on theft, forgiveness, and the lovely people you meet
As a creator, you know it's bound to happen. You might even think that you've "made it" when it occurs. But when it does come along, your heart sinks. It might even break. What am I talking about?
Sometimes people use a photo without asking. That's different. Usually they're sharing a link and giving credit. Sometimes websites have used my images and/or text without asking or giving credit. While it's not cool, that's still a little different.
But when you find out that someone is selling items made with your artwork it feels unlike any of those other things. Those other things seem downright friendly.
I first spotted it on Instagram. Someone was showing off the enamel needle minder they ordered on Etsy and my but it looked familiar. It looked just like the printables I made back in 2009.
My first response was "ugh...I can't believe it" followed by "argh...I can't believe it!!!". I tracked down the seller and kindly but firmly told them that they couldn't use my artwork to make and sell items like this. And then I waited to see how they replied. Things like this can go either way.
The seller sent me the sweetest message apologizing, telling me she would take them out of her shop immediately, and then directing me to the place she ordered the enamel piece that she made into a needle minder. This was better and worse that I wanted.
You see, this is a lovely person who was willing to lose the money she had spent on stock and that's far better than one could hope. But knowing that my art was actually stolen by a wholesaler in China is much worse than anything I want to deal with. Ever.
It also means that I've already found other people selling needle minders they've made with the same piece. This isn't an isolated case. This is bigger than I'll ever be able to track down.
And I'm moving on.
If I'm being honest, I tried to stop the wholesaler, but it's not gonna happen. So the better way forward is forgiveness.
I'll never hear an apology from the person who used my design, and it's even possible that they don't know that they did something wrong. But that doesn't mean that I need to bear a grudge. That will only make me angry and bitter, and that's not what I want.
Besides, I made the thread bobbin (and all my designs) to bring joy. I'm choosing to let them bring joy even if others are profiting, and I'm not.
So now what?
I've had conversations with a few people who are selling these needle minders and told them the situation, but that I want them to continue to sell through their stock. And they've told me that they won't order more.
You can find them at Delicious Threads or check outKristeen from Stitchinmad who sent me one so I could have my own!
This is really important: All of the shops I've talked with have been lovely people. They didn't take my art and this incident has only resulted in new friends. I'm sharing the shops with you so that, if you want an unofficial Wild Olive needle minder, you can order one from these kind ladies!
If you find other places selling these designs, you're welcome to tell me (send an email to molliejohanson [at] gmail.com). If you encounter these on a wholesale website, please, please, please don't order them!
But above all, whether someone steals something from you, says something horrible, or hurts you in the worst way possible, consider forgiveness. It's not easy, but when you get there, it's so much better.
Note: For the record, folks can make and sell embroidered and other handmade items they've made with my patterns. That's totally cool and I encourage that! This relates only to printables and illustrations. Just be sure to check with other makers on their policies before you start selling.
***updated to add*** Thank you all so much for your kindness and support! It's God's grace that has made my own response possible.
By Mollie Johanson at Monday, April 25, 2016