Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Please Don't Buy Counterfeit

I have decided to take a few moments and address a subject that came up on a Facebook post recently. I choose NEVER to post things of controversial nature on FB because I prefer to keep my page light, fun and artsy. I believe that the arguing back and forth on social media threads solve nothing and just adds negativity and chaos to our lives, at least to mine. I do however feel that the subject of counterfeit merchandise really needs to be brought up.

There are many websites out there selling counterfeit goods. There are many people out there buying these goods for personal use. There are many people out there buying, promoting and even reselling these goods to make a profit.
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Here is my perspective of these sites for what it's worth. It has greatly affected my income as I'm sure it has with many of us in the craft industry. It not only affects me but it affects every single person at the company that we artists license with. Warehouse workers, accounting departments, sales people working on commission, all trying to support families, are affected by this. The small indendent stores that we love so much and struggle to keep their doors open every day are affected by these websites. These stores are all over the world. We have watched so many of our favorite stores close down. These sites play a major role in their demise. Please reread that sentence. It's important.

I have been aware of these sites but not of all the promoting on YouTube and other sites until recently. Apparently YouTube has been shutting down the channels of people who use and promote products from these counterfeit sites.  From craft products to Lois Vuitton handbags to household items, these goods are sold at extremely cheap prices and I might add, made with cheap materials. Some people seem to be very upset that their friends or just crafty people that they follow are having their channels removed from YouTube. They as do the people whose channels have been removed, ask why the videos are just not removed. It is in the terms of agreement that you cannot promote counterfeit merchandise on the YouTube site. It states it has the right to pull down channels that violate this policy. Do we honestly think they have the time or inclination to sift through people's videos when they get thousands of requests, weekly to pull these down? Of course not, that is a ridiculous assumption. Some of the people I've been reading about did not know they were doing anything wrong. I understand that. In YouTube as with any social media site, it is the subscriber's responsibility to know what they are posting. Responsibility....a word that is taken far too lightly these days.

I watched a video that a girl posted about her channel being shut down. She very flippantly said she didn't care if the merchandise was counterfeit, it was cheaper and that's all she cared about. Her  videos in which she promoted her "hauls" got the most views and she worked hard to get those views. Yes she worked hard but she made money essentially from stolen goods. That's what these businesses are doing, stealing other people's art. Drawings that come out of my head and my heart are copied exactly from my product line and sold unbranded on websites known to sell fake goods. How can you tell they're fake? They are very cheap...you know the saying, too good to be true? They are sold in generic packaging with no brand and the descriptions are very vague, ie...girl stamp.

I work very hard in this industry. Yes, I have a lot of fun, but I am still up at the crack of dawn working on designs, making samples and kitting for classes on a daily basis. This a job to me. I work like everyone else and to have my art stolen from me is like getting punched in the stomach. It hurts. I have spent a lot of time thinking if I want to continue doing what I do because of that hurt. It's difficult for me to accept that this is just the way the world is today, as I watch shopping sites making millions and putting hard working people out of jobs. Because friends, that is the big picture. It is putting people out of work. These sites have the potential to destroy industries. All because some people think this is ok to buy this stuff.

For those that continue to justify their purchases because it's cheaper, let me break it down for you. I am pulling these numbers from my head, but let's say a stamp cost $1- $2 to make in China. Someone can buy that stamp and sell it on one of these sites for $2 - $3 and make a nice profit, right? Now, someone from the US or anywhere else for that matter buys those stamps at those prices and promotes and sells them on YouTube, Facebook and shopping sites and they make a nice profit. Remember, these are stolen designs. Now the rightful company has the stamps made in China for $1 - $2, has to design packaging, ship them here, market them, sell them to retailers for $3 -$4 all the while paying fair American wages unlike China where they are originally made. Oh yes, the retailers....Michaels, a giant, has to pay their employees and still make a profit. How about those small independent stores that we all know and love? Yes, they need to support their families too. And lets not forget about the many people out there selling online out of their garage to add to their income. This is why things are marked up. We have to pay a lot of people! Can you see how theses sites have the potential to destroy businesses?

It just makes me sad. Copying another's artwork, manufacturing and selling that artwork/product is a crime. Counterfeit merchandise being promoted on any reputable site is usually against their policy. Please don't buy counterfeit. Don't keep these people in business. I am getting tired of getting punched in the stomach daily.

And for those of you that buy the real thing, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love doing what I do because of you! You continue to inspire me with your talent and amaze me with your stories!

22 comments:

  1. So well said Julie. If people don't get that message, then shame on them! We are all lucky to have you in this world. :o)

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    1. Thank you Rhonda. I appreciate you so much!

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  2. So we'll said Julie! I love your art, your designs, and your products. I will continue to support that! Funny story, I recently bought a couple new stamps at A big craft retailer with a coupon...and I felt kind of guilty, not buying from a small independent retailer, as I have done in thge past. I wondered if it hurts the artists, and those on that end of the industry!

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    1. I had the same feeling over big boxes but have come to the realization that they too employ hard working people and that it takes many kinds of business of all sizes to make the world go round. Legitimate businesses, that is! Thank you for your support>

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  3. WONDERFUL post. I'd like to share on my page. THANK YOU!

