In 2005, whilst struggling with postnatal depression, I started Present Cupboard selling handmade and handcrafted gorgeousness.
Each item was made by people, real people – family, friends, friends of friends, friends of family, family of friends – well you get the picture!
After a career change I returned briefly to The Original Present Cupboard and caught up with everyone and through them met some new contacts. All of these marvels are talented, creative, artistic, independent, unique and honest. To see those lovely people I have known and loved to be copied by pretenders annoys me hugely. The effort, attention and detail that goes into each piece is time consuming.
When you buy from someone who has crafted something you are also are acknowledging their skill. You might be able to make it cheaper yourself. You might be able to find it cheaper yourself. You might be tempted to try making it yourself.
I remember having a giggle with someone at a gift event about how rude people can be when they pick up an item and talk to their friends about how easy it would be to make it, how they could make it cheaper – all within earshot of the makers.
By all means chat to the makers about their products and the skills they’ve used to make something so brilliant and of course chat to people who have started businesses for they might share hints and tips.
But what you don’t do is copy anything and pass it off as your idea.