Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Letter To My Copycat.

"While things may basically look or be the same, in essence it's the person who conceives them from their heart and soul, that radiates through them"

Its been awhile since I last posted some pics of my new creations. I have been busy with the holidays that came and went, I have been busy as a bee coming up with new ideas and creations. As a designer/artist I am constantly trying new things, evolving, and getting inspired everyday by other artists, things I may feel, see, and admire. I was surprised and very very happy to see that I even inspired someone recently. My friend, Cindy B. of EpoxyonYou , whose awesome blog "Inspiration Makes The World Go Round" , put a smile on my face. In this blog she acknowledges a few awesome artists (including myself), who inspired her. I really admire her for that. I am glad to see the love and inspiration we can share with each other.

Now on the other hand we can have the complete and unfortunate opposite. "The Copycat." Like everything else there is good and there is bad. Inspiration is great, what is not great is a carbon copy, a knock off, or cheap replica. I understand that what an artist might do is appealing and you might want to try it, by all means do so, but put your own imagination into it. Come up with your own spin on things, come up with something new because if you don't then you are not an artist/designer, what you will become is a human copy machine.

I have recently been having a problem with etsy seller SweetLove4U /Kawaii4U who finds satisfaction by replicating my style. At first I thought I was being paranoid, but then I had a few other people message me and confirm my suspicions. When I saw "my pieces" in her shop, my heart dropped! I felt like someone had ripped my soul right out of me. It is that personal to me. I confronted this copycat SweetLove4U , and she completely denied it, and called me the jewelry police and infantile. I was stunned, and then decided to move on. I started then to do some new designs and my very first collection, "The Eat Cake Collection" and then she took my new ideas & designs and again started doing pieces very similar. It was very frustrating, she then started taking photos with the same props, and similar backgrounds, and now even purchasing the same beads and materials. I mean, I don't think I am overreacting, I feel like this is all an insult to my creative intelligence. I stay up late at night coming up with different ideas for my pieces, and work very hard, and put all of my heart into my work, and then to have someone easily come along, rip me off and go as far as calling her imitations unique and original. That is not cool.
This etsy seller completely denies copying my style and refuses to even give me any credit.

I am now very hesitant to even post previews and progress on this blog of my upcoming work before putting them up in my shop, for fear that they will be replicated before I even have time to finish them.  My whole intention of this blog was to share and inspire others and that has been taken away from both you and me :(
I know she visits my shop and comes here to my blog to study my pieces, my work, my everything. Then she goes and changes it a little and under prices it. It's just a sad experience. I love to inspire others, awhile back I even created a resin tutorial, so that others can use resin as a creative outlet as I have. So my intent is not to discourage others, but when someone tries to take my ideas and pass them off as their own, I feel like I have to speak out.

When I first joined etsy I was very inspired by many designers who utilized a combination of resin and candy. One day I decided to give resin a try. I experimented with some basic generic molds and candy that everyone in etsy seemed to be using. After getting comfortable with resin I was able to combine my own sense of style with this newfound tool.
My hope is that this person will live up to her shop's motto of being  "unique, trendsetting, and imaginative".  I hope she finds herself as I did, because there is no greater reward than having your creations come to life and having those creations be appreciated by others.  

I would really like everyone's feedback on this situation...so please let me know how you feel and share your experiences.  




  1. Well written, you couldn't have expressed yourself any deeper than this Athina.. I am really feeling for you on this. This can happend to anyone and I am sorry that this has happened to you...Hopefully this chick grabs a hold of her conscience and snaps out of it. I wish that Etsy gave some type of protection to designers against copycats!

  2. i guess you learned the nature of the business, thats pretty much how the whole work works when it comes to making money. You might have to let the copycat go because they will be others and there is no sense of wasting of your time of acknowledging them. It's all about the brand marketing... as long as you make a name for yourself... doesn't matter what.. people will always come back to buy. It just like buying a tiffany's engagement ring.. can you really tell if it came from tiffany's if you put it against other similar engagement rings? It's the name people purchase, the ring is irrlevant. So my suggestion... just create a name that represents your creations..and differentiating yourself from the rest (like a signature, a promise to the customer, or a special bread you use for all your creations, or a logo ) and build on that. I'm glad it happen to you now so you know how to defend yourself because this type of experience can only make you a better business women and a smarter designer. So take it as an opportunity to make your business better. Im all about small business since i own one myself. Good Luck!

  3. You expressed yourself like a true artist...it is said that imitation is often the best form of flattery.This can happen to anyone and how you are handling and reaching out to others that have or can go through this shows how dedicated you are to your work. We should petition her out of Etsy and she should own up to what she is truly doing. I hope she does go on your blog to see what you wrote and all our feedback!

