Thursday, February 17, 2011

Copycats


Man, it never ends.  I have blogged before about how much I loved the fairy doors I have seen (and bought) over the years from Monkeytail and Wellington, who unfortunately have now closed the doors on their online store earlier this year, but you can still find their gorgeous doors from their new store on etsy.
 (I have to point out that I do not know the makers either!)


I was quite disturbed to see yesterday on a madeit newsletter, an almost identical product.  These doors are also gorgeous.  The door designs are a little different, but the photography is a complete rip-off as is the descriptions they used to described their product..  If you didn't know that Monkeytail and Wellington (an Australian brand also) existed, you would probably not know about the complete dodginess of it all.

The whole thing depresses me terribly and I hate seeing something pop-up, so closely inspired by, if not completely copying an existing maker.  We have all seen it before and obviously it happens far too frequently - it's like there is a dearth of creative minds or originality.  I personally am of the belief that copycats do not prosper - they can't - they lack the creativity and dynamism to progress and flourish.

To be honest, there are parts of being an online handmade retailer that I don't enjoy - and this is one of them.  Georgie Love is and has always been a labour of love and passion - it's goal was never to make oodles of money (cause lordy, I certainly don't), but to support, encourage and promote handmade makers in Australia, which I remain committed to.  The community and market has changed though - it's certainly bigger and a lot more people are having a hand in making and trying to run a successful creative business, which is wonderful.  There are creative, talented people getting the recognition and support they deserve, I am wholeheartedly for all for that. 

It is not however as fun and rewarding as it used to be - people's motivations have changed, people are less nice perhaps or maybe more cynical.  There is less joy in the art of simply making. Or maybe I am more cynical, having seen so much change and a fair bit of ugliness.  I don't know what the solution is.

11 comments:

JoeyNomad said...

That is so depressing. sometimes lobbying via twitter and so on works but i don't want to now how many copied items are out there and we don't even see half of them. particularly awful when big retailers like topshop and asos start ripping off although often the are not aware they are doing it! GRRR.

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

Hey Sally, I thought exactly the same when I saw it! I have a little fairy door that i bought on etsy which is quite differnet to the monkey tail and wellington ones... but I saw the newsletter and thought the same....
I am constantly frustrated by the blatant copying from etsy on Madeit- it makes me so cross. having been a "victim' personally it is awful... but it amazes me to think that people think no one will notice.... esp. when they also ripp off the listing wording and the photo itself. I HATE it. I really do. I really feel like you should have to sign some kind of contract or something stating that all designs are your own... maybe? I think it is rare that a week goes by when i get the madeit newsletter and there is not at least one item completely copied from etsy.

Belinda said...

I just don't know why people can't use their own imagination and have to rip of others!

I'm glad you bought this to our attention though, because I saw this in the Made It newsletter and was planning to buy one - I hadn't heard of the original Monkey Tail and Wellington ones.... Now I will buy one from the originator not the copier!

Frankie and Ray said...

Thank you Sal for bringing this up. It's kind of the elephant in the room that should be talked about more often, depressing and tiresome though it is. I do wish people who might think about making a copy of something they've seen would bear in mind that it's someone else's idea, and that it's the idea that belongs to someone else. We can only just keep plugging away and reminding people of that fact I guess. In the meantime, keep up the good work. We makers love your effort and enthusiasm! Jo xx

Milkwood Design said...

Hmmm... I've seen these before from lots of different makers. If they are copying the the description, that is a bit low, but I don't think this is such a unique idea that you can say that anyone else who does it is copying. Little doors for little people and fairies are often in lots of older fairy stories - it is quite an old "image". Small makers cannot make enough to satisfy the market sometimes, and if someone is doing their own door design (as it appears, I haven't studied their ranges in depth), and having a go at launching their own small business, then good luck to them. We all get inspiration from lots of different places - of course, outright copying sucks obviously, but to me it looks like they have seen similar products, been inspired, and created their own original version of it. I really don't think the description is much of a copy either - granted, it is a bit airy-fairy, but that is the way with this kind of stuff! All their mentions of little fairy notes and the like are not original text or imagery to either party. I don't really feel comfortable with someone being singled out like this - if someone is reselling junk from China, or doing an exact copy, then fair enough, but this seems to be just someone doing their thing. And P.S. I don't know either of them either!

Georgie Love said...

Oh I appreciate what you are saying and have seen a number around too, lots of different types, designs and ideas - but when even the product shots/photography and descriptions are also so remarkably similar then I have to cry foul, I do. I see so much work that is heavily "inspired" by others and I am completely fed up with it.

Davia said...

As artists and creators we are all inspired by other people and their creations. I see nothing wrong with taking an idea and stretching it, distorting it or putting our own slant on it. But it has to be significantly different as an end product. What I worry about a lot is direct copy. It is piracy in its worst form. Especially when a small business is working hard to get off the ground with very little support or financial backing. It is a struggle to hold onto your intellectual property when you are starting out or small business and even hobby businesses. Thanks for opening the discussion, it gives us food for thought.

willywagtail said...

I'm not sure I would call that blatant copying. The doors appear to be entirely different styles to me and I can see the necessity for having little legs nearby to give the size contrast. I haven't read the description. Of course it would not be nice to copy that. Copying of styles is what makes fashion. How many people are willing to walk a track all their own? We call them weirdos oreccentrics.Not too many are game to do that and also not a lot have the imagination. Cherrie

stephanie said...

I see this all the time.. I agree that the copycatters never prosper. One hit wonders, always behind the trend.
The craft scene as a whole is not nearly as rewarding (financially and soulfully) as it was a couple of years ago. I've practically given up in the studio.

Hayley said...

I have to disagree with you. I have looked at both places and I really don’t feel the description is much of a copy. Yes, they are about the same thing, but the products are about the same thing, how could they not be similar in content? As for the idea of fairy doors themselves, I really don’t feel Monkeytail and Wellington were the pioneers in this field – maybe just the first time you had seen it, and they are obviously very different in style. I agree, this particular photograph does look very similar, but there is also about 20 others that look nothing like this. It just makes me think, does this mean that every person I see selling pinafore dresses, button hair clips and buntings fall into the same category of lacking creativity, I am sure their pictures look very similar, with similar descriptions and are not original ideas. As a creator of some of these items myself, I hope not and I can’t help but think, what gives you or anyone else the right to make that call?

Anonymous said...

i have just found out another seller has copied me on madeit and it has really upset me but the part that really shocked me was they've named their item the same as mine and styled their photos the same and some almost identical to mine too :( i'm guessing there's nothing that i can do about this either!? luckily the madeit community is mostly filled with supportive, creative and SKILLED people who are passionate about crafting handmade items and most aren't trying to make a quick buck off others success. there is plenty of room for hair clips, pinafores etc but don't study someone elses product, even borrow it or buy it just to copycat. pathetic.