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September 21, 2007


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jamie -
thank you for "opening this can of worms"! yes - I have had my fair share of what I consider to be "plagiarism" of drooz designs -
I regret NOT being more publically vocal regarding the topic - it is just happening too much and to too many pioneer companies, products, websites and designers. It just drains my creativity to see this happen - but I need to keep my creativity to fight back - my most precious weapon! I am very proud of you and your VOICE - keep it up! I support you whole-heartedly!
shelly - drooz studio

As a relative newbie in this industry, I can appreciate where you are coming from. There is a ton of competition in this field, and with the abundance of decorative artwork already out there, it's hard to get your work noticed - especially if someone is doing it cheaper and faster. While I am realistic about the fact that there will be overlap in certain design elements in this market (I mean, let's face it, we are all competing for the same customer with the same tastes in princesses and animals...) artists should strive to have a distinct voice. I think as women and entrepreneurs, we can inspire each other, both business-wise and artistically - but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be original. Similar products can exist - for example, you and Shelly both have door hangers - but both are completely different in design. Everyone needs to have that "something" that makes their artwork unique. You two are both an inspiration to me!

Great post...I love Shelly's work, and as an artist myself, I can understand the frustration that causes! Thanks for checking out my blog and my artwork! I have always loved your work! Best of luck, and thanks for stopping by! I love your blog!

Jamie, you make wonderful points. I agree to most of them, but I can't get over your HYPOCRICY! How do you think the original company to do children's plates feel about you?

Dear Joni,

I think you are clearly missing the point. As a plate designer myself, I do not think Jamie is stepping on my toes for making plates. I did not invent children's birth plates, nor did anyone else. They have been around for years. I'm sure that Shelly Kennedy doesnt' have a problem with other canvas artists out there that create their own unique artwork, it is the ones that mimic themeselves after her and capitalize on her success.

It's not about the plate, canvas or any other medium of art being used, it's about the artwork and style that is copied. I have had experiece with an artist copying my designs, themes and even my trademarked Prayer Plate and going after all my accounts. She went so far as to take my "story" on my About Us page and mimic hers after it. That is what it's about and it's just wrong!!

I don't think Jamie has an issue with someone creating other tiles, she doesn't OWN the tile, but someone adapting her style and creating the same thing while selling to the same accounts is where it's WRONG.

As artists ourselves, we all can apprecaite good art and have a lot of respect for our peers and have even become close friends with them. However someone that decides to ride the coat tails of another successful artist is the real hypocrit. All we are saying here is that if you don't have the talent yourself to create your own style, then have some scrupples and leave our stuff alone.

I am not a hypocrite, I did not say (if you read earlier blogs) that I invented art on tile, or art on plates, or ceramic ornaments. What I did do was, do it well, do it with MY ORIGINAL looking artwork and the customers like it. Competition is nature of the beast - I did not copy other peoples art style. Shelly Kennedy is not the first to paint on banners - she marketed it well - people (not artists) are copying her style, her style, her style....NOT the product she paints on. Do you agree?

Okay ladies! Perhaps I did miss the point. If it really is truely about people stealing the DESIGN that you are upset about than I appologize. So I guess, Jamie, you would not be upset about some other artist or person coming up with their own UNIQUE line of children's tiles? Of course if they wanted to make it in the kids' industry they would have to at least try to knock on the same retailers as you...right? So you HONESTLY would think that is okay? I do. As long as it REALLY is an issue of copyright than I do apologize.


You are right, they would have to knock on the same doors (retailers) as you do. But again, there are umpteen thousand retailers to go after, is it necessary to google the persons name and go after all their accounts first? I guess all business is fair game, but it's a little slimy.

In a perfect world, we would all be the only one with our type of product in our industry, so I can't say that competition doesn't still make us a little quesy, but when it's legit, we have no right to get angry with them. If anything it makes us step up our game and keep on our toes.

Personally, I respect fair competition. I admire some of the things that my competitors have done (when they are original) and think damn, wish I would have thought of that! But that doesn't necessarily make me go out and do the exact same thing.

Others have come out with tile, plates, ornaments, etc. - and others will continue to. I do not get mad at them - I just do what I do and do the BEST I can. I work some great companies, and I have some exclusives and agreements that I won't go to their biggest competitor and they won't take mine - that is not always the case. If someone comes on the market and goes after everyone of my channels, with say birth tiles - ya kind of slimey, but that is life. It is the nature of the beast - so JONI, are you artist? If you are how would feel if someone copied your work? Your style?