    Sweetlove4U: you should really own up to this and take the replicas off and do your own work :)

  4. Thanks for the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. I can't express the feelings that I was going through. It was like an anxiety and kind of discouragement, I feel better now and moving on. It is soo personal to me, not just business, you know. Midge thanks for the advice, I really will take this experience as a lesson learned, and become wiser. I just wanted to get this off my chest, it was or is getting soo out of hand and there is nothing us small businesses can do, with a lawyer, or $$$ to spend on copy rights ect. So I do hope I have set myself apart from the rest, and people will remember my work and can see and appreciate the difference. Thanks lovely ladies, its great to see someone is listening. <3 <3 <3

  5. I have to say I'm usually pretty skeptical when people cry copycat. There's a lot of unreasonable people on the internet who seem to think they invented the wheel and will try to ruin ANYONE who does something even a little bit similar. That being said when I followed the link on your FB page to a ring by this girl I didn't read the text and thought it was a link to one of your own pieces. I was thinking "Oh that's cute... Wait who is this girl?!". I honestly thought the piece was yours and because of that I think you are fully justified in being upset and feeling ripped off.

    When you copy the entire feeling of someone else's work to the point where you can't tell the difference at first glance then there's a problem. I do agree with one of the other commenters though. The best thing you can do for yourself is let it go. As you gain popularity there will be more people trying to emulate your style. People see something they like that's selling and they think they can do the same thing, sell for less and be even more successful. Sadly that is how business works. There will always be cheap knockoffs of any brand. The more in demand your work becomes the more people will try to cheaply imitate it to make a quick buck.

    I KNOW you must be really aggravated. I know how much of yourself you put into your pieces because I do the same. I sit up late at night writing in my little red notebook, drawing sketches, thinking up new ideas I haven't seen other people making. I know that if someone ever does rip me off to the point where I can't tell the difference I will be very upset. There's just nothing to be done about it. I would try to feel flattered instead of upset but it would be hard. It doesn't matter if you're making a sculpture, crocheting a hat, making jewelry, painting. It's all art and you pour all that is yourself into it. It's all art and it all takes soul. People will realize that this girl is just borrowing that soul for her pieces and be drawn to yours even more. Being original is always in style and I really hope consumers will know the difference!

    Keep your chin up! You're making awesome jewelry and you're inspiring others. What other people do with that inspiration is up to them. If they want to take it literally and just make copies that speaks of their inability to translate inspiration into their own language and ideas. The rest of us are going to learn from each other and come up with new and original things. I hope you take more pride in inspiring originals than you are upset over people like this girl. It's a balancing act! <3

  6. The part I find funniest about her copycatness is her photo's, she can't even use her own creativity there either, come on, as if you would go as far as to use the same photo props, how could she even try to deny it! You're awesome Athina, and the fact that she is copying you just proves it!

    Renee your Aussie Flickr friend xxx

  7. Cindy, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I completely agree and I feel better now that I let it out. I am moving on now, wiser and learning how business is, the good and the bad. I was always scared to open myself up as I have with my jewelry, my blogging, and everything, for fear of getting hurt, but I don't regret it. This has all made me a better person and more complete so, I will continue on this path. I have never been happier and fulfilled. Life is good.

    Kustom Kitten, yes I know I found that unbelievable, but that was the reality of the situation. Thank you for all of your comments guys...I feel the love and I am truly humble and grateful. <3 :)

  8. it sucks to be copied doesn't it??? some of the items in your shop are copies of my work. I guess what goes around comes around huh??? ;)

  9. It does suck, but it has made me a better designer and has pushed me to evolve even faster. I know you have a few people who carbon copy your pieces as well. As far as me copying you, if what you are talking about is the basic resin sprinkle ring that everyone sells on etsy, It's hard to give someone credit for a basic idea where its hard to pinpoint the origins.

    As I stated in this blog...

    "When I first joined etsy I was very inspired by many designers who utilized a combination of resin and candy. One day I decided to give resin a try. I experimented with some basic generic molds and candy that everyone in etsy seemed to be using."

    Unless you are claiming you invented the idea of embedding candy and sprinkles into resin, I don't believe I crossed any boundries. You do great work, it's awesome, I love it. But aside from the basics our stuff does not look the same. No one could do your style better than you as no one can do my style better than me. But my non-generic pieces could never be confused with your non-generic pieces.

