Love Your Business: Guest Post #20

Thanks so much to everyone that participated in Love Your Business Month
There were so many other things that I wanted to cover and the interest in this series was so amazing that I have decided to hold off on posting some contributions and end the business month.  I'm starting a bi-weekly series here called, you guessed it Love Your Business! So I hope you stick around for a twice montly feature and if there are any topics you want covered or if you want to contribute please leave a comment in one of the posts (I read every comment left) or email me at 

We all know it exists.  We have seen it on Etsy, at Craft Fairs, and at the's everywhere.

What I am speaking of is copies.  Copies of an Indie Designer's jewelry, copies of a local t-shirt designer's ideas, and copies of big name designer clothing.

Copying is an unfortunate fact of designing life, 
but that doesn't make it ok.
Forever 21 has been sued several times for copying bigger names.    And we keep buying it.  We buy it because it's cheap and we love the style and we cannot always afford the big name designer product.

Copying happens on a large scale and on a small scale.

I have a lot of friends who run small businesses and they often post on their Blog/Facebook/Twitter about someone copying their work.  Every time I read about this I am annoyed and a little shocked.

I guess I have too much faith in human beings....but don't we all know that stealing someone's work is wrong?

Trolling Etsy to find ideas for one's next line is wrong.  Buying something from a small handmade business  in order to dissect it and recreate it is wrong.

Forever 21 and stores like them copy and they make a lot of money.  So, one might say: "I can just copy so and so's designs and I too will make a lot of money."

Possibly, but that business will not have a great chance of lasting.  I predict that in 50+ years we will remember and respect Dian Von Furstenburg but I cannot say the same about copy-cat stores.

So how does this play into your own business and designs?   The key is to find inspiration and then use that to make your own original work.

I admire a lot of shops that are similar to mine and I browse them looking for inspiration.  I find inspiration in the colors, textures, and photography.  I also browse through magazines, fashion books, and Pinterest {of course!}.

This is where I find my inspiration,  not my exact designs.
I think a lot of copying is done innocently.  For example - someone buys a print at a local art fair and they think "I could make this myself....and I will sell it on Etsy!"   I totally support everyone who wants to open a handmade/indie business, but please do not start by copying.

It comes down to respect.
If one wants to become a handmade/indie business owner, then she should respect the industry.  Respect the others out there making a living off their wares.

When I stumble upon an item I love and cannot live without, I would rather buy it than make my own.  I have a weakness for prints.  I might be able to mess around and make my own print {I am a diy-er at heart}, but why not support that lovely artist who put their love and valuable time into that design?

By supporting handmade sellers I am respecting their work.   
By Copying a handmade seller I am disrespecting the industry.
There is a plethora of inspiration in the handmade world.  I don't know about you, but I can easily get stuck in the Etsy rabbit hole for hours.   Take advantage of this inspiration and make your own original mark on the world.

Each one of us is an original.  Let's not cheapen that fact by copying the next design we see.
Tell me, how do you find inspiration?    
Have you had to deal with a copy-cat? 
 If so, what did you do?

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  1. I'm a new blogger stopping by from the blog hop. Id be honored if you would follow me and give feedback when I post. Thank you! Shannon smith

  2. This is a great post, thanks for sharing your insights Gina! I totally agree :)

    1. Thanks Beth - glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Interesting post! It's hard to find the line between being inspired and being a copy-cat, though.
    xo Heather

    1. Thanks! It is really hard and I think it just takes practice. It is so easy to copy...but takes a little more effort to do your own thing.

  4. This is a great post, Regina!!! Love it!

  5. This is excellent and oh-so-important, Gina! Thank you for sharing and reminding everyone (myself included) of the difference between inspiration and copying.

  6. Great Article! I totally feel the same! I also often find it difficult to define what is inspiration and what is copy cat... especially if I design something later, then realize it was not my original idea. So tough to do sometimes!

  7. I agree with Jacinda. i have been making my jewelry for 3 all started as a craft. few months ago i find others just like me with their touch but very similar. people make same things without knowing and i have actually been attacked by some people saying i copied when i have been doing this for 3 years! i love what i do. I love my passion. i love the variety i put into it to make it a little different and unique. enjoyed this article!