Carrie commission

Dear Copycat…

Dear Copycat

Well, I say ‘Copycat’ because I can’t think of a pithier term for a ‘self-centered rip-off goon’ and I’m writing about you because I saw your type again last week. It was on the page of a fellow maker and it made me want to crawl thought my laptop screen with a brick-filled caddy. You see, in the comments under this maker’s latest handcrafted product you tagged in a friend asking, “Could you make this for me?” before chatting with said mate – STILL on said maker’s page – about how you’d do it.

Tell me, Copycat, who in the staggerment of foaming arse-marbles do you think you are? What made you think it was OK to barge into the virtual shop of a handcrafter just to ask your mate to swindle her? Perhaps you’ve suffered some damage to the part of your brain which regulates etiquette or you’re missing the gene that provides humans with basic consideration. Either way, you’ve galloped across a line and if I see you in my shop you’ll get a kick up the bunting that’ll send you to the moon.

Shit on a shovel, you’ve got a cheek. Did you even think about the impact you’d have upon that maker when you wrote that spluttering gobbet of theftpiffle? And I don’t mean ‘impact’ as in fleetingly annoying her before she goes back to her crocheting. I mean ‘impact’ as in whether she pays her mortgage that month. You see, that’s what knobscots like you do to makers: you eat away at our businesses until we’re forced to shut up shop. I’d give you a slow hand clap but I’m too busy stitching a voodoo doll with your image on it.

Think for a second. We handcrafters usually work alone, creating items that require years of expertise, practice, thought, design, research and graft. We sell them only after spending countless hours on social media creating relationships, meeting customers, blogging, engaging and selling. It’s sob-inducing hard work (I cried over it four times in September alone) and it’s in a marketplace that’s busting at its perfectly stitched seams. Each item sold can be measured in days, weeks and years of effort yet you’d willingly trample over our effort just to get yourself a freebie.

Go on, Copycat, imagine a stranger coming into your office, rooting through your work, calling over a mate and asking him to do your job instead. For free. It’d feel pretty shitty wouldn’t it? As if all of your effort meant nothing. Well that’s how YOU make us makers feel every time you do this to us.

Now, I know that we all see things we’d like to make. T’web is a bottomless pit of inspiration and creativity. And yes, I appreciate that we can’t all afford to buy what we love. Crafters especially are adept at seeing handmade items while decreeing, “I could make that!” before dashing to Hobbycraft for a hot glue gun, a bag of scrabble tiles and a picture frame. There is a big difference, though, between being inspired by an item and telling us makers that you intend to actively copy our designs. In fact that makes you more than a copycat. It makes you a digital pickpocket. Bung on a straggly beard and you’d be a modern-day Fagin.

And don’t forget that while we create lots of things it’s rare that we create a decent wage. For all of our product pics and lifestyle updates, most of us have an income that makes the minimum wage look like a lottery win. I continually get orders and commissions at Kraken Kreations yet am still not earning enough to pay tax after submitting my annual return. So, Copycat, not only are you exploiting those of us who had the gumption to turn our skills into a business but you’re doing it to those of us who can’t afford the gas bill. You giant, self-serving bucket of regret.

Do me a favour and think before you come over all Gollum-like, grabbing at shiny things without even thinking of paying for them. You have a choice. You can live in a charmless world inhabited only by the global giants of Amazon and Tesco or you can create a world where individuals make and sell without fear of being pulled under. You have such an eye for beauty, that you’ll ask a mate to copy a design, that I assume you’d prefer the latter.

So ask yourself: what have I done today to make life harder for the nation’s makers? If the answer is ‘nothing’ then come on into my shop. You’ll get a welcome, a chat and the chance to enjoy the fruits of my skill without even an ounce of obligation. Seriously, I enjoy the company. And if you have an answer that harms us makers? Then I’m calling security. Now, get out of my shop, Copycat, and never, ever come back.