Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Its' so quiet, almost *too* quiet...

Today was my son's first day of daycare.
I've been looking forward to this day with a mix of giddy excitement and understandable parental anxiety.
Just 2 days a week, but I am already extremely optimisitic about what those days will allow me to do in terms of growing this business. I also hope that it will make the other 5 days of the week that I spend with my son that much more enjoyable.
For over a year now I have felt like I've been in one place while my head was in the other...thinking about work while at the playground...planning the afternoon with my son while I should be e-mailing clients.
It's nice to finally have a clear distinction between the two.
I'll still be doing the business full-time, but now with two whole days in the middle of the week to dedicate to that, solely,I can relax about making the rest of it fit more casually into my evenings and naptimes.
I already miss the little dude, but I think the break will be good for both of us. He seems to really love the place and even though I thought *we* had a lot of toys, our collection pales in comparison to that of the daycare!
Here's to new adventures.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Etsy: Artists' friend or foe?

Wowsa! It’s been a while…

So we finally worked out our publishing problems and back in the land of bloggers.

The holiday season was hectic, but wonderful. The little dude continues to grow like a weed. Life has been rolling along smoothly and I consider myself lucky.

I’ve debated posting a entry about Etsy(, but finally decided that this sort of issue needs some attention…and if enough of us write tiny obscure entries then maybe after a while it will get some attention.

No, I don’t mean that Etsy is too obscure and needs the attention.

I’m talking about, for lack of a more eloquent word, the “shitty” side of Etsy. The side that the big bosses running Etsy simply play ignorant to and claim no liability for. Copyright infringement and copycats.

For anyone reading this that is not aware of, in theory, it is a marketplace for artists and crafters to use( Ebay without the auction aspect) to promote and sell their HANDMADE wares. The big issue is that with over 30,000 users there are many many many sellers that are not HAND-making the things they sell. Worse yet, there are hundreds of items for sale that are blatant knock-offs of successful, established, small businesses…and even a few huge ones. Disney? StarWars? Dora? Thomas the TankEngine?

Overall, I’ve loved the quality and uniqueness of the items I’ve purchased through Etsy. There are many talented artisans finding success in its marketplace. Kudos to all of them. Keep up the great work and I wish you all success in your creations!

Maybe this is just urban legend, but didn’t Disney once sue a daycare for painting murals of their characters on the facilities walls?

Famous photographs of celebrities silk-screened onto clothing? How pissed would you be if you were the photographer seeing dozens of sellers turning your work and talent into their profit without offering you and compensation or asking your permission?. I could be wrong about this, but I’ve always understood that once you create an original design or piece of art it is technically protected under U.S. copyright law and anyone who wishes to use the image must gain your permission before doing so. I’m not certain, but I think that is true.

I realize that most crafters and sellers are probably not up to speed on U.S. copyright laws, but I’d bet a buck or two the folks running Etsy are. There is a “report this item” button that allows you to report items that you don’t believe are handmade or are simply illegal. I’ll admit I’ve reported a few blatant copyright infringements … the items are still for sale weeks later.

Personally, I could care less if Disney loses a few bucks from small artists, I’m not much of a Disney fan(don’t even get me started on “the vault”), but I do care about the small businesses that worked hard for years to establish a unique style and product only to have the Etsy monster come along and spew out a dozen sellers that rip them off and get MORE press, being a piece of the big Etsy machine.

I know, I know, there are a million ways to reinvent the wheel, but when one person buys a product from another business then turns around and sells their own copies of it they need to be held accountable and I am disappointed that Etsy does nothing. Just keeps on collecting their listing fees and sales percentages.

In the corporate world it is called industrial espionage, the only difference is that in the corporate world the businesses can afford the team of lawyers it takes to protect their products.

I’ll still visit Etsy occasionally to shop for unique pieces of artwork or gifts, but mostly I just go there now to make sure my hard work and designs are not being ripped off.