I was recently on Twitter just reading random stuff and I came across a small business owner who was complaining about the influx of inquiries about how to run a similar business like hers. In so many words she shared, “you have to keep SOME things private.” At that part I agreed, then I felt a tug at my heart. I’ve read a lot of rants and frustrations from small business owners that really have made it BIG on this side of the industry. At some point lending a hand becomes a bit more less and less (I do understand that not everyone has the best intentions when asking questions). The more I grow in my business, the more I see the competitiveness that arises and just like anything else the “cliques” that exist. Is there anything terrible about these things? No, that’s not what I’m focusing on. Just like in any setting we all gravitate to those that can relate to us and have similar interests…it’s just natural.
However, in reading these different perspectives and frustrations from owners about people copying their work, had me really thinking and even some what concerned about my own work being copied by someone GASP! My first run-in with this was when I started researching how to purchase larger quantities of mugs. Naively I sent an email to a small business owner who hand paints mugs like myself and asked her… Wait for it… no response. I was shocked and a mad at first (how are you NOT going to respond..rude), because I felt like I’m not copying you I just don’t want to keep running around trying to buy mugs! She never responded…
So I figured that’s kind of how it works – and I had a hard time not feeling like I would do the same just in case the shop really took off. I mean what if someone makes a Camera Mug like MINE?!? So I figured I better play it safe and keep things to myself that I find really helpful or “tricks of the trade” that I’ve had to trial and error to find out. It’s been a lot of work these past several months, from replacing mugs because the paint did not withstand normal use to hunting for mugs and seriously praying for a consistent set of mugs to work with. Why would I want to just let someone have the easy way of starting up? I’ve put my heart and money into this thing.
Then I got an email today, asking what technique I used in designing my mugs. She ended it with