Feeling annoyed...but should I be?

This is something that happened a few months ago, but it's still kind of bothering me, so I thought I'd ask for some advice...

I made a friend of mine who lives in another state a pair of starburst wrapper earrings for her birthday. It was just using the regular method for making a starburst wrapper chain, but I'm pretty sure I came up with the way I made them into earrings. Anyway, she really liked them, and the next time we saw each other she asked me to teach her how to make them. I did, and I gave her some extra wrappers so that she could make a couple pairs.

The next time we were able to get together, she told me that she had started selling the earrings I taught her to make awhile back. I didn't say anything, but it bothered me a little, since she hadn't even asked me if I minded, and I was the one who came up with the idea in the first place.

It's been bugging me ever since, so I've been wondering if I should say something to her, or if I'm even right to feel annoyed. Any advice, opinions, or suggestions?
Thanks

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16 replies since 1st March 2013 • Last reply 1st March 2013

You're right to feel a bit annoyed, especially since you are the one who taught her to do what she's now using to make money for herself. It's definitely something she ought to have spoken with you about before selling them.

I've had people ask me my methods (and even for my recipes) for making soap because they've wanted to make it to sell and each time I have told them that they can do what I did and spend years having trial-and-error experiences until they perfect it for themselves. I'd have no problem sharing my techniques with people who want to just make it for themselves, but it's more difficult to give my knowledge to someone if I know they are going to try to profit from it.

I would suggest though, that maybe you do what your friend has done and try to sell them as well... give her some competition!

Of course I've not seen your friend's craft abilities first hand, but from the amazing package you sent me, I think I'm willing to say that you're the superior crafter anyway and you'd probably end with more success than she did if you sell what you make. Happy

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Thanks for the advice Monika! It helps a lot! (and thanks for the complement Happy)

I'm really glad to know that I'm not just blowing this out of proportion Tongue It just bothered me that I knew nothing about it until months after she started selling them. And then she was talking about how much people loved them, how many orders she was getting (she's not selling online, just to people in her area, which is a good thing!), and it really didn't sound like she was giving me much credit at all.

So now I just don't know if I should say anything to her or not. This is also a friend who I've had some problems with where she's taken something I said the wrong way and gotten offended. I don't want to ruin our friendship over something like this, but on the other hand, I really don't think what she's doing is ok. Ugh, so draining trying to figure out what to do!!!!! T_T

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Just tell her that you feel disrespected for what she's done with something you taught to her. If she gets mad, it's going to be because you're in the right and she's in the wrong.

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Next time I'm able to get in touch with her, which I've been trying to for a while, I'm going to bring it up. Not sure if I'm going to ask her to stop selling them or just ask her to give me credit though. I'll just see what going on, an if she's expanded at all.

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That's pretty dispicable. I love sharing my tutorials letting people know how I make certain things, but some things I don't share and I'd be pretty pissed if a friend of mine had me teach them to make something that they decided they would profit from. It almost sounds to me like that was her plan all along and it was pretty low that she didn't tell you that ahead of time. I would def. confront her about it and let her know that she is damaging your views of her and making it hard to be her friend.

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I'd tend to agree with Monika and Pinkweeds - it was a low thing to do and she wasn't respecting your friendship. It also sounds like she had the idea in mind when she asked how to make them. I would say something and be assertive about how you say it - i.e. tell her how her behaviour has made you feel. I don't think you could stop her selling them but it would be nice if she told people who gave her the idea. I also think if she gets the arse because you're upset with her then let her. It sounds tough but it's a lesson she needs to learn.

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Thanks for the input everyone! I feel a whole lot better trying to talk to her about it now that I know I'm not the only one that thinks what she did was far from ok.

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WHen people ask me if I teach how to do what I do (bead embroidery) I just say no. The reason is because anyone can learn to do bead embroidery from a book or online tutorial, or from buying a kit and making the project contained in it. The real "art" in it comes from your own imagination, and you can't really teach that. I exhibit and sell my work at juried art shows, am a member of my community's Fine Arts Association, and have been awarded at shows before. At my last show a fellow beader came up to me at my booth and said, "Could you teach me to do this? I'd be glad to pay you. I do bead embroidery, but nothing like yours!" I said that, no, I didn't teach, because my techniques and style are my own and I feel I'd be robbing someone by teaching them basic technique they could learn from a book. She took it the wrong way and said, "Oh, I see, you don't want any competition."
That's wasn't really it, she didn't get it, but I left it at that. Your friend was wrong to pirate your technique and profit from it.If I were you I would check in to getting a copyright or something on your idea, and start selling the earrings in your area yourself. Then do something special to mark your work. Place a makers mark on it in some way and advertise them as 'the ORIGINAL Starburst Wrapper Earrings".

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Next time your with her & she's in a good mood, "jokingly" say 'hey, do I get a cut of the $ you got for those earrings ...you know, bc I basically made them & all'. ...then see what she says. Lmfao
It'll make her uncomfortable for sure & she'll know your kinda peeved about it. & it'll open the convo if you want that.

I'm pretty open when I'm mad at people, lol i dont have that problem. bc I know if they were my real friend they'd get over it quickly & we'd be friends again. Or we'd work it out immediately.

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To be honest, I don't see it as disrespect or sneaky at all. There are so many patterns available on craft sites for between 3 and 5 dollars, where permission is given for the buyer to sell the finished products with no revenue due to the original creator of the design. If money is what you want, then that's one thing. If you'd just like her to acknowledge that it was your creative spark that got her going, that's a completely different thing. Otherwise, keep this as a well-learned lesson is discretion and decide what it is you're really after. As an artist myself, I'm not against sharing my patterns and designs with fellow crafters because they aren't the ones I want to make a profit from. Art is something to share. I have items listed in my Etsy shop that are explained in some detail here. The people who are buying my items aren't the ones who want to take the time to learn to make them themselves.
Just a thought.

xoxo
Zoë

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@Regina R. (I checked out your bead embroidery and it's amazing btw!) I agree with you, it would have been totally different if she had come up with her own way to make the earrings rather than have me teach her exactly how I do it.The copyright is something to think about, the only thing is I'm not 100% sure that no one else has figured out how to make these earrings. But it's definitely something that I'll keep in mind. Happy

@DarkAshHurts, omg, I started laughing when I read that! Happy That's a really good idea, I think I'm going to try that and see what happens... I really wish I said something like that when she first told me!

@ZanyDays, I really don't want any of the money that she's making. the things that bothered me were:
1) She never asked me about it.
and 2) She was taking all the credit for coming up with them.
So if she had talked about selling them beforehand and asked if that would be ok, I'm pretty sure I would have been fine teaching her. I just wished she had asked instead of basically going behind my back an not telling me for a few months. I have no problem with sharing what I make with people so that they can make it for themselves and for gifts (that's one of the reasons I love CO+K so much!), but if they want to try and profit from it, I'd like them to talk to me first.

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Oh I see! So she was telling people that it was her design. Of course that is definitely a no-no. It's unfortunate that a friend would do that, so I hope you come to a diplomatic and happy solution soon =)

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Thanks Happy so do I!

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if she is taking credit then that's when you need to have some talks cause that ain't right but if you two come to an understanding then you two should sell them together like online or something idk

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