  10. I guess it sucks to be me to have so many of my original ideas now reduced down into being "generic". lol :(
    I'm not sure why you have so much of a problem with this seller sweetlove4u?!?! What she has done is really no different than what you do. There is nothing truly original going on in your shop (going by your defintion). You're just as generic as me... which gives people the right to "copy" off you. ;) Just because you add some beads and some chains to your resin pieces that doesn't make them original. And all of the materials you work with (toss in there) are readily available for anyone to work with.

  11. What I mean by "generic/basic" is the idea of embedding candy, sprinkles and other objects into resin. I am sure we all read "The Art of Resin" by Sheri Haab, which was published (from what I can tell) way before anyone in etsy started selling candy resin jewelry.
    So books and tutorials like these have laid the foundation which we all utilize when we first began experimenting with resin.

    The reason I have a problem with this seller, is not that she copied one of my pieces, the problem that I have with her is that she is copying my style and calling it her own.

    For example, I can see and agree with you when etsy sellers use the same stickers, color combinations, and layout that you do. That is an example of someone copying your style. But when other sellers like myself utilize an off the shelf mold in combination with sprinkles, that in my view is not a copy. Because none of us came up with the idea of embedding candy into resin, that idea already existed.

    When I first joined etsy, everyone was hanging their beautiful hand crafted candy/sprinkle resin pendants off ball chains. So, when I started making pendants I added my own style and love of beading to create something new and fashionable. I don't claim I came up with the idea of adding beads and chains to resin. But I am very humble and proud that my love of jewelry and fashion shine through my pieces and may have pushed and inspired people to take their candy resin pieces somewhere they may have not thought of before.

    When I take a look around resin candy jewelry now, I noticed sellers are using more crystals, beads, ribbon, and other jewelry components. And I am very proud of that, because I believe I had a small part in introducing that style into this lovely community we have, which you and I are a part of.

    So, I don't have a problem or go out of my way to contact the candy resin sellers who now utilize beads, crystals, or whatever else I may toss in there, because their pieces DO NOT look like mine even though we use the same materials.

    To anwer your question the reason I am upset with this seller is not that she uses the same materials I do, is that she is trying to steal my style/identity.

    I do want to correct you on something though, I never called your entire shop generic. That would be insane...99.9% of your items/pieces/jewelry are original and anyone can tell you put alot of thought into your pieces. Combining different styles and different objects and making something new out of them is by my definition originality. And I would never try to take that away from you or anybody for that matter. But you and I both have generic pieces in our shops, for example the sprinkle resin ring. I call this generic because its candy/sprinkle inside a mold and neither you nor I can take credit for coming up with the idea of embedding candy into resin.

    The reason I love etsy, is because when you look around there is sooo much creativity and originality. Things you could never find in your local mall. If our styles were generic we would not be getting the kind of feedback that we do from others. I believe my style as well as yours is very unique and original.

    I know this was a long response, but I hope I explained my view of what I consider generic/basic.

    I really don't understand why you feel the need to be soo hostile towards me. I do not believe my style is a copy of your style. A few of our pieces look the same, but again they are basic staples that you can find in most candy resin shops, tutorials, and books which were here before our shops opened up.

    Now if I am mistaken, and you did infact come up with the idea and were the first one to insert candy, sprinkles, letters, glitter, etc... please let me know and I will gladly give you sole credit for inspiring not only me, but the many other sellers that inspired me in the beginning.

  12. Also, in response to your following quote:

    "Just because you add some beads and some chains to your resin pieces that doesn't make them original"

    Your right, that doesn't make them original.

    What's makes them original is the type of bead combination, color, placement, composition, and symmetry. That along with my sense of personality, my essence, imagination, and inspirations is what gives my pieces character and their originality.
    People come to my shop not because "I add some chains and beads", but because they are buying a piece of my imagination. When my customers buy my orginal Let them Eat Cake Collection, they are buying my interpretation of a movie that I love and was able to translate into a piece of jewelry art.

    Despite of what you think, I really hate the way our paths crossed eachother. It saddens me that this type of conversation is even necessary.
    I hope we can put this behind us one day and become friends.

    Kisses and Hugs,

    And that's from the heart, I am not being sarcastic.

  13. Hi Athina!
    I wanted to let you know that I searched high and low for you on the Internet because I want to do an amazing blog post on you and your work and pieces. If anyone relates to the copy cat syndrome, I do and it's clearly on my blog for the world to see. I commend you for standing for yourself. I reached out to you a while back because your work mesmerized me and your talent is simply phenomenal. I may have a fantastic platform for the world to see your work. Let's connect so we can discuss.

    Jackie : "Candy Girl"

    The Hollywood Candy Girls!