Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Night Blues... and reds...

It's been a LONG week...

I came home and cracked open the last of the Christmas wine (I only drink red occasionally - if I'd been given half a case of white it would've been lucky to see in the New Year!). My sister works at the vinyard where they make these gorgeous wines and we all look forward to seeing it... I mean HER ...each Xmas.

Ok, so I've had a glass and a half of red wine.... time to change the tone of this happy blog for a minute and spill the beans on what's been eating away at me. I'll get it off my chest, clear the air (and any other cliche that involves having a good whinge) and then get back to being happy.

It's been a tough week of personal grief (with a hefty dose of three-year-old tantrums thrown in). On top of that, it's been a week where I've seen how vulnerable my business is to people abusing my intellectual property. I feel completely used - and not very much like writing the next tutorial or designing the next pattern.

I know this doesn't apply to most people - but can I please ask anyone who may be contemplating it - PLEASE think about it before you share a sewing pattern with friends, copy instructions or patterns in any way, copy designs (ie a bag style) without actually BUYING the pattern, publish online tutorials showing the methods that I've developed or blog the construction processes....

Just realise that you might be killing the goose that lays the golden egg.



Phew! I feel like I've lanced a boil or something. Sorry about the mess of pent-up emotional goo everywhere.... Can we go back to being happy now?

41 comments:

okie2thfairy said...

Sorry to hear about the pirating of your products. That's a shame and hopefully the person will see there errors and correct what is correctable. I LOVE your designs and can't wait to see more. You're extremely talented and will weather this storm!

My Black Cardigan said...

Good to hear you are enjoying some gorgeous wine Nikki. I hope there was some delicious food and/or yummy dessert to accompany it.

I'm not sure how to respond to this post. Blogging can be compared to relationships. There's give and take. You post something and people respond. And most of the time it's great... inspiring even. But then there's those few who just take. That's the crappy part. The knowledge you share on your blog and the time you take to teach others is amazing... inspiring even! And you can see from the blog comments you get, the publicity you receive and the success of your business that many people appreciate what you do. Please don't let the small minority ruin your relationship with all those who appreciate you.

Margaret @ Konstant Kaos said...

I was so saddened to read your post about IP. It is inevitable in this crafty world that someone will take something that you have done well and rip it off in a mediocre sense ...

A few of us have had the conversation about some well known market people who have blatantly ripped off someone else's design ideas. I guess the reason why I blog about my creative journey is that I want to show that I have trialled and developed something that is uniquely mine. I have this tub in my sewing room full of prototypes ... I appreciate how much time and effort goes into developing not only a product, but a pattern. Make sure you seek legal advice so that if it happens again, you are ready.

On the upside, it is the biggest form of flattery .... take care karma will get them ...

Liesl (Hoppo Bumpo) said...

Whoever said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery forgot the bit about it also being immoral and quite possibly theft. Hope everything gets sorted out for you. Sounds like a really tough week. Take care lovely Nikki.

Liesl x

Liesl (Hoppo Bumpo) said...

Oh goodness, when I started composing my comment I hadn't seen Margaret's above. I hope no-one thinks my thoughts are in reponse to hers, which are lovely. (Maybe that will teach me not to read blogs after a glass of red wine!).

Nikki said...

Ha! Thanks for making me laugh, Liesl!

On days when I'm more philosophical I can take it as flattery... the rest of the time I'm trying to make a living, and am putting my heart and soul into my work.... and I see it as theft.

By the way - it wasn't just ONE incident... it was ALL of the things I listed.

trashalou said...

Piracy, grief AND three y.o tantrums? What a bugger of a week. T.G. the weekend is here at last.

méri said...

Usually I'm a peaceful woman, but these things change me in an intolerant and intransigeant person!
Too many cases for my taste!
Sorry, Nikki, I can understand you don't want make publicity to such people BUT they deserve to be known as they really are and deserve to know that many people condemn what they are making.
If not, they go on and on without a public rejection.
At least make them to know you are at par what they are doing without any credits.
Similar cases I know cleaned the plagiarism after a public accusation.

(sorry Nikki and everybody for my English - I'm too angry to find the right English words!)

rousabout studio said...

The guilty party should get little joy from peddling themselves in someone elses shoes..(or bags etc), there cant be much satisfaction in being a fake.
Taking inspiration and experienced advice is one thing, Creativity cannot be copied..Drink up, What goes around comes around..
Jo

Tania said...

This is the stuff that makes my blood boil - and then it would be a really bad idea for me to drown the fury in vino (I'd only get more edgy). As I made a similar discovery today related to my own professional work and since I obviously haven't evolved as much as you, I'm planning the crafting of a voodoo doll softie.

Sweetpersimmon said...

As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the vulnerability of a business in getting ideas ripped off. Make sure you have a good lawyer. I sometimes find satisfaction in communicating with the people who have stolen my ideas, processes and designs to let them know what they have done.

