What to do When Someone Copies You

Today I went to a sale and saw some very similar items (one that was the actual item I sold at my Honeyboutique Spring Sale) being resold at another sale here in Salem.  I felt like a child again, angry and complaining to my mother in a high pitched whine, “She copied me!” I’m so glad I didn’t have a temper tantrum right there in the shop.

Since then I have discovered a few things about “coping” and I thought I would share them with you here.

  1. When someone copies you it’s rather flattering. Although flattering is not the first thing that pops into my mind (anger, hurt, betrayal), it’s important to look at it in a positive light and react with some business sense.  It shows you that one, you have a good enough idea that someone wants to mimic it and two that you executed your idea well enough that someone thinks they can sell to someone else. Also I inspired someone to make it. Now sure I’d rather inspire someone to make it strictly for themselves and not have them become my competition, but life’s not fair. Suck it up and move on, or try harder.
  2. There’s not too many ideas out there that are 100% original. It’s not like I really discovered using old junk and turning them into Artbots. So I can’t get too mad at someone for mimicking them. I didn’t go out and protect my product with copyrights or licenses either.
  3. Now that someone has taken your idea doesn’t mean that you can’t still make your product. It just means that you have to make it with exceptional quality, great artistry and excellent customer service. My ArtBots are not only assembled sculptures with found objects, but they also tell a story. Each of my ArtBots come with funny little biographies reveling their life and personality. They are unique and have been made with an artistic eye. Sure you can use the same bubble gum base to make a bee bot, but it will look different since I made it mine, using my skills and knowledge.
  4. Another option when someone nabs your idea is spread it to the masses! Inspire others to make your little creations and make money teaching others what you’ve learned. You’re the expert so share your knowledge. Ideas flow freely and if someone has taken your gig to sell (and pass off as their idea), you can teach others your techniques and spread the wealth a bit.