Hey Loves. Something kind of weird happened this morning. And I share this with you because I learned something-- both about myself, and about doing business. Isn't it great how in this day and age you can actually watch as someone blindly feels their way into running a business online?? Sure!
The Live Part:
So, I came across a new article on Redbook.com (which might also be in the print edition) with a How-To. Those of you who know me as a designer also know I love hearing about customers getting creative with their items, and I love hearing your ideas, and knowing people are reusing the products rather than chucking them when they're done.
The Learn Part:
While I like the article, it really caught me off guard to see such a literal iteration of one of my surface designs. I sent a polite letter to RB and I also called my lawyer to get his take. I posted an angry, gut-level tweet, which in hindsight, I should not have done. Anyway, here's where I'm netting out: given the lovely images, and fun ideas, I think I can live with this! But, as an independent (read...small) business, I need to be careful that I protect my work, but also that I'm open to new suggestions and uses for it.
What I have learned-- and I share it here for any of you independent business people who are interested.
1. Do not start a business without hiring a lawyer who understands the needs of a small business, and can give common-sense advice on what is truly best for your brand (hint, sometimes it's medicine you don't want to take...see point 3).
2. Have said lawyer draft a letter which you approve, and use this letter, at your discretion, when you send your samples to the press. Just so you are clear about what you expect the item to be used for-- then, you won't run into surprises.
3. Not exactly legal advice, but, don't jump the gun. Learn how to take a compliment. As they say, all publicity is good publicity. Even if you feel icky about it, having your name out there is better than not at all. And the BEST publicity is being polite, supportive, responsive, professional, reliable and easy to work with, no matter what your industry.
Anyway, buy a calendar! Then Show me Your Pillows in 2011 !! Ha Ha. Love, S