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August 31, 2008

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Have I experienced this? Well, um ya! From more than one artist. Like you...I dominated the market with a fresh concept, but can't claim ownership on it. It's just a concept. Although I was the first to do a child plate with a prayer, I knew I wouldn't be the ONLY one.

A few years and a few licensing deals later, others jumped on the band wagon. Even some well known ceramic artists that had bigger names and had been in the business way longer than I had. That was actually flattering to me, more so than those business people out there that make their living riding on someone else's coat tails.

It hurts.....stings even. But was bound to happen. One well known Christian radio talk show host even took a similar name for her new plate line and has a very similar slogan to mine (so original), but her style is completely different, so that didn't hurt as bad as another artist who adapted my style, took the prayer concept and went after my accounts.

I've seen these tiles you mentioned, and I can say that I don't see much competition in them. They aren't true to the artists work and don't hold much competition to the hand painted market that you focus on. While the style of them may change later, I think right now it looks like a very cheapened version of what your products are and might only take the sales that you don't market to anyway.

You have built a name and reputation for yourself. You have stayed true to your art and your business. I remember reading once that those that copy, are always a step behind and those that are truly creative will always be a three steps ahead. There will always be those people who try to make a buck of someone else's idea, but at the end of the day, you can hold your head high and know that you are respected in your industry and for all the right reasons!

*sigh* Jamie, I agree 100% with the last paragraph of London's comment. I've told you before, and I'll tell ya again - they may copy, but they can't get inside your head. Keep doing what you are doing, as well as you are doing it, and you will always be ahead.

If your product idea is any good, people are going to copy it. For example, you link to people who are "inspired" by my "product"; one of whom was using my own material that I had to put the brakes on. Now, it's not likely you knew that (and likely you'd say they put their own spin and value to it) anymore than customers who should be buying your products know of you when they buy from your competitor.

The key is serving your market better (your turn around is better, unfortunately that may be the only difference a buyer sees) AND innovation in product offerings. Do you strictly define yourself as a tile producer? In what other ways can you diversify your concepts? You've got a leg up in ways they don't; you have established relationships and tacit knowledge. Use that. Still, have you ever read _The Innovator's Dilemma_? One is advised to be cautious in listening to one's customers too well. Generally, if someone's decided your piece of the pie looks tasty, it's time to start baking something other than pies :).

"Inspired by" and "completely copied" are two different things...They have skirted the law that protects intellectual property (or just gotten smart) by not designing art that looks just like yours. So, you are doing the only thing you can do to stay ahead -- offer a quality product with great customer service...In a twisted way, copycats inspire us to grow, move forward and leave them in the dust as they attempt to keep up...Good luck, J! And Kathleen, love the pie line! Amen!!!

jamie..yug.
I feel for you.
Lord knows I've had a few similar situations.It really feels like a punch in the gut.

It is too bad because I feel this this cycle of copy catting is hurting the industry. the quality and selection of kid’s art has really declined – everyone is so concerned about a quick buck and copying others that the industry now suffers for new and original designs.

just try to stay positive.
keep designing.
keep creative.

amen to all 5 before me. I haven't (yet) encountered this problem,but I am not oblivious to it. I have seen a few things pop up on ETSY that makes me think...hmmm...inspired by my work? Seems so...but nothing completely copied. I have to agree with everyone...but especially shelly...keep designing and keep being creative. If I were to stop my art right now, and just focus on the business...others would catch up , and I would lose my edge in the market. But I was reading a comment from a fine artist the other day: there is enough room for everyone's art...there are enough blank walls in the world...there are as many ways to express your creative style as there are faces in the world. OK...so there are copy cats. honestly, I feel sorry for them. To all artists who find their work copied, I say, keep creating! Keep thinking up new and more unique designs... and stay true to the artist in you. No one can keep up with you if you are always running up new ideas. They will always be behind:) I think that you have an edge...and just keep staying true to what you stand by...and you will keep going up!

Jaimie, I know how ya feel!! Copyright is so complicated! I saw one of my wallpaper designs copied onto a gift tag to the exact detail...they didn't even change the COLOR!! Isn't it amazing that people have the guts to do this? They say that copying is a form of flattery. I think we could all do without that kind f compliment! We all just have to put our noses to the grindstone and "keep on keeping on!" It does add some fuel to the creative fire, though, doesn't it?? Kelly

I have been creating a line of Christmas ornaments for 15 years, the key concept being wrapping the ceramic star in copper wire, with a curly cue spiral at the top.
Cute, simple, different.
It's been years later and now the metal spiral topper is pretty easy to find. Even saw a company that sells just wire spiral hooks to put everyday Christmas tree ornaments on to.

In adddition, I've seen other artists and crafters use copper wire (I'm not the first, I know that), but the style is just so similar, you cannot help but wonder 'did they see my work before they created that?'.

So, yes, we all agree no idea is original, but if we keep on with our own ideas, creating from our hearts, our businesses will continue to be fun and fruitful.

Not with art, but in writing I have experienced this. When I became a notary, there wasn't much info on the subject and people treated the subject like taboo or some closely guarded treasure. Once I learned the ins and outs, I wrote a book on the subject and sold it online. I even set my price. It wasn't much longer that others began coming out with their own books on the subject--including two companies that I had initially went to, to see about getting them to endorse the book and growing into into a huge resource. One guy even stole my outline, but not my content. He even claimed that my content didn't have enough meat. UGH! I never did build a huge resource around that book, I had moved on to other ideas by then.

Sometimes, when coming up with an idea for an article or a book that I think is truly original, I discover that I wasn't original at all.

As an editor for an online magazine, I get similar ideas queried to me all the time. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think alike. My editor/colleagues say the same thing, "It's really hard to find an 'original' idea these days. If you did deep enough someone out there has probably already done it or wrote it."

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