Monday, March 28, 2011

Mockery = Flattery?

I have heard it said both in business and elsewhere that “Mockery is the greatest form of flattery” the phrase is basically saying if someone is copying you it should be taken as a compliment.

That isn’t always an easy pill to swallow though.

I started my Etsy shop 4 years ago. I had created a few pieces for my wife, and she had suggested that I sell them. I primarily made earring frames. Now obviously I didn’t invent the idea of putting screen in a frame as a way to hold jewelry, but I did take the time to make sure a few things were in place

1) Quality,

There couldn’t be any stray pieces of screen that could poke anyone

The frame had to be solid enough that basic handling wouldn’t require forceps and a vacuum

It had to be sealed to protect the finish evenly

It had to look authentically distressed (I never tried to fool anyone saying the distressing was natural, but who would you want to hand something up that looked like I took a power sander to it. In my makeup design class I took in college, they said, “you know you have the makeup on correctly when no one can tell you are wearing any”

So while there were other earring frames and jewelry displays out there. I wanted to really capitalize on the distressed look, not too county, not too modern, and in the right color palates so that any customer could find one that is a good fit for their home.

A little over a year ago my shop sold out. I hadn’t made anything new, and I decided to take a break. The break lasted a lot longer than I anticipated, but I just want feeling creative, that combined with my day job becoming more demanding time wise, and more fulfilling financially, 2 things that led me even more away from Etsy.

In February this year I decided to see how Etsy was doing, and check my market. By that I mean search using words that I think people would find me under and see what else pops up. Believe it of not, this is a great way to see your competition, and see what tag words are working. If you aren’t getting the traffic or sales you need, check and see how visible you actually are.

I was SHOCKED to see distressed earring frames that looked very similar to this that I used to make. So similar in face that I checked my old photos to see if it was one I had sold in the past. It wasn’t. in my absence however someone has stepped right in and stole my thunder. Honestly good for them, I was very upset, but at the same time they had don’t nothing more than capitalize on the fact that I wasn’t doing it anymore

That is when the phrase from the first paragraph came to mind. Even their description was eerily similar to the one I used to use.

I haven’t listed anything new yet, but as you can see I have re immersed myself in this blog, and into the Etsy community. I have been working, but after a year off I realized how many materials I used to just have at my disposal that I now needed to go out and buy.

“Mockery is the greatest form of flattery”,
in other words, “You copied me, that motivated me, and so I am coming back. (well that is the plan anyway.) My inventory is growing and soon it will be available. Something new is that I will now be signing every piece so that you will know that it is an authentic J.Crabbit, and that you are getting the quality listed above.


  1. I like the signature... nice touch!

  2. I agree. I think that personalized touches from the artist really make an item stand out. I'm also impressed that you chose to use this as a motivator to do something above and beyond with an already awesome product. Kudos and luck to you!

  3. Those are great! I'm sure you'll find a unique way for them to make a big statement that will outshine the competition :)
    The signature is a great touch!

  4. Great work and good luck!! I know people will find your shop again and appreciate your integrity and commitment to making quality products.

  5. copy cats are all over the place, i think it is best to not let it get to you and to just do your work as best as you can :)

  6. Yes, unfortunately, that's part of owning a business, even though it's not fair! I've seen the same thing happen over the years with Mountains of the Moon (my eco-fashion line) and newer eco-fashion companies producing too-close-for-comfort similar pieces. I think staying positive like you are and creating unique touches like you mentioned will continue to make your work stand out. :)

  7. thank you all for the encouragement. I intentionally cooled off before deciding what to do. I wanted to make sure that whatever it was I addressed it in a positive light. and look at all the cool blogs I have found because of it all too!! ;)

  8. There's a lot of copy cats out there, really all the best you can do is be chin-up, and press on.

  9. I miss those silver hoop earings. I lost one last May during our anniversary trip to the Wentworth....booo.

  10. ooops....signed in as you on your laptop...that last comment was really your lovely WIFE! xoxo.

  11. I love these, a great idea. I really like the natural distressing. Good luck!! I'm sure they'll sell like hotcakes :)

  12. Man that's crazy! Well FYI, I searched for [earring frame] on etsy and I didn't see ANY that are as nice as yours. They were either tacky, or just not as cute. Can't wait till you open your shop back up! Hurry up, man!!!