Handbags at dawn

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, June 25, 2009

Several times recently I've started posts about copycats and then abandoned them. It's a tricky topic to broach but I've had a particularly unnerving experience this week so forgive me if I'm venting but it's the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back.

I make clutches, nothing original there. I even use some commercial fabrics so anyone can make what I make and that's no big deal. However, I've worked very hard to develop my own original 'house style' on Etsy - so it hurts me when new shops open up and quietly adopt said 'house style' as their own. I've toughened up quick and I'm not going to be a cry baby about it. Etsy is a warm and fluffy cupcake of a site and I still love it to bits but behind many popular sellers there are a raft of not very sisterly copycats chomping at the bit to get a slice of the action.

The trick of course is to stay ahead, ignore the rest and not get rattled. I'm still working on that last bit. Worrying about other sellers leads to negativity and sapping of creative juices - it's an unwanted distraction.

Without naming names or flinging mud, I was tipped off this week about a seller who was busily promoting to blogs and inadvertently including some of my bag photographs along with her own. One of the posts was a blog giveaway where over 300 people had posted, and of course they were all led to believe that it was one of her clutches when it was in fact one of my own. I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I should add at this point in the spirit of balance that she apologised to me and explained it was an innocent file mix-up. That's right, my copyrighted clutch bag photo files were sitting on her computer hard drive and accidentally got forwarded as promotional puff. Great.

All this has got me thinking some more about slowly phasing out all of the clutches I make with commercially available fabrics and only making my originals and maybe keeping some of the sumptuous silks too. I would miss sourcing all the lovely prints from eclectic sources but I love designing new fabrics and I feel I should maybe play to my strengths in this department rather than using commercial fabrics. This would also mean I could branch into other branded Red Ruby Rose products, something I've been thinking about for a while.

Talking of new designs, I have two new prints that I'm really excited about. I'm like a kid at Christmas when my latest fabric delivery arrives.

Scots pine by Red Ruby Rose

Both fabrics were inspired by my recent holiday in Scotland. Scots Pine was a 'stop that car!' moment as I kept seeing wonderful vistas of tree trunks in the roadside forests but could never find a good place to stop. The days were ticking by and I felt that if I didn't simply slam on the brakes and stop the car I'd never get my picture. Maybe the subtitle should be 'the clutch that nearly caused an RTA between an impatient photographer, three German bikers and Mrs McCloud from Achiltibuie who was taking her annual trip to Inverness to buy her M&S smalls'.

Secondly. 'Pink thrift' which is a simple and breezy print. Just looking at it takes me back to the salty sea air at Badachro.

Pink thrift by Red Ruby Rose


  1. Krista Says:
  2. I have seen some of your copycats on Etsy! So sad! You are not the only one who has had to deal with this...I guess it is a compliment that they want to emulate your success, but I think it is horrible and I hope the karma police catches up with them soon! I love your fabrics, so best of luck with any new designs!

    Chick 9 Clothing

  3. Chris Kidd Says:
  4. I reckon the way your going is the right way. Original photos on fabrics. They look great and work on many levels.
    Good luck.

  5. Aye! Very nice dear.

  6. Nicole Says:
  7. You could definitely hold your own, especially if you use just your own fabrics. I was a lucky winner of one of your clutches made with one of your fabric designs, and everyday I look at it, I can't help but smile. Is it weird to say a fabric choice on a clutch brightens my day?

  8. Anonymous Says:
  9. i've seen the copycats too. i think using your own fabrics is a great way to continue to have your great style!

  10. Darn those copycats! I love your fabrics and clutches (did a giveaway with you a while back, I hope you remember?).

    Regarding the photos, you could put a watermark across it, making sure no one claims it as their own.

  11. Cecca Says:
  12. What a shame there are copycats out there. Your new designs are lovely, but I can see it would be hard to give up finding special fabrics too, you make such a good job of selecting them! :-)

  13. *Waves* Chin up my dear, your bags are fab and the copies are just cheap imitations.

  14. Summer Gypsy Says:
  15. To paraphrase an old saying, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery." No matter how someone tries to copy, that person can never truly imitate the original. We all have our "fingerprints" in creativity which will/can never be stolen. I think you are on the right track though with your own fabrics. How wonderful that you have that talent! This is my first time to visit. I found you on the Etsy "front page" today. Your bags are divine!