I woke up today to the message of Nikki Abs, the brain and soul of another quirky local shop called Junk Studio.
I first met her a few years back at a Global Pinoy event. It's an annual bazaar that showcases Pinoy-made items.
Like us, Nikki was among the few local crafters then who upcycle junk and transform them into one-of-kind quirky items.
She was the first one who we saw carry accessories with charms made of old keyboards and piano keys.
Today, she laments how others find it so easy to replicate another crafter's creation and sell these knock offs at much cheaper rates.
|Some of Nikki's latest handmade items|
Photo from here
The first time my sister and I saw other shops carrying their own quirky handmade shirt pins and lego accessories, we were so devastated.
I was so pissed... I wanted to cry right there and then at our booth.
My sister though works for an ad agency so she's more used to the reality of creative ideas being stolen by others.
She told me that even big brands get ripped off, what more small businesses like us.
Though it was difficult, I swallowed back my tears and accepted the sad reality.
|Popjunklove's DIY pouch from an old pair of jeans and used lego bricks :)|
WHO HAS LICENSE OVER A CERTAIN IDEA?
With Pinterest and DIY-related posts plastered all over the world wide web...it's hard to pinpoint who really is the brain behind an idea.
Who knows someone may have already thought of making accessories out of old legos before, right?
It's possible my sister and I are actually the knock offs (I really hope not!)
Also, since we are what we see, feel, hear about everyday, our idea may actually just be a re-invented idea of what we have seen, felt or heard before.
It may be different and new but it still has to come from or inspired by something, right?
This sad but true reality is elaborated further here in a TED Talk video shared by another local entrepeneur, Shainna Tantuico.
In the video, Johanna Blakely shared lessons from fashion's free culture.
She said that copying in the industry doesn't only happen from bottom-up.
She insisted that even renowned designers get ideas from the streets.
If you want another take on the "copying dilemma" in the fashion industry.
This is a great video to watch.
Thanks Shainna Tantuico for sharing this. :)
Acceptance of this reality though does not make the experience of seeing copycats and competing with them less painful.
As pointed out by Nikki, "it still stings."
Especially for crafters whose products are born out of love, sweat and personal hours away from friends and family, yes people...it hurts.
Just recently I had a customer who had the nerve to voice out her disapproval about the price of my items.
She blurted out that the 'unreasonable price of my products' is probably the reason I'm able to afford an IPad.
I smiled 'til she walked away but I was so close to telling her that the reason I have an IPad is because while she was sleeping, I was still up, working on my products 'til the wee hours of the morning.
Yes, I know that people are entitled to their own opinions but can't they just walk away from the booth first before blurting out their rudeness?
We spend time and emotions on our items.
Time is life, people.
WE ARE OUR ITEMS.
An assault to our items is a personal assault to us.
Please be a little considerate.
|In case you haven't seen my sister's word art yet :) I posted this already in a previous entry|
SO HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE PAIN?
From copycats, I just say to myself that I can sleep better at night. That no matter how hard they try to copy my work, I will always be a step ahead.
Why? Because while they're still trying to figure out how we created our item, we are already moving on to our next masterpiece.
As taught in most business schools, no matter how hard you try to copy the system of a successful franchise...let's say a milk tea...it will be hard to compete with the very first company who brought the idea here.
They've been around longer and have already solved out the kinks of their businesses...they've gotten most of the market share already...and they've established a brand in the process.
I'm not saying it's impossible for second, third or fourth runner ups to compete because there are a lot of successful milk tea companies here. What I'm saying is that it will be REALLY difficult for them.
From those who are unable to appreciate handmade items, I just remind myself that they are not my market.
Why would I try to please people who complain about a 50p accessory. I'll let shops which carry mass-produced items deal with these shoppers instead.
There are people who understand the work behind handmade items.
They are the people who will not complain about your price...some even want to pay more.
This entry is so long already. :(
Hope I didn't bore you though! :)
TO ALL MY CRAFTER FRIENDS AND SOON-TO-BE FRIENDS...
Good things happen to deserving people.
Just stick to your craft long enough to experience these blessings! :)
Love you all,Pin It Now!