stylized, NOT hand painted. The artwork on the tiles is nothing like my artwork, in fact it could not be more different. The look is very modern (oops said that already), slick and graphic, almost stylized if you will. It looks like collage art, manufactured NOT hand painted.
Even if you are not an Art Professor, A painter or an art student, you would never say that about my art. My art is cute, whimsical, detailed, cartooney (no not a real word but I like it to describe my art). My color choices range from bright to pastels to classic color combinations. Love my work or hate my work - it is still my work. No attorneys called, no tantrums, no boycotting, not necessary. Uh, not to self, cancel the pitty party.
Copying a Concept is NOT Copying my Art
I know I have said it before, but I feel the need to re-state this little factoid, I am not the first person to put artwork on tile. I had a monopoly on the market for a long time - not on personalized wall art but on ceramic wall art. That is no longer true. I did come up with the concept for my line, so yeah for me - what did I expect a medal? A statue erected at the ABC Kids Show? Nope - I did not.
And while we are on the subject of me NOT inventing art on tile, I happen to know at least one other woman had birth tiles on the market years before I came along. I may have just been lucky enough, or smart enough to just get them to the market and all over the place. I did not copy her art, I did not copy her tile size - my look could not have been different.
On the other hand I had no idea this woman existed till I had already released my birth tiles - I found her a year later. So, the thought that no idea is original I would have to agree with. I just happen to enjoy working with ceramic tiles, others choose wood or canvas - some few even put their art on everything possible. This other company knows I existed, knows I have succeed and has chosen to jump in and open up more channels - well okay then. Again, I will not be sending the troops in for a mass invasion - nope not me.
So, I am going to forge ahead, release our Christmas products Tuesday (you can view a few here peppered throughout this post) - just as I had planned. Get ready for our holiday season and keep my eyes open and customer service great. I do not know if these products will affect my sales, and like I stated earlier it is just competition.
So, I would love to hear what others think, what others did or would do. Have you experience this on a broad scale or a small scale? A national competitor coming up with something or packaging it as their own? It is nice to be a pioneer in an industry, to be the first one to get mass-appeal, but that is not everything. Someone, somewhere will figure out what you did, or see how your sales are going and realize they can do that too. To quote one of my first employees from way back in the day, "It is what it is"