Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Opening your eyes to giving and getting ripped off.

Photo and Designs ©2010 Barbe Saint John/Saints and Sinners

As an artist, one is often asked to give away your product to charity events, fundraisers, etc.... Or you're asked to do a free demo, make and take or workshop (usually for free) and are told 'its good exposure". Exposure is good, when it leads to sales but often that isn't the case.

A couple of weeks ago, Luann Udell has an article on "How to Give without being Taken". It talks about how to deal with all those people who want you donate or give them items in exchange for "exposure" and how that can hurt you rather than help. I recommend anyone selling professionally to go over right now and read it. She also talks about how to deal with the "trade" issue. That is a sticky one that I've been subject to myself. She has some wonderful ways of dealing with it, and again I think you should all go over and read it.

It's a weird coincidence that that article came into my inbox when it did, but as always the universe has good timing. Over the past week I've come across two incidences of people who took or saw a freebie workshop I did and are now marketing it as their own.

This distresses me on many levels, first because its outright stealing of my intellectual content and something I did to inspire creativity in others. Second, (and this is the big one) because I didn't have enough faith in my own creativity. So while it totally sucks, it was also good for me. I know you are thinking "WHAT!!! how could this be a GOOD thing?" Well, its good because it made me realize a couple of things and put alot into perspective.

I often think that what I do, create and come up with are "average", that "anyone could do this so its nothing THAT special." Obviously I am very wrong about this, because more than one person thinks its better than THEIR creativity and are copying me. I need to value my creativity as much as others do. Also, I need to learn to not give so much away and to protect what I do give whether free or for sale. Just because you take a class, read a magazine project or see something on someones blog doesn't mean the project and idea is free to use as your own. Don't steal it for your own, use it as a jumping board to make your own project.

My goal in life is to create and help/inspire others to bring up their own creativity. In all of existance there is only one YOU, no one else has your experience, your vision, your creativity or your gifts. No one else can be or make anything like YOU can. Be the best YOU you can be, make the world better as only YOU can.


Carol said...

This is a Powerful Post! I think its hard for an artist in the beginning to understand just how valuable their art and ideas are. Its not just an idea. Its the trial and error and the perfecting the technique or design.

Sad that someone would DARE to use your idea as theirs, but as I too believe, the Universe is always at work. There is always value in the lesson learned.

My grandson hung a quote on the wall the other day. Something about the amount of pain caused in the mistake is proportional to the lesson learned. Think about THAT!!

Have a great day.

Juli's Jewels said...

Well said, Barbe.

Heather said...

This is a great post and its nice to know that how I feel about MY creativity and ideas is shared among others. I am always feeling that my ideas are not good enough and "anyone could do it" but I guess if they could they would be. This is a good lesson to have faith in oneself and not sell yourself short. I hope your recent experiences help to guide you along your creative path and make you even more successful. I know this is what I need to do for myself. I am going to go read Luann's full article now :) Thank you.

Janet said...

Yes a very Powerful message. That really is can anyone deep down feel good about marketing something they know they stole. People are so out there and getting creepier by the day! I am going to read it too. Wow and we all put things up on out Bloggs showing look I did this and then Wham someone copies it and steals it. :-( Im feeling for you as well!

ArtSnark said...

Well said. I'll be passing this post along to some friends - we were just talking about how every auction etc wants free stuff & how each thinks they are the only ones asking.

Sorry to hear about the guys ripping you off. Hopefully the truth will come out in the end.

By the way, are you familiar with ? It is a fairly new art/crafty community that you can import your blog too. I think they'd like this post

stregata said...

Thanks for sharing this!

health said...

A beautiful page. I liked.

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

Thanks for all your comments! This post seemed to have touched alot of people thinking about the same things.

It's started alot of discussion, and I'm getting lots of email from people who have dealt with or are dealing with the freebie wanters or the people who think anything online is free for the taking. It's sad but the more it is exposed and talked about, the less (I hope!) it will happen.

People have also been worried about "the line between inspiration and stealing" and afraid they are crossing it. I plan on discussing that in today's post.

Seth said...

A thought provoking post on am important topic. Glad you started the conversation. Heading over to Luann's post now.

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