I am a muralist/stay-at-home mom who tried to break into the children's industry years ago. However, a much much bigger artist put a huge damper on that. Even though my style and designs were different, this person had quite the monopoly going in our area. This person not only stopped me but every other budding artist in our area! This person threatened to remove their things from the local stores if they carried other peoples work. So, although I see how frustrating it must be to have designs taken (which I am not guilty of)some of the bigger artist (and it is not just this one I am talking about), act as if they have some sense of entitlement. I think some have a hard time with direct competition and although they have a right to get VERY upset if and when their designs are copyrighted, they still put up a fight when FAIR COMPETITION comes around. So I will say it again, as long as you (London and Jamie) are cool with fair competition, I certainly appologize! However, I do disagree with the accounts part of it. The reason is, is that anyone who has ever tried to break into this business knows what the good accounts are. That doesn't take google or being slimy, it actually doesn't take much at all to figure that one out. If I would try to break out again, I would be very stupid not to try these best accounts first. However, I have one FANTASTIC account and that is all that I have time for & I love them. I also get to stay away from the drama that is in this industry (even though I find myself in it from time to time :).

London, I have sympathy for you. It sounds like someone has really taken your talent as their own. I really would hate that and I am sorry that happened to you. Jamie, I am just curious to hear your story about the person (don't name any names) who stepped on your toes to make you so fired up to write about it this way!

That is an awful experience - I am so sorry another artist did that. I would never do that - hence working nationally keeps me out of THAT drama. You should forge ahead though - there is plenty of room for LOTS of different art styles. I meant ART that looked like mine, not other ceramic artists. Does that make more sense? I can't quite mention what happened or how I came apon the information. This "person" has done things similar in the past - and this time it was just the last straw. I hope you continue to read the blog Joni -

Sounds great, Jamie! I'm going to go work on my first children's tile now...Poshtots awaits!!! I'm just joking! Have a good one!


Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you love. Even as passionate as we are about this whole knock off thing, each and every one of us still forges ahead and truly enjoys what we do. Yes, I've been burned, as we all have, but you can't let it stall you for more than a few days at most. I've never asked one of my companies not to carry another artist, I've just worked twice as hard at pleasing them. There is plenty of business to go around in this world and if your stuf is unique, it will speak for itself. Good luck, I hope we haven't scared you away.

I appreciate so much your views and opinions on the 'copy-cat' syndrome. I think that women have a tendancy to become more cut-throat in a lot of ways more so than men. We take things very personally and although we try to rationalize through reasons that someone would take one of our original designs, it's so hard not to get pissy and fighting mad over it. These ideas become like our own babies. It makes me very sad that women think this is okay, fair, and MORAL. It's not. Is it really flattery to copy someone? I think it's more of a cheap shot. You can be original, you can be unique,have your own style, and you can be MORAL. Those who are talented and creative do have their own recognizable style. Subject matter will always stay along the same patterns when doing children's artwork- princess, flowers, blah, blah, blah. Make it your own. I too have been copied and pushed out of local markets because of cut-throat people that insist on stepping on others to gain business. I'd much rather have a little less work, and be able to look myself in the mirror. Before going online to sell my artwork, I researched women who's work I respected that seemed to have their head on straight. That includes Jamie and Shelly. It's not that I wanted their accounts because our work is notthing like one another's. I simply respected the fact that they were aligned with long-time merchants that respected their work and ideas, and showcased them in that way. I don't necessarily think that is slimy. Don't get me wrong, it could be if your intentions are slimy to start off with. I just think that you try to place yourself in the company of others that are like-minded. There are companies that work well for me, where as they don't for another artist. That is part of it. I do like competition, because without it, no one would improve. I love the fact that my work gets better and more creative. Flowers are great to paint; do I want to paint it the same way every freakin' week? No!! I am forced to think outside the box and grow in this crazy world of children's artwork. You Can be friends with other trustworthy artists, you could even share ideas. I am learning the hard way that I am not afraid of the women who put it out there and want to share and respect other's ideas; it's the ones that hide behind other's ideas and try to market it as their own. I also understand that we can't always rely on our merchants to honor our products and not promote those that are blatent knock-offs. They are in it to make money too. And yes, some people will buy from someone quicker and cheaper, but will they go back to these artists after they receive their homemade creation? Not if they're sane! When you are proud of what you do, it shows in your work and your customer service. I keep telling myself that my business will grow because I treat people how I would like to be treated. God knows I would like it to grow faster, but...I think it makes it that much sweeter when we reap the rewards of our own ideas and styles. For all of those stay-at-home moms who are bored and want a quick buck...stick to macaroni art and popcicle stick houses. Keep off our playground, because we have our big girl panties on, and we're not afraid to use them!!