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    1. You are welcome to share. Thank you!

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  4. I'm so sorry this had to be written, Julie. Good for you for speaking up! I wish there was a better way of stopping the counterfeit items being promoted. I'm glad YouTube has taken a serious stand against it. Our economy is struggling as it is, we sure don't need this.

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  5. I do hate seeing counterfeit products and would never buy them and I’m so sorry your products/business is affected by this trash. Awesome article, stay positive and keep the awesomeness coming!!

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  6. I completely stand against counterfeit, and agree with everything Julie is saying.

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  7. Sad. I guess I am a bit nieve. I never knew this was an issue. Until people get a conscience it will not change. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all this affects. If I see this I will certainly report it. I am so sorry this even has to be addressed.

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  8. This is a beautiful post, Julie and I hate that it had to be written at all. I know exactly how you feel...I've been faced with an issue close to this. Crafting is my side business...I am a writer by trade. I recently discovered pirating websites that were giving my books away for free. I had to go through a legal process to get them to take the books down and I have no way of knowing how many they distributed before being shut down. To know that someone else is profiting from your blood, sweat and tears is hard to stomach. I hope you stay positive and keep creating your amazing products. I've been a huge fan of yours for a long time :)

    Lisa
    A Mermaid's Crafts

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  9. Thank you for sharing this information, Julie! I guess my question would be...how do I know when I purchase from online sites that what I buy is original and not a counterfeit!? I mostly purchase from Michaels (you mentioned them, so I did!!) and from a couple of small business stores here in my town...

    Needless to say, I LOVE your art and your stamps and papers and everything!!! Thank you for sharing your creativity!

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    1. They are not packaged in Prima's packaging and they are extremely cheap. No reputable company could sell any of my merchandise or most others that you know for those prices. These sites are from China and are well known for their fake products. Most people that purchase from them knows this. You will not find fake merch at reputable businesses.

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  10. Wow I must live under a rock I had know idea the extent of counterfeiting. Maybe because I always purchased from local or reputable sites as I too had a great friend who had a local store that had to shut down . I will keep an eye out . Thanks Julie for opening my eyes. Love your talent !

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  11. Thank you Julie. I am an accountant for small retailers. I have seen the damage first hand. I wonder if people out there who want to honor the real stuff know how to spot a fake. I had to be educated. I love what you do...Rosie and thanks for naming a doll after me....just kidding...but I do love it!

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  12. This just makes me sick to my stomach myself. I as an artist understand your deliema, you put all that time, effort, inspiration, imagination and love into that design. It means so much to you inside and then to see someone to promote a product that is crappy, cheap, and not an original does hurt your ego. But Julie just remember that is the 1 percent out of the rest of us who do appreciate for all you do in your designs. And think of this, the ones who choose these inferior products will get what they bought, cheap crappy materials that will be ruined from the acid in the products. Stay strong and know I support you as an artist and will never buy anything that isn’t original, because I SUPPORT YOU....JULIE!

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  13. I'm not sure what is "fake" or "counterfeit" are they made of different material? How can craft supplies be counterfeit? Julie, are your stamps and dies made here in the USA? I know we are all concerned about American jobs going overseas. We need these jobs here so the American worker can feed his family. That's what is most important wouldn't you agree?

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    1. Carol, I'm talking about people taking my products....stamps and dies and copying it and selling it online. It is my artwork that I draw with all my heart and sole and it is copyright infringement. Since there are people who buy this stuff knowingly and unknowingly, I just want to put my feelings about it out there. This is not a political post about keeping jobs in the US. I want people to know how many besides myself this affects. I just happen to live here so that is where most are affected. Stores around the world from Spain to Kuwait and Brazil carry these products and it also affects them. This is not a problem unique to me. This happens to every artist out there. Since I get many messages and emails daily from people who send me links to these sites I wanted to address it because as I said, it feels like I get punched in the stomach every time I see it. You will not find this merchandise on reputable sites. There are sites out there that are foreign and are known for this. The merchandise is unbranded and is in plain packages but it is exact copies of peoples artwork. Thanks for your questions...I hope this makes sense.

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  14. Hi Julie, I do feel very strongly that you have done the right thing in bringing this sad state of affairs to more of your fans attention, as most were probably totally unaware of all the ramifications of how it hurts the artists and the businesses involved. While I appreciate that sadly it may be very difficult to prevent, it still doesn't hurt to stand up and be counted as speaking out against it.

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    1. Rose, you are absolutely right. This sort of thing will always happen. Unfortunately, social media has made it so readily accessible. I know there are many people who knowingly and unknowingly buy and just felt the need to get my feelings out there. Thanks for your reply and support.

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  15. Thank you for this post. I've worked in the publishing industry for more than 30 years and we see the exact same thing happening with our books. For some reason people believe that artists, writers, creators don't need to make a living--that the consumer's ability to profit on cheap knockoffs or pirated work trumps the hard work and skill of the artists trying to put food on the table for their families. Some of these people don't even realize what they're doing. Others realize it and don't care. As creative talents and people working in these industries, we must stand up and educate the general public as to the ramifications of their actions. Thank you so much for speaking out.

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