Thursday, October 7, 2010
"Sell-Outs" ~ Copy-Cat Vampires of Etsy
ETSY is the place to find all things handmade! A wonderful retail venue for artisans of all styles to share their crafts and handmade wares with people throughout the world. As artists, our creative imaginations thrive within sacred lucidity. A sense of accomplishment after we have created and handcrafted an individually unique piece of art is a feeling unlike none other. We are true artists... with a vision and light. Blessed and bestowed with the ability not only as amazing artists, each with our own style and imaginative creative ability, but as entreprenuers who possess the ability to not only create our artworks within our chosen medium, but artists who also have the ability to create, operate, and run a successful business selling our handmade wares. And then there are the "sell-outs".
You may be familiar with my writing, "The Curious Case of the Evil Eye" in which I depict the evil eye as situational in nature. A failure to restrain envy within proper social bounds. There seems to be an overabundance of this behavior amongst sellers on etsy, new and existing sellers alike. There are forums and blogs overflowing with angry, upset, and betrayed sellers who brought "their" businesses and creative minds to etsy, sellers who believed this to be a safe haven for artisan sellers for, as etsy states "all things unique and handmade", only to have someone capitalize on their success and replicate their designs. It may be a seller who's sales are low and/or non-existent, who sees the success of another seller within the same marketplace, and thinks to themselves " Gee..... this person really has a great product line.... this person has created a "brand" for themselves.... this person is making way more sales than me.... I think I'll copy that product, give it a new name, make my own label, and I can have that success too! Yeah! Thats a great idea!" Guess what.... thats about the worst idea much less business decision you will ever make. You know why? Of course you don't! You lack ethical business knowledge and haven't a clue on how to restrain your envy and conduct yourself within proper ethcical social bounds. Industry standards if you will. And lets not leave out the buyers.... oh yes, the worst offenders. They think "Hey! This is something I should do as supplimental income!" Then they replicate your shop themes, copy your products and think this is ethical business practice. They have just sealed their fate. If they believe the etsy community hasn't taken notice that they are just another desperate "copy-cat" seller, they are sadly mistaken. They have just sealed their fate.
We have just witnessed one of the grossest displays of a "copy cat" sell-out seller and sadly, it was one of my own customers who decided it was ethically correct to replicate on of my own designs which is owned by my corporation and distributed worldwide to retailers throughout the world. One of my customers Lori Lappin, had been purchasing a Witches Magick Candle 3x4 from me, one a month for two years. We had a wonderfully sweet relationship and she raved about how much she loved my candles, a "staple" as she once told me, she just could not live without her Witches Magick Candles! I was delighted to have a dedicated customer and strived to insure that every candle purchase was stellar... and of course, she left me excellent positive feedback on every purchase for years.
In March of 2009, Liorah Lleucu decided to open a "witch shop" on etsy, Witch Crafts. And guess what she decided to sell? Replications of my product line. She uses the same bottles, replicates packaging trade designs, and even utilized bottles and charms for her new products which were originally from items she purchased from White Magick Shoppe. In a convo I mentioned I had seen bottles and charms from items she had previously purchased from me and she became terribly defensive "You can't trademark the pentacle! Its a symbol which has been used in witchcraft for centuries!".... Uhh, thats not what I'm taking about....lol Defensive because she's unknowledgeable.
Recently she purchased a Samhain Candle from me. A few days later, I see that she has replicated my company's original trade design of our Witches Magick Candle and its right on etsy for the whole world to see. The candle is an exact duplication of the candle she has been purchasing from me for 2 years. I polietely contacted her and explainded that she had copied an owned trade design owned by my company and asked her to remove the listing. She ignored my request to remove the listings of the two sizes she had duplicated and listed in her shop, claiming that hers were different than mine, lying within text, lying to herself. I tried to get her to understand the legality of the situation, but again, she was defensive and basically ignored my candid request and has now given me no other option but to get my legal counsel involved in the matter. Keep in mind, this is one of my own customers. Apauling and gross conduct on her part.
Then, a few days later, I find that she has replciated yet another trade design of my Samhain Witches Magick Candle! BaaaWaaaa! lol Who has the nerve to do this? I mean, she claims to be a witch, but what witch would act in this manner, capitalizing on someone elses trade designs? This is not consistent behavior for someone who is connected to the pagan path, which leads me to believe she is not a witch at all. She is simply a woman, who is trying to make a buck based upon the success she has seen in my shoppe and other sellers shops within the metaphysical etsy community. She has not only replciated my product line, but she has copied other sellers unique ideas and we have all taken notice. Several of my customers, random buyers, other sellers, as well as a few of my wholesale accounts have contacted me to expresses their thoughts and concerns on the matter. I thank you all for your support and for looking out for me and my business. Not to worry, we are in the process of rectifying this completely disrespectful and appalling display of sickness transmuted.
It is so very important for each and everyone of us within the artisan etsy community to remain true to our own artistic artistry. I don't believe that this woman at Witch Crafts, Liorah Lleucu, has any individual artistic ability whatsoever if she is desperate enough to muster the audacity to copy other artisans designs and list them for sale within this alleged
"witch shop" on etsy. Karma doesn't take a back seat and this type of business decision certainly will not create any sort of long term success. I've been in this industry for 18 years. I've seen them come, I've seen them go.