Every time I've taken a personality test the results tell me I'm an idealist.
Apparently I get stuck on how things should be, rather than how they actually are... For example the way we treat animals. I keep myself up at night worrying about dogs I've never met. It seems so simple to me, let's just stop abusing them! It shouldn't be that hard.
But that's just me being an idealist, apparently.
It was at the start of 2016 when I realized my idealism had rubbed off on the way I run my t-shirt business. I refuse to knowingly make a shirt that already exists. It's not my design to make, so why the hell would I want to copy something that's already out there rather than coming up with something original? It's just not how I do things, so in turn, I expect the same of everyone else.
But it doesn't work this way. People are going to do what they want, regardless if I think it's right or wrong.
Two years ago when I first started making shirts I was a lunatic about tracking people down who were copying me. I sought them out. Aggressively. Businesses or individuals, I didn't stand for any of it.
One year ago I stopped tracking people and just went after businesses. Some small-ish, some national brands. If I saw someone using something I had come up with I was like a Wolfe, fresh on their trail and ready to attack.
And regardless of the outcome, I was so unhappy doing it.
Every time I contacted someone I felt like a terrible person. I was filled with hot anxiety and such negative energy. I lost sleep and was cranky all the time. For lack of a better phrase, it just gave me such bad vibes hounding people like I was.
I would search my designs on Etsy and Pinterest and as the amount of knock offs grew so did my anger. It was pretty crazy. I was pretty crazy, I mean. I took it all so personal.
At the start of 2016 after I'd gone after a few people on Etsy stealing my stuff who were especially nasty, I'd had enough. I told myself I either had to accept this business as it was, or get out. It was making me unhappy and unhealthy.
And so I just stopped.
Policing, I mean. I didn't stop making t-shirts. I stopped searching out people who were copying me. I stopped searching my hashtags on Instagram. I basically stopped trying to control what others were doing.
And it was like a ton of bricks had been lifted off me. It brought the fun back to what I get to do. I knew people were still "borrowing" ideas I had come up with, but it didn't mean I had to go find them.
There's a difference between quitting and surrendering. I think Elizabeth Gilbert taught me that.
I never go to the homesite on Etsy anymore. I literally close my eyes if I have to because I can't handle all of the things "Etsy thinks I might like!" because it's my stuff being sold by other shops. So instead I just skip right over it. I'm not a good enough person to be over it completely, but I'm strong enough to just keep away from it.
Until I got a message on Instagram last night telling me a shop wasn't just selling shirts I had come up with, they were using my pics.
And just like that all of the crazies I worked so hard to get rid of came rushing back. OH HELL NO.
Using someone else's designs AND their photos is just downright lazy. My legs and feet were all over this place's Instagram, Facebook and their damn website. They were using my pics to peddle their shitty merch. And here's the real kicker, they had blocked me (long ago presumably) so they knew damn well what they were doing was shady.
I had no idea this place even existed, so why the need to block me?
And sure, this might look like a simple stoop pic to you. But when you're someone like me who freezes in front of the camera and goes into dog-in-a-costume mode, this is actually a hard pic to get. I paid a photographer to take this. You don't just get to rip this shit off. It doesn't work like that.
Evidence number two.
Granted, I took this pic myself, but it still took a long ass time! Do you know how hard it is to stretch your arm that high and still snap a good pic? It's HARD. SO HARD.
And I had to get out my fancy white blanket, which I hate getting out because we store it on the high shelves.
So what I'm saying is that it takes effort. Just like creating the shirt itself. And marketing it. Just like growing your own business and trying to do things the right way.
This all went down last night and I thought I was stable enough to write about it now, but I'm thinking I may have given myself too much credit here. I'm still clearly upset. It just feels so.... so wrong to me. -says the idealist.
From what I've heard the photos have been removed, I can't check since I'm locked out.
To everyone that stood up for me yesterday and today, I can't thank you enough. Seriously. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's clear you were heard (and were blocked, I'm quite sure.) So Damsel was apparently quite busy today blocking anyone and everyone who said something... All I can hope is that this place learned their lesson and won't do it to someone else. It's just so frustrating. Take my designs, but don't take my feet!!!
And that was my weekend, how was yours?