On the other hand, I am so grateful to how much you have shared with us on your blog, through tutorials and pattern instructions. I have started my own sewing blog this month and so far, you are the only site that I have linked to so far.

Please keep up your good work, I'll keep buying your patterns and reccommending that all my sewing friends buy your stuff.

Thanks and take care,
Marjorie

handmaiden said...

well i cant add anything else to the above but on a happier note I am loving making your Mod bag and cut out the second one tonight ready to continue next week when I get my order from you. i think your patterns are terrific and full of great tips. I would never have thought I could make such beautiful bags without yr help.

Eileen O. said...

Nikki! How awful. Gives us a real strong hint on who it is. We can shame them. And I know Karma and the copyright police will get them.

Your work is so innovative and beautiful, no one could "copy it" without the rest of the world knowing it was being plagiarized.

Hang tough, Lovely Lady. We are on guard!

Kirsty said...

Oh No!!!

Thinking of you & hoping that "getting it off your chest" has helped.

Don't let it stop you Nikki.

One Flew Over said...

I can certainly commiserate on the 3 year old tantrums...I am living that every day too!

I hope after your post the offenders realise that no body wants or likes copied goods.

With the crafting community being so intermeshed it won't take long for word to get around just who these people are and what they are doing.

Keep your chin up!

Gina said...

Hi Nikki.
Posts like this are really important. Not just to get things off your chest, but because they're educational for those of us not so well-versed with IP or copyright issues. For example, until I read this post I didn't know that it would be wrong to blog about the process of making one of your bags (NB: I HAVEN'T DONE IT NOR DO I INTEND TO!). Also, I wouldn't have necessarily thought about lending patterns out (again, haven't done it, but NOW I KNOW NOT TO!!!) Now that I think about it, both of these things make lots of sense but sometimes the *thinking* gets lost amidst the crafting...

So thanks for being open. It will certainly prevent me, a new blogger, from doing any of the above. But this may also indicate that *some* of the things people have done to you are from ignorance rather than malicious intent. Perhaps it would be good to directly confront and let individuals know when things are wrong. I know if I'd done them, I'd prefer an open rap over the knuckles rather than being blacklisted by the wonderful crafty community!

Commiserations on the toddler front too. The last straw really...

x Gina

patsijean said...

About 3 years ago, I noticed that a vendor on eBay was selling embroidery designs that I knew were pirated from another designer. I sent an e-mail to the designer with the link to the site reporting the piriting of her design. She must have contacted eBay right away, because the entire store was completely shut down, and I got a note from her thanking me. We can help stop this form of theft. If I were to know who is stealing from you, I would delete their site from my blog list (if they have one) with a note explaining why.

Nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki said...

Thanks everyone - I do feel a bit better for having put it out there and getting people thinking about the issue of IP. I'm sure that most of the people who have done the things from my list of "Please don'ts" were completely unaware of the fact that they were jeapordising my pattern sales or upsetting me in any way. I had to let people know that any of those infringements in fact DO jeapordise my pattern sales and upset me - as it does for any original designer who is trying to make their living from their work.

Nikki said...

Sorry - that comment was riddled with appalling grammar.... I had a few distractions while I wrote it.

Aussie Jo said...

Hi Nikki,
I have been chatting to Downunderdale on email about the intellectual property issue. She is researching the issue of intellectual property on the net.
This is what I sent to her:
"Intellectual property is a big problem with the internet and an interesting area.

I recently had an inservice with the Catholic Education Office on ICT and they emphasized the importance of teaching children about copyright and acknowledging sources of material when using the internet.

Also my daughter has just begun a law degree and they scared the pants off her in the first lecture about the consequences of plagiarism. Even if accidently done during her course she could be prevented from being registered as a lawyer."
Cheers
Jo

Jodie said...

I hadn't thought much about this until I was at Stitches where I heard a group of woman discussing who would buy which pattern and then they would go home and photocopy them - not just for each other but for their whole sewing group....
hmmmmmm

Sandra @ Pepperberry and Co. said...

Hi Nikki! I'm so sorry to hear about your Blues. This post definitely caught me off guard, but in a good way. Like Gina, I'm new to both the blogging and sewing worlds, which means things like IP issues quite honestly don't cross my mind. Thank you for raising the issue and educating us, for all of your wonderful work, and for being such an inspiring blogger. I hope that your weekend is an improvement on your Friday and that IP issues become a thing of the past for the crafting community. xxx

rachelmp said...

I hope it works out. I know it happens and affects "real people" like you and your business. Please keep designing such fantastic patterns and the great tutorials. I love them. Rachel

pinsandthimbles said...

I haven't commented here before but I am a big fan of the free how-tos you so generously post FREE on your blog. I appreciate that these tutorials take time and energy.

I wanted to say - sorry to hear that you have been treated this way. Just because it's widespread practice that people copy and steal other people's designs, just because you hear about it happening to other people, doesn't make it less sickening or hurtful.

All the best for moving on to the Next Big Thing.

Melanie said...

