Wednesday, November 19, 2008

With Dignity And Grace

Dear Ladies,

I have not been the best blogger lately. Tis The Season at Shabbyfufu and I have been literally swamped under with packing and shipping, the usual amount of custom orders and the like. For all of our website customers reading this post, I am extremely grateful for your continued support of my endeavors, that of the artists who also sell their work on Shabbyfufu, and for the truly wonderful emails. I think that I have posted these thanks before....but I wanted to do so again, especially in light of the Thanksgiving Holiday that will be upon us next week. Thank you and HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

We are entering into our Tenth Year of business on the internet in a few short weeks. Because of the longevity of Shabbyfufu, I am often asked for advice or commentary on a variety of topics relating to the business of selling on the web. A lot has changed over the course of the ten on line years that I have been at it, some for the good and some...not so much. For instance, my website is totally html based, and was a real learning experience back when it was first designed...and oftentimes can create a nightmare of issues when something goes astray with the html. Nowadays, anyone can have a website and just put in their product with some photos and away they go on the road to sales! This has allowed for a plethora of shops, which I know has been a blessing to many stay at home women who are creative and need an outlet in which to sell their wares. There truly is room for all on the internet, however.....some of the things that I have seen or are brought to my attention are a prescription for trouble. I attribute Shabbyfufu's sucess to many things. First and foremost, as a spillover from the way that I live my life, I conduct my business with dignity and grace. I strive to treat all of our customers with the value that they deserve. I maintain a strict set of business ethics, with honesty and integrity at the forefront. I never copy other people's ideas, and work hard to come up with new products that I feel the customers of Shabbyfufu will enjoy.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case with a few sellers out there...which is often brought to my attention by one of our customers. With the blowup proportion of the internet, it's become easy pickings for others to steal an idea...and then put it out there for sale. Mind you, I do not mind at all giving inspiration! I was an art teacher for a time. I have been a contributing writer for Romantic Country Magazine and currently for Romantic Homes Magazine. I have a wonderful long term relationship with the girls who also sell on Shabbyfufu, and have helped them with their business goals. Along the way I have helped a few others as well....some have been users or players, but I feel that "what goes around, comes around", and that's okay. I do not mind (and am flattered actually) if you are inspired by one of my ideas (or one of my artists, past or present) to create something for yourself.

But to outright copy an idea for SALE is not ethical, it's unscrupulous, not to mention illegal!
You may gain some immediate satisfaction and notoriety perhaps, but in the end you will be found out. I have seen it happen before, and if you desire to run an honest business and stay there for the long haul......then copying what you see on another website, in a magazine, Flickr or Etsy is not the way to accomplish long term success.

I hope that the couple of copiers that I have been told about who are imitating my style~
read this and reconsider what they are doing, and I will be be respectful in not calling them out publicly here. That being said....I was trying to catch up a bit with some of my blog friends last night, and read on Melissa of Adored Before's blog. She has allowed me to post this excerpt.....below:

"The fact is that most people can spot a fraud. People know when someone is not genuine. If you are in the business of taking someone else's ideas and claiming them as your own, know that there are people out there who are aware of your practice and you have undoubtedly not only lost their business, but their respect."

This subject apparently needs to be addressed every now and then. Please feel free to use any part of this to post on your blog, and link back to me.

XOXO,
Janet

PLEASE NOTE: After a few very thought provoking comments have been left, I want to point out that this post was written in the spirit of staying genuine for the long haul. It is not directed towards anyone specifically who has left a comment and has had their work compromised, I write only from and about my own experiences. This topic always seems to touch a nerve when put out there, wherever it may be.

17 comments:

  1. Beautifully said. Its amazing how the line between inspiration and plaigarism is so easily (& OFTEN) blurred. I hope our musings dont create a sense of paranoia among our blogging friends! That was never my intention and I am sure it is not yours. This is a topic that had been on my mind and I wanted to throw it out there for people to kick around. Thanks for your support and for being a wonderful INSPIRATION to us all! Congrats on your decade of success.

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  2. Janet you have said it and then some.... I have been finding it increasingly difficult and have also been afraid to put out some new product that I just finished for the Holidays because I KNOW that the minute its out there it will be copied.... since I only have four of them done I have decided to wait until next year to unveil them as I have not seen anything like it anywhere else...

