Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dont get mad, get even...

At the moment flowers are everywhere in craft. And I mean everywhere!
I love flowers, as does everyone else it seems. They can turn a mediocre project into something beaut at the drop of a hat. And all-white projects are everywhere too.
The other thing that's everywhere right now in craft is thievery.
Yep, that's right, good old idea (and copyright) theft. Although this isn't just with craft, it's with everything. Particularly rife at the moment because of the recession. Also there aren't any new innovations coming through into the craft market. I think the last big innovation we had was the launch of the Cricut machine and a few months later the Cuttlebug and the wonder of its embossing folders, which is a good 4/5 years ago now. When these huge companies stop investing money into R&D of new machines and gadgets everything becomes a bit stale and that's the effect of the recession, simple as (in my opinion) - if people stop buying stash, the development stops. I get a bit mad when I hear people having a moan about no new products on Create and Craft, not enough this, not enough that, blahdy blahdy. People, it's simple: It's a SHOPPING channel. Quite simply they are there to sell you stuff. If they show CD's all the time it's because they are selling lots of them! If they start to show you loads of Clarity Stamps it's because they're selling loads! They don't won't and never will show you things that don't sell very well because they have to make money, just like everyone else does. And along with that, it's not all about the channel making money, the suppliers (of which I am one) also have to make money. And some things just aren't worth my time and effort taking to TV because I can't sell them for a profit, even a tiny profit. So to all those people who at the moment are going on about QVC not delivery craft shows, have a word with yourselves! QVC are a giant in the world of TV shopping and if they can't make money bringing you craft then they ain't going to, no matter how much blarney the presenters throw at you across the screen "we're having a sale to clear the stock for new stock coming in". Of course you are, love. Every business brings in new stock all the time. At Polkadoodles we do the same, stock control is an important part of any business. Get it right and you rarely need to have sales because your stock flows in and out correctly, get it wrong and overstock or buy the wrong products in and you've got problems and need to get it shifted out. We rarely have to do a sale because quite simply, I'm really fussy about the products we do stock and if we get something which doesnt sell well we reduce it straight away so our prices are always pretty keen.
Anyway, I'm rambling. How on earth did I get onto all that? What I actually wanted to whine about today was people nicking other people's ideas and passing them off as their own being rife.
So, going back to when Provocraft launched the Cricut, we'd just opened our first shop and were one of the first in the UK to stock Cricut. Oh my, how I loved my trusty steed! Obviously the Craft Robo was around at the time but you needed to be a bit of a PC whizz and I just wanted something to plug and play and so did my customers. I used to spend an hour with a customer demo'ing what the machine would do (I knew it inside out and I WAS Cricut Queen). Half those customers who let me waste an hour of my time would then go and buy it somewhere else for a tenner cheaper I have to tell you, so I stopped stocking the machine in the end, what was the point? Yes, they all used to come in asking me how to do stuff though didn't they. Anyway at the time I was playing around one day and I had a brilliant idea. White flowers. On the Cricut.com forum at the time some of the more creative people were making bouquets but they were all flat. They would take the cricut flowers on a cartridge, cut them and then put them on a stick. Flat. I pulled out a mountain of white card and I made dozens and dozens of flowers in different shapes, changing the sizes by going through each increment. I had an idea in my head and this was what I wanted to achieve....
And this, my friends, was (to my knowledge) the first ever all-white project of full on 3D flowers that started a worldwide trend back in September 2007. The Cricut forum went wild over it. Instantly people copied the idea of making an all-white project and then started in colour making their own 3D flowers, my post had 1000's and 1000's of views - why had no-one ever thought of doing this before? I didn't and don't care that people copied it, if I had I would never have unveiled it to the world. I'm a bit miffed the picture isn't the best and the vase (yes the entire thing is card) is long gone now after it got a bit trashed in the shop move which is a bit sad, I'd have liked to have kept it really as even the flower stalks are made by hand too and aren't straws.
My point is, I made this just BEFORE Prima came along and hit our shelves. I have no doubt in my mind, and yes it's a big claim and one I've never made publicly before, that this very project started off the trend for making flowers as we have it now across the world of papercrafting and I know I have witnesses LOL! So I just do get a little bit peeved when I go to blogs or magazines and see projects similar to this and they are hailed as a new trend and what a stunning idea blah blah and those people NEVER seem to give credit to anyone else, you should always link back to where you got your inspiration from, there's no shame in doing so, we all glean inspiration from each other all the time, just give credit where and when it is due please! I'm not saying I want all the credit for every single flower created right now but my point is that I am proud that this project started all of that. So it doesn't really matter that I never got any credit for it because down in the back of my heart I know that I started it off and that's all that counts to me.
Back in the early days of the Cricut forum there were many people who ensured that I did get full credit for the inspiration when people tried to steal it and I thank all of those who did that, it really meant a lot at the time, but 4 years on I know I am long forgotten over on cricut.com.  I go on there now and then and people are still posting similar projects and getting all sorts of glory for things they shouldn't. I do think it's funny though how this trend started all the way back then and there hasn't really been anything else come along in the meantime has there.
Of course, I had to try and top the project didnt I and this was the next one I made in Dec 2007 which was actually out on display in the shop at the time...
Click to play ho ho ho
If this doesnt play then try this link which will take you back to my old blog ....

So, all I'm trying to say is...don't feel like you have to steal someone else's ideas to be deemed creative. Everyone is creative in their own way and one person's cup of tea is another's idea of hell, we all like different things so stop trying to beat a tune to someone else's drum, just do what YOU like.  Passion in what you do is everything and I wholeheartedly believe that shines through in your crafting. You can tell the people who do it because they just love it and don't care what other people think, their card or layout may not be the best in the world but you can tell when  you look at it that every single element was placed specifically and that person took 10 minutes to place it there and changed their mind 6 times when they were doing it and probably took a couple of hours to make a card which should only have taken 15 minutes to put together. But it doesnt matter because they loved making it and it's theirs. All theirs. And all their own ideas. Be passionate with your crafting, it shows.
I just remembered what got me rambling...Diddydoodles. Diddydoodles is our new under 16's challenge blog. Someone else launched a similar one a week after we did this. I'm not saying Diddydoodles is the only one in the world, it's not. But this person who launched the other one follows me on Twitter. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Just like my good friend Leandra who always gets her stamp ideas copied. And my good friend Kate who makes the best Brownies in the world and gets all her ideas nicked too. It's rife. Don't do it, get your own ideas, how can you ever think of a good idea if you're too busy copying everyone else instead? And  yes, it is the biggest form of flattery blah blah blah when you're copied, we all say it. But really - we all get narked by it, no matter what we say. I see Polkadoodles copies everywhere these days, some blatant, some not so blatant, I try to ignore it but every now and then I just have to have a little moan. Moan over for now!  x