SO EVIDENTLY MY DESIGN GOT STOLEN BY OVERSEAS WHOLESALERS
Well, how’s this for some holiday suck. One of my most popular items, my 221B key, has been copied exactly (albeit cheaply) by some overseas wholesalers. Yay me. This is no coincidence, the items are PRECISE replicas of two of my most popular keys:
My original 221B key design, which I’ve been selling for over a year now:
The replica key, being sold by over a dozen other sellers on Etsy now, let alone Ebay and other outlets:
NOT a coincidence, I think. From the scroll work to the dots at the top of the keyhole, this is an EXACT replica of my design. Even the part of the key meant to turn the lock is the same. It’s facing in a different direction, but that is the ONLY difference between these mass produced keys and my own personal design. Well, that and these versions are significantly cheaper, both in construction and for purchase. And of course they’re cheaper to buy! My keys are hand-embellished by me with transparencies and UV reactive resin one at a time. I can’t compete with mass manufacturing. As of now, at least six or seven other Etsy shops are now selling these cheaper versions of my keys, and for less money than my original designs. To say that this is going to directly impact by business and my sales is an understatement.
To say I’m devastated by the whole thing is an understatement too.
And as if that wasn’t enough… Oh wait, there’s more. These overseas wholesalers weren’t content to steal just one design, oh no. They had to go for my top TWO keys:
Again, my original design:
The new, cheaply made copies:
There’s only one or two sellers of this version of the key but seeing as you can go on any one of several wholesaler websites and buy them for under $2.00 a pop there’s going to be a lot more in the future. And not just on Etsy, on Artfire and Ebay and all sorts of places that my business doesn’t have a presence in and therefore can’t possibly compete with.corporation.
I just. I don’t even know what to do. To say that I’m massively depressed about this is an understatement. This business is my whole life, and my only source of income especially now that I can’t return to work thanks to some crippling back issues. I was SO PROUD of these designs, and their success, which is INTEGRAL to my shop. It kind of makes me want to just pack up everything and take it all down. My etsy store, my con business, everything. I mean, if everything I do that becomes even remotely successful (I’ve sold barely over a hundred of the first style of key… that’s a lot for one person but not indicative of massive overwhelming viral internet success you know?) is just going to get stolen and cheaply copied cheaply what the fuck is the point of any of it? All I’m doing at this point is just providing mass producers with more ideas to steal. I’m not going to be able to make a living doing this if every time something gets popular it just becomes another thing for big businesses to steal. And because they’re overseas and I’m one person and ACD stuff is public domain anyway it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it except rant here.
I guess the only thing I personally can do at this point is to appeal to the Sherlock fandom and community. You guys have been great, so wonderful, so supportive over this past year, and I hate to ask for anything more than the wonderful amount of business you’ve already provided me with, but I could really use the help. Please, please spread this post to raise awareness of my predicament? I get that it won’t stop people from buying the knockoff keys or the knockoff keys from being made; but if you are considering buying one of these please, please don’t. And please let your friends know. Sales this time of year are CRITICAL for making sure that my business makes money, and for this to be hitting now…. well every person I get to reconsider buying one of the cheaper keys and going with my original design is a huge help to me at this point.
P.S. Please don’t harass any Etsy sellers that are selling these keys. They probably don’t even know the design was stolen; they probably just bought the things from wholesalers and thought it was all on the up and up. Of all the people at fault here, the other Etsy shops carrying these items are NOT the bad guys. So please don’t make their lives hard. They’re also just fandom folks trying to make a living, and I respect that. But if you are a fandom person using this key in any of your designs please reconsider selling it for all the reasons listed above such as theft of my original design? Thank you very much.