Friday, November 5, 2010

Is imitation the greatest form of flattery?

I'm not so sure.

Last weekend at one of our markets I spied another stall holder selling something that looked very similar to my universal liner.

I felt like my little bubble had burst. I have kind of always thought I was on borrowed time. I couldn't believe that no-one else was making and selling them, and wondered how long it would take.

I have no issue with competition. It's how the world works. Monopolies are a bad thing, in an economic sense.

But this was different.

I truly wouldn't have minded if her liners were different to mine. Or the same price. Or if I hadn't previously sold her one. Or she wasn't a follower of my Facebook page.

But they were identical. They were $5 cheaper than mine. They were in almost exactly the same fabrics. She is a follower of my facebook page. And I am almost positive I have sold one to her previously.

In some ways, I can uderstand her logic. She has probably been to loads of markets and realised that no-one else, aside from immie&ollie, is making and selling pram / carseat liners. Hey hey, opportunity! And at markets it sometimes seems that every other stall holder is selling variations of the same item. I can truly understand that.

It's not like I invented the pram liner either. You can buy them. They're out there.

The thing is though, that my liners aren't like the reversible bucket hats, or pillowcase dresses, or boys' shorts for which patterns are available publicly and commercially. Even when they are mamas work so so hard to find unique fabric combinations, embellishments and stylistic features that make them uniquely their own.

But my pattern is mine. As in I drew it. I designed it. In fact, I have spent most of this year drawing it, trying it, refining it, and getting it perfect. It's not available at a fabric store, or online.

But more than that, it's not in the spirit of supporting other work-at-home parents.

Some of my lovely customers raced over to warn me about "the copycat pram liner lady" - this isn't fair to her really. And I am sure some of her customers said the same thing to her about me. See, no-one is a winner.

I'm still trying to decide whether I should contact her about it, or whether there is nothing I can do so best to just leave it alone.

I certainly don't want to create bad feeling. I love the markets - i love meeting new friends and being inspired by so many other clever mamas. I don't want to spoil that.

Ah, decisions....


  1. its a hard one jen
    i know a least 2 other people making pram liners, but they are very different to yours. your fabric choices are divine and the quality is amazing.
    i've had more than one customer start up a business selling the exact same thing i have sold them in the past. but what can you do?
    you have to take it as a form of flattery or you'll eat yourself up about it.
    good luck with whatever you decide :)

  2. Thanks Shan - I appreciate your words. It is just one of those things - i'm sorry it's happened to you too. And truly, I don't mind anyone else in Brisbane making and selling them at the same markets as me - it's the outright copying that makes me cross :) Ah well. Tis life, isn't it.
    Hope you're feeling better lovely

  3. yeah its a real shame jen... hopefully you'll be known as "the original and the BEST"

    yes thank you i'm feeling soooo much better. now just trying to back on top of everything after 2 weeks went missing from my life :)

    have a beautiful day xxxx

  4. Is it possible it could be a coincidence? I am sort of in this situation, on the other side: I spent months working out a pattern, sewing it, adjusting, sewing again, ripping it up, remaking it... and then saw an almost identical thing available for free on the internet. I certainly didn't see it before, but there it is, and although the fabric isn't the same, it's close to what I chose for my example (big colourful dots, vs my big colourful hearts). I am shattered - what do I do now?? I have the choice of throwing away all the hard work and late nights that I put into this, or going ahead and being thought a copycat.. An unhappy situation for everyone, I think :(

  5. Hi Jen
    I thought I would say hello, and this seemed a good post to do it. I was looking up my own blog 'From Mum to Me' and I found you at 'From Me to Mum'. I live on the other side of Australia from you, but I have two wonderful children too. I enjoy your blog and I hope you found a solution to your dilemma.


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