Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stuff that Makes Me Mad, Part Two - Cheap Knockoffs

I have a friend I've never met. (Actually, one of my very best friends is someone I've never met, and NO, she is not imaginary, LOL.)

Anyway, this particular friend's name is Jane and she has a shop on Etsy called SnoopCattyCatt (CLICK HERE to see), which I think is unbearably cute to begin with.

Jane makes cat clothes. Not clothes with cats on them. Clothes FOR cats. One would not think there would be much of a market. Till one saw some of her creations.

Like this.And this.

Isn't her model the most GORGEOUS cat?! His name is Salvador and I just love his expression, which, to me, borders on minimally-veiled disdain, LOL!! Anyway, so I was puttering around on Pinterest yesterday and happened upon a pin by a woman who also likes cats. It was SALVADOR. In fact, it was this exact tuxedo pic, with one exception - NO WATERMARK. NO CREDIT GIVEN TO JANE. Or to Salvador, for that matter.

So I immediately went to Jane's shop on Etsy and found this watermarked pic of Salvador and pinned it, asking everyone who had seen the other pic to use this one instead. Then I contacted Jane about it and this is really the point of this whole rant.

Jane says she had not originally put watermarks on her pics because...well...she hadn't seen the need. After all, she's making bow ties and "shirts" for cats and didn't think anyone would even really be interested. Then someone downloaded a Salvador pic and put it on LOLCats. From there, it went viral and is now on a BUNCH of sites, with no credit given to Jane or Salvador.

Here's the crux of the matter. Jane is 100% positive that with all the exposure her items have gotten, it's only a matter of time till someone in some factory starts cranking out cheap knockoffs. I can just picture Jane's idea made in some crappy, cheap fabric and available at your local WalMart and PetCo.

This is not limited to Jane and her adorable cat clothes. Cheap quilt knockoffs REALLY devastated the American quilt market for a while. Like the cheap quilt sets pictured below.

Two thousand sets.

There are still many people who don't know and don't care about the difference between QUALITY quilts made by HAND versus something cranked out in a factory overseas somewhere. In fact, fear of the cheap knockoffs is what has prevented me (thus far) from making quilts to sell on Etsy.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-WalMart. In fact, we'll be there, shopping for groceries as soon as I hit "Publish Post". I'm not even so much anti-some-other-artist-copying-my-own-work. Like, if I post a pic of a quilt I've made and some quilter recreates it, giving it her own spin, then more power to her.

It just makes me sick, though, to think of someone's original idea being cranked out by the millions by an assembly line of machines in some factory. It makes me really sick to know that Jane herself is thinking of going into mass-production so that she at least benefits from her own ideas.

So PLEASE, if you happen to see some cheap imitation of Jane's (or any artist's) handmade work...PLEASE think of Jane and Salvador and DON'T BUY IT.


  1. When I pin something I do try to show where it came from, most times, the reason I pin is so I can refer back to it, either it is a tutorial or a receipe.... I had an issue with someone copying me and it was not fun at all.

    1. Agreed. It just makes me sick. The lady who pinned the pic had no idea she was doing anything wrong and she immediately repinned the watermarked pic.

  2. Robin, what you've said here is SO TRUE, especially if you're an artist. The thought of finding my jewelry designs reproduced elsewhere without my permission is exactly what's kept me off of!

    By the way, this is Melissa, your old Art Itinerant! ;-) Still missing my Raccoons!

    1. Hey, Melissa! We miss you!! I agree!

  3. I can see both sides of the story. Many ideas started off of someone else's though. We get where we are in 'progress' because someone takes someone else's idea and works it. (And I use the term loosely because I'm not so sure it's always progress! People texting while driving... I wouldn't call texting progress... but I digress.... LOL) And thing is, it doesn't mean someone saw it and copied it either. I never told anyone about my swiffer idea before I saw them in the store. LOL
    The people buying a quilt in a department store are much more likely to be the type who'd never spend the ton of money it costs for a handmade quilt in the first place. They wouldn't have bought a quilt at all if they didn't find a cheaper one in a store. Marketing yourself is a risk you take. I think that's how fads and fashions work - what's 'in' that year is because someone, or a few someones, come up with an idea, people see it and like it, and it becomes popular and everyone is doing it.
    I hope Jane does well with her shop but clothes for cats isn't new.
    That is a handsome cat!

    1. Hi, Tam and thanks for taking time to comment. I do understand what you're saying and I myself have used other people's ideas AS A JUMPING-OFF place. For example, most quilts are made from block designs that have been around practically forever, so if someone's quilt is a "fresh take" and then you do your own take on that quilt, that seems okay to me. And I really wouldn't mind as much if another artist totally copied my work, because at least that's someone with some talent. It's just the mass-produced knockoffs that kill me. I'm SURE I'm as guilty as the next person of unwittingly buying mass-produced stuff that was originally someone's labor of love. I guess I'm just trying to raise awareness.
      I agree - Salvador is quite handsome!