That's so crummy, Nikki. I'm sorry this has been happening to you. Pattern 'sharing' is such a difficult problem to remedy, but it is so important that you (and we) stand up and say 'NO, this is not OK'. I hope any of those people who have 'innocently' done any of those things understand now how they've hurt your business. As for deliberate piracy, well I hope Karma does bite them on the a**e!

Columbia Lily said...

**sigh** crappy weeks stack up on you fast, don't they? Sorry things haven't been going well.

beccasauras said...

Can't wait to do the class on Thursday, I am already scouring the page of patterns, and my ones here at home, trying to decide. I am planning on making 6 over 6 weeks- too ambitious? I wouldn't be that ambitious if I hadn't met you! Don't let the losers get you down, and we can talk toddlers till the cows come home( my advice is what you did- a glass of wine! But that is not my professional response, of course) See you soon!

louise said...

Wine would last a lifetime in my home, I am practically teetotal! Sorry you have had your designs taken advantage of. Whether malicious or unintentional, it is wise to make everyone aware of the fact. x

Handmade said...

Major Bummer - there is so much goodwill in the blog world (on the whole) so much sharing ... but with the good comes the lazy and that's a shame. You totally inspire me - your business is a credit to you. I know how hard you work - in fact, it does worry me at times, but you're a woman on a mission - bit like myself - but I don't think I have the tiger in my tank like you do ... (do you remember that as a slogan from a petrol company many years ago?) anyway... so many appreciate what you do - and how you've made sewing very cool. By the way, your parcel arrived and I've already sold 2 patterns without really trying!!!! AND tantums ... my 12 and 14 year old - .... hard work!!!! I'll swap with you for a week and we'll compare notes!

Taccolina said...

Oh dear, I heard you'd had a spot of trouble and wanted to send best wishes. Human nature is so kind sometimes and yet also so grasping and mean at times. It's hard to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go off down the road remembering that you're cool and creative, unique and hard-working -- and you do deserve to be treated with respect. Play some Aretha, top vol. (The Cd's just behind the empty bottle of red wine.... ) Tee hee. XX

Christie said...

i think some people do not even think about their actions, especially those who are not trying to make a living off their work

i have always had wonderful responses from people when i give a purse made from one of your patterns as a gift & many people say 'you should sell these', very hard to explain to people that it doesn't work like that, not my pattern etc... people do not get it!

i hope people DO think twice before ripping off your work in any way- SAVE THE GOOSE!!!

our shabby cottage said...

Oh geez Nickki, I hope this week is a better one. I'm sorry to hear and read of these things happening. Unfortunatley it does. I know of a lady who does the most beautiful paintings - she saw that someone had taken her original photo, used it for a banner on Etsy, then was selling custom banners for people using this painting. It is infuriating.
The time spent with 3 year olds at my house was a nightmare - never mind the "terrible two's" it was the "Ferral Threes" here. I hope she's a bit calmer this week.....

Katy said...

How terrible - just thought i would say i love your patterns and i hope you aren't too discouraged.. Does the person in question know that they have done something wrong? I hope you popped them an email and enlightened them on the IP laws, Sometimes people are just ignorant :-P

Mandy said...

Sorry to here what you are going through Nikki. I've recently seen a few softies at Markets that I know the maker didn't design and that the pattern had written on it "for personal use only". I've been too shy to approach such sellers, but reading what has happened to you I definitely wont be next time.
Best wishes and I know how tiresome 3 year olds can be, I wont tell you about 4 year olds!!
PS My hubby is buying one of your patterns for me for mothers day, which one shall i pick....

sewjourn said...

Can't really add anything to all the comments already posted Nikki and don't know the answer but hope for the rest of us you keep doing what you do SO well - we appreciate it!

Elizabeth said...

Nikki, sorry to hear there are some issues - people are s$%^s soemtimes, hope it gets sorted out.

Michelle said...

Nikki - this is terrible! It gives you a sick feeling, doesn't it? I've had photos stolen and it was just awful. Can't imagine how you feel.

Hope it all comes good!

xx Michelle

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hate hearing about things like this, so sad and frustrating. Super hugs!

Kirrily said...

Grrrrr that totally sucks Nikki. I hope this week is better! Thanks for posting this - people definitely need to be made aware of this issue.

I have put a link to your post on my blog, so hopefully a few more people see it too.

x

mayaluna said...

I hope your feeling better, Nikki. I'm so frustrated for you. You are so generous, kind and straightforward... so unfair to be treated this way. I've been hearing this conversation thread {about copying) on several blogs. I think it's so important to bring it out in the open so that we can all be educated, informed, and protect one another. Thank you for not keeping it to yourself. Wish I could have poured a glass with you. I've been hyper alert about this, because a customer pointed out someone making (and selling) my exact buckets (even using same styling props and similar wording in descriptions). I confronted her, but that wasn't as satisfying as I had hoped. I think that your approach of bringing it out publicly was a good choice. Thanks for showing the way. Hope this week has brightened.
xo