For a long time now I've been selling my deer, moose and bear stuffed pillows on Etsy.
Over the last few weeks I've been designing a range of pillow covers to complement these pillows and this is what I've come up with.
I wanted them to have the vintage look of old t-shirts, lodge signs etc.
I know that putting your work out there on the internet is opening yourself up to the likelihood of having your work copied. As long as this is for private use I have no problem with it. We are all inspired by others and by things we come across online. One thing I love about blogging is the fact that so many of you give detailed tutorials on how you made something thereby giving others your permission to have a go themselves. I have been inspired to 'copy' something myself many times.
The problem comes when something you spend many hours designing and perfecting is copied exactly by someone else who then offers it for sale on the same site you sell on. A few months ago I came across a new Etsy seller who had made exact copies of a couple of my pillows. I contacted her and politely pointed out that Etsy etiquette is that designs are not copied and asked her to remove her items or redesign them. She did not respond to my message however did remove the items and has not relisted them, which is clearly an admission of guilt. Sadly today I have noticed that she is selling these two pillows and another of my designs on two UK based websites plus designs which she has copied from another Etsy seller (which she has not listed on her Etsy site as she clearly realises that she shouldn't be doing this!). My items are sold in shops throughout the UK and it's so annoying to be copied so blatantly. I've now had to e-mail her again to ask her to remove them from this site or I'll take the matter further. I hate being horrible to people and am really conscious that I must seem like a bitch but what else can I do? I feel like I'm the bad guy here but basically I don't want my work copied exactly by someone else and the upshot is that I don't think it's fair for people to do this.
Whenever I think of something new that I want to print onto a pillow the first thing I do is carry out a search on Etsy to make sure no-one else has come up with it first. There are a number of Etsy sellers who sell burlap pillows and we all have very distinctive and different items and styles. So much so that I could now tell at a glance if a pillow has been made by My Adobe Cottage, Ramona Owen or Jolie Marche, all of whose designs I love. We all use the same products for our pillows but we all have very different styles and very different items for sale. It's really horrible seeing your own designs for sale in someone else's shop.
Anyone else had any experience of this and have any advice to give?
It would be much appreciated.