Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Etsy “Con” Artist: I’m Not Flattered Yet, Please Try Harder

The phrase imitation is the sincerest form of flattery is just another way of saying “to copy is to flatter.”  And on Etsy, this form of flattery is everywhere.  If you’re going to spazz out every time you see someone copy another artist, you’re going to need a big bottle of Xanax to sell on this “One of a Kind” (OOAK) venue.

I’ve sold my altered vintage jewelry on Etsy for three years (along with hundreds, who knows, maybe thousands of other vintage jewelry crafters).  I see a lot of copycats but I know it goes with the territory.   I’m practical.  Maybe there are no original ideas, just reinterpretations?  But, this blog rant is not about re-creations, it’s about rip-offs.  And, when it comes to ripping off my product, I must speak my truth.

Them's Some Big Cajones
So, in a nutshell: Another Etsy shop owner buys my least expensive bracelet, copies it (poorly), posts her fugly cuff bracelet for sale in her Etsy shop, and, attempts to return the original piece to me for a refund. As my husband said, “them’s some big cajones…”

And, he’s right. But.., rather than let it go, which is best in all things Etsy and in life, I’m going to ignore the wisdom in my head, and write about it as a form of exorcism therapy. Oh, I’m also going to send “Ms. Cajones” a link to this blog. I’m not going to ask her to remove the item from her shop. No one’s going to buy it anyway. (Secretly hoping April from Regretsy buys it, I have a major girl crush on April, she’s a hilarious version of American Idol’s Simon Cowell - except for handmade artists, and did I mention she's funny.

Just about every month I get a “convo,” (that’s Etsy slang for email conversation), asking, “how do you make your bracelet cuffs?”  Or, “what clasp do you use” to hold this or that necklace together?   Sometimes it so completely unconsciousness that it’s amusing.  And while I usually don’t respond, I do admire the ball-sack.

How to Spot a Trickster
Other times, people know they are violating one of the 10 Cs, so they try to be really tricky.  I can spot a trickster a lot better having sold on Etsy for a while.  The trickster always begins with the back-story.  For example, here’s an actual convo from a potential customer.  “I’m really interested in purchasing this bracelet for my daughter’s 30th birthday next month in Atlanta but I was wondering what you use to create…

Tricksters accidently use lingo, like questioning how a product “adheres” to a “surface”.  Serious buyers don’t use those words.  Serious buyers always ask one or all of the same questions:  What’s the color?  How will it fit?  And, how quickly can I get it?  That’s someone who wants to buy your product, end of story.

Often tricksters are extremely concerned.  They worry the product will fall apart, and because of their immense paranoia, they must be told specifically how it was created to alleviate their self-torture.  A money-back guarantee is not sufficient for them.  My 100% positive feedback is not enough for these worrywarts.  They must have precise details.  Preferably asap, stat, immediately.  And, please include a detailed photo tutorial.  Close-up photos are very important to worriers.

Fabulous, Not Fugly
Over the year’s I’ve played in the sandbox with my tricksters, leading them on a little, revealing just enough to confuse or annoy them, asking them if I can attend their daughter’s 30th birthday party in Atlanta…  But, I’ve embarked on a new path of spiritual growth and I don’t have time to mess around. 

So if you want to rip me off, come and get it.  You can copy my jewelry but ya can’t copy my style, baby. 

Invoice from Dabchick to Ms. Cajones  (Dec., 5 2011)
Dabchick Sends Bracelet to Ms. Cajones in Dec.

Fugly Cuff for Sale at Ms. Cajones’ Etsy Shop (Jan. 2012)
Ms. Cajones lists Fugly Cuff in Jan.