    I can not in all reality FATHOM the idea of someone doing such a thing... and have had several friends whose work has not only been copied but claimed as ....
    made by the person who copied these items

    There is more I would like to say ...however I would make a tremendous amount of enemies if I came out with my open and honest remarks...especially about some people who copy.....and belong to these cliques ... then single out others because they dont like them .... only to say they have copied them when they really havent....

    I have become completely disillusioned and disheartened by the treatment bestowed on another out of sheer rudeness and a laziness and failure in effort to find their own ideas ....instead using the creative talents of another

    JO

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  3. Wonderfully put fufu. I know how hard you work to come up with your fab original designs & though flattering to be copied & admired, so totally wrong & not very original. I have seen a few of the HP items once sold on my website copied & not even asked if the person could have it painted or paint it herself. I even saw one in a copy of one of our favorite decorating mags in a featured home's article! Yikes! you are dealing with it on a much grander scale due to your original designs on everything to lighting to your gorgeous dress forms. I hope this post brings to light the frustration that you & other talented ladies experience seeing their ideaas copied & sold. Congrats on being the old lady on the web my friend! Many, many more years of continued success!!xoxox tutts

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  4. BIG PS....

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

    HUGS

    JO

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  5. Janet ~ this was a great post and one that DOES need to be addressed from time to time. Whether it is original ideas that we sell, graphics on our pages or just the setup of pages, etc., people really need to realize how much HARD WORK goes into maintaining a web site with fresh new products and ideas. I hear you on the HTML. My entire site is done that way by hand by me and I have had entire pages of my code copied. Not too fun! Hopefully the "copiers" out there will read your post and realize what they are doing is unethical and counter productive to us all. Keep up the great work Janet! ~Stacy~

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  6. Congratulations to Shabbyfufu for your coming Tenth Year of business!
    Congratulations also for addressing this problem, I can see you've put lots of thought and time into this post Janet.

    I know from personal experience you are an honest and fair person Janet, not only to your buyers but to the artists who sell their work on your website, I know my work sold on your site will be well respected and protected and will be given credit back to me when appropriate. Unfortunately it seems to be a recent trend not to respect or have any sort of business ethics lately.
    Don't we all at sometime get inspiration and ideas from others, I have some gorgeous vintage prints hanging above my little area where I paint, I have a scrap book filled with chippy china photos and prints from paintings etc., at sometime artist are bound to create the same object or paint the same subject, but to actually trace or directly copy every detail of another artists work is not right!! I don't understand how anyone could imagine it is??

    I've recently had some issues with my work being copied, traced, images taken, changed etc. etc... as you said Janet, it's usually a buyer spotting the copied work and reporting back, to me this means the copier is looked down upon.

    I've noticed a distinctive pattern of these frauds, they claim in "their" item (the copied item) description that they came up with the idea ages ago and have been working on it for a long time, they also seem to undercut the original artist's price, I'm also amazed at the fact that if you confront the copiers you are the worst in the world, like you the one who has been copied has committed a terrible crime by pointing out you would prefer this person didn't steal or use your work, I've felt quite sick over some of the issues I've had to deal with lately, really though it's my work and I've certainly been working hard to produce it, so why did I feel bad??

    I find it interesting in a way, has anyone else noticed these behaviour patterns?

    Janet I read your post this morning, I needed to get things in my mind sorted before I left my comment, I did lots of mind sorting while I was painting today, thus the long post!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!
    Eat an extra portion for poor old me over here in Australia - we don't celebrate Thanksgiving!!

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  7. Hi Janet, First off, Wow.. Ten years of Shabby FuFu.. I mean this from my heart you are an Inspiration for so many of us. Congratulations! Beautifully said and written on taking others ideas and making them yours. I have had it happen many times in the last year and there is nothing I could do about it. I agree, please use my work and or ideas as Inspiration but Please don't copy them as your own. I'm Affraid this must be addressed time to time and you did it Beautifully.Your Work is definately Inspirational. Have a wonderful Holiday Season too! Jamie

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  8. Well said sweets!!! I hope this helps take care of this problem...but as you said...The internet has changed ALOT in 10 years..I have only been follwing you for about 3 years ..& I know "your" style & LOVE it:)
    We will always stand with you hon...Have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING:)
    Hugs..
    just a customer...
    Deb:)

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  9. Janet,
    I thought it has been 10 years...CONGRATS...just to remind you and to toot your horn as well as others...I have followed YOU for those 10 YEARS! I bought from you faithfully via ebay and have ever since on your website!! I am very much aware of the copycats and recently even brought to your attention one of them.... and I found it extremely rude and disrespectful and immediately contacted you. I ADORE your work and love everything you do... Congrats and Happy Thanksgiving...
    One faithful customer in the lovely Pacific Northwest!