Wow Stacey! I really enjoyed reading what you had to say until the last comment. That was ridiculous! I am a stay-at-home mother who never took an art class in my life! However, I happen to be a good artist. I also happen to be a very loving mother of three young children & made a decision to put motherhood first. So, it has made perfect sense for me to try my hand in this business. I can make my own hours and not take ANY time away from my children. It also gives me the creative outlet that I need spiritually. So...like I said before, I have ONE account that I love. It is all the work I can handle right now (I pull enough all-nighters). Well, it is by far one of the biggest national accounts out there & I am one of the top selling artists for them. So, Stacey, you are probably pretty damn lucky that some of us choose to be stay-at-home mothers, instead of doing this full-time, because your "playground" wouldn't be too much fun for you! By the way, this is children's art...it is not FINE ART. The best of the best out there didn't have to get a degree to come up with their designs. It may have helped them, but they would have been able to do it anyway because they are creative. By the way, did you buy your big-girl panties at art school? I got mine for free!

London and Jamie, no you guys didn't scare me off nor did the artist who made it very difficult for me in the beginning. What did make it difficult for me is part of the reason I started (The other reasons are above), is that I love children. I have a Masters Degree in Special Education. I knew I couldn't be in the classroom while my own kids where home so I thought that this would be a nice way to connect with children. However, I do get very turned off knowing how cut-throat and negative this industry can be & ironically it is focused on children. That is why I love the account I have so much, they don't get wrapped up in this. They are wonderful, nice, down-to-earth friendly people!!!!

OKAY!! The teacher is now taking control of the class - everyone be nice! Please, please - I am so so happy to have so many passionate (and talented) artists, crafters, designers, entrepreneurs and MOM'S read my blog. I do enjoy that a "controversial subject" has gotten everyone talking....but to quote Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" I appreciate everyone's comments, even if I do not agree with them all, that is what I always hoped this would be a place to discuss, debate and meet other like minded artists! I wish you BOTH the best of luck and suceess! Please on commenting....

Okay! I re-read what I wrote and realize that it came across like I was tooting my own horn. That was not my intention AT ALL. It was just that the stay-at-home mom statement was SO MEAN & totally uncalled for. So what I was trying to get across is that being a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean we are talentless & should be banned from other areas of life. How I wish I was "bored" and could do "Macaroni Art" one day!!!
Sorry things got so heated...my gloves are off :)

Apparently the point I was trying to make was overlooked. I am specifically talking about people who have nothing better to do than copy someone's work. If you re-read, I never once said you have to have a degree to be an artist, nor did I say that staying at home with your children was a bad thing. It is a wonderful choice for most of us who want to have the best of both worlds. I think my point was totally missed. I must say too, that I was not ragging on merchants. I said I understood that they are in this to make money, and it would be nice if they didn't support knock-off artists. Jeez!!!! I didn't know that this would be taken soooo out of context. Again, what I am saying is ...IF YOU ARE A STAY-AT-HOME MOM WITH NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN COPY ANOTHER ARTISTS' WORK, CUT IT OUT!!!!! IT ISN'T RIGHT!!! That's all. I choose to stay at home like most of you. I gave up a career as an R.N. to pursue this more, and although I also hold a degree in Commercial Art- big deal!!! Simply put, don't copy!!

I LOVED everything that you had to say & agreed with all of it! Except for the last comment...it through me for a real loop. I had others read it before I posted too & we all agreed that it sounded REALLY RUDE. This is why I hate email & the like because it is far too easy to misunderstand how someone really feels. You must admit though that.....
"For all of those stay-at-home moms who are bored and want a quick buck...stick to macaroni art and popcicle stick houses. Keep off our playground, because we have our big girl panties on, and we're not afraid to use them!!"...can easily be taken the wrong way.
I'm sorry!

I had found out the day I posted this that yet another 'my spacer' had a copy of the most popular piece I sell. It was more of an inside joke. It was directed to this 'certain someone' in hopes they would receive it through the grapevine. I had even told Jamie that it felt like free therapy to get that out of my system! I recognized every piece of artwork this person did and know who the original artists are, so I was completely frustrated. I am truly sorry if I offended you or anyone else- that was certainly not my intention. I will keep my playground jokes to a minimum next time; I promise!! Throw me a bone and at least let me throw in a good panty joke every now and then!!!! Have a good night, Stacey

If it makes you feel any better, I did not take it the wrong way, i knew exactly what you meant. Don't sweat it and I'm sorry this has happened to you too!

That was a really great piece of writing..

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