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  10. Hey Janet; Congratulations on your up coming 10 yr in business how wonderful for you. And I respect what you have posted about. It is a hard subject to bring up, but as others have said, it does need to be addressed.

    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs;
    Alaura

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  11. Very very well said Janet and so true too. thanks for bringing it out into the open, as an artist myself I have come across this problem before as well. It is also happening with my little artistic photos taken from my blog now too!! yeesh!
    Alicia ~ time worn style

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  12. Janet,
    This has been a topic since I've been in business for sometime... I had a store, with Market items and handmade items. There was 3 of us (different stores) in the same shopping center, but with different taste. (at first). The customers loved that and would comment on how they enjoyed going to each of us. One was collectables, one was victorian, and I had more country and quilt shop. Well needless to say, if you put something in your window the other two would get it in. I just couldn't understand when it could of worked out so well.

    This even goes on with Market items. Willow Tree Angels hit the market and became a huge success. Next Market you saw all the want-a-be Willow Tree Angels.

    You said it well and just remember, your work is beautiful and that it cannot be repeated the same, with your talent.

    Blessings,
    Bonnie

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  13. dear janet...class and honesty ALWAYS WINS OUT & SHINES THROUGH..you said what you had to say very eloquently..
    i owned a gift shop in melbourne (australia) for 10 years..and i had people blatantly coming in with cameras to photo handmade items..
    they would bring pen/paper to draw silk ribbon pillows etc..IT never ended!!
    i also had a staff member who looked up all my ladies who supplied goods to me...she took all their phone numbers..then opened up a similar shop to mine in another state!! I had a mail order catalogue and she even tried to emulate that!!
    so I know exactly what you mean..BUT dont let it get you down..
    take care..congrats on your 10 years..
    xx andrea

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  14. Well said Janet.
    Such a sad state of affairs when some people so blatantly copy others the way they do.
    Congratulations on the 10 years of your business.
    Alison

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  15. I'm seeing this post a little late, Janet. I'll be honest, it got my curiosity up so I went and Googled it and after a little looking (very little), I found it. I've seen other items that are your ideas but this one did take the cake and everything else (so to speak).

    Who wants fake Shabbyfufu when they can have real? It's like having one of those fake Louis Vuitton purses where everyone knows it's a fake from a mile away.

    You're one in a million, in more ways than one.
    xoxo~Tracie

    I already said Happy Thanksgiving, but will do it again "Happy Thanksgiving!" to leave things on a happy note, Ms. Class Act.

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  16. Hiya Sweet Janet, im popping by to catch up with you and this post really caught my eye. I have just come back from a litle blog break and this subject youve addressed is partly why i left. I just got to the point where i was so tired of seeing my creations being copied left right and centre and so tired of the nasty cliques that unfortunately are around in blogland.
    I think you approached this subject with much grace (more than i would have...grr i tend to just get so mad), so i take my hat off to you sweetpea.
    You truly are one of the lovely ones!

    Hugs,
    Shann :)

    P.S hats off to our friend Gail there,she hit the nail on the head. I know of someone who has been copying her for sooooo long now and its disgraceful.

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  17. I have to say I agree with you on those who copy ideas... while to inspire is great... copying is not... I have had lots of my ideas copied and teddy bears i made picked aprt and patterns copied but I have found.. yeah they may have short term success, but people alwasy come back to the original and the best.. cause whoever tries to immitate your style always misses that special and magical "something" it cant be helped if someone somewhere has had the same idea of their own back BUT.. grrr anyway what im trying to say its like ugg boots over here no matter how often they are copied people turn to the real thing..
    take care hun
    I adore your work
    Vic xx

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