Etsy Success: Copying vs Inspiration

Let me start by saying this... in no way is this directed to any one person or incident. I really wanted to talk about my feelings on the issue because it is a frequent problem in the art/craft world.

So lets talk about it... shall we?

The Unique Idea
First off I want to say that it takes a lot of effort, hard work and confidence to come up with a unique idea. This idea could be anything from a product, to a slogan, to the design of a logo... to anything.

Having a unique idea is scary sometimes too. Should you share it with the world or not? Why do you ask yourself this question..? because it takes a split second for someone to come along and claim it as their own without you ever knowing.

I know I have been scared but then I realized if I don't share it someone is bound to have an idea like it sooner than later and keeping it hidden does nothing for it. So think of the courage it takes... the confidence to go fourth with a unique idea.

Then enters the world of pinterest and camera phones it easy to access what ever info we need to deconstruct this unique idea and make it our own. One thing that always aggravates me at craft fairs is when someone says oh I can make that at home then they have the nerve to take a picture of it. Clearly all that is going through my head is your going to replicate my piece of art.

Maybe it inspires us right? I know I have taken pictures of things because they inspired me. However I always keep my head on straight and try not to photograph other peoples work. Why???? Well why should I? The only reason I might want a picture of someones work is to copy it. If the work inspires me then that inspiration should have rooted deep inside me and allow me to go home and make something unique from it. I take a picture and I am very likely to copy it. If it really inspires me... goodness I will buy it and take it home!

Over the past year I realized that if you have a good idea ( a blossoming idea) someone will copy in some form or fashion. I have heard time and again people say take it as a compliment. I have heard some say do something about it. I have had it boil deep inside me and make me want to break down and wonder if I could ever make anything again.

The other thing I realized was that none of these things solve the problem and in most cases it makes it worse. The only thing that has worked for me is to see it, move on and forget about it. If someone has to use an idea from someone else in order to get somewhere then good luck! They will never be able to rise above it and be who they truly are. They will always hide behind a mask of lies and never receive the absolute happiness that you get when you see your original idea blossom.

But their are those people who are oblivious to it. Who take compliments from the unoriginal idea and feel great about it. They may even make money or a living off it. Pathetic. All I can say is are you really fulfilling your soul?

So whats the difference?
So in my eyes here is the difference... Inspiration is purely a feeling. Something that makes you think differently about life and changes your ideas. Something you can take with you forever. You can't leave it at home and you certainly don't have to turn on your phone to see it.

Copying is taking from a idea and replicating any part of it. You see something you like and you do the same thing but you change it up a little or even a lot to make it your own. To me this is copying even if no one notices.

So why do I put the two things in one post together?
It's the people who say I was inspired by.... as an excuse to their copying ignorance.

I have many many times found myself desperately wanting to copy an idea because it was that good. I have even copied ideas trying to make them my own but then looked at myself and was ashamed. It's hard not to copy really awesome ideas.

There have been times when someone came over and saw something I had made myself that I had copied off something on etsy and say oh that's cool you should sell it..... it's tempting and I just shrug my shoulders. Then there were times when my sister came over and saw it and said I saw that online somewhere... and then I would admit I copied. It is a battle between being yourself or everyone else. I always have to remind myself of that when I am tempted.

The problem is that this is how we keep ourselves from our max potential. Copying ideas just puts you in a realm with a lot of other people while an unique idea puts you on your own level.

Last Words
 I know that if I keep going trying to make my creative business into something real I will deal with it the rest of my life. I only wish it didn't happen but in essence if people didn't want to copy then would you have buyers? followers? fans? We all wish we could be like someone else and isn't that in itself wanting to copy.

The reason I wanted to write this post is because maybe... just maybe it will inspire someone to change their life and see beyond a mask. I try to always put myself in another persons shoes even if those shoes would never see my feet.

In no way am I accusing anyone of anything. This is not for that. There are people I have ran into who I never crossed paths with before who like and did the same things as me but you can tell when people are inspired by totally different things even if they make the same thing. A lot of people make terrariums, jewelry, dream catchers.... but the great thing about it is that they are all so different! You can see different influences, styles, inspiration, ideas behind them. You instantly realize this is not a copy and it becomes more valuable.

Copying is a crutch the more use it the less likely you will ever walk or even run!

Let me know your thoughts? I would love to hear!


  1. Great post!! I love the many many ideas out there on Pinterest and such, but it takes our desire for uniqueness and turns our DIY whatever into just another cookie cutter thing. That's the whole reason I like arts and crafts, because it's not like what everyone else has. Copying defeats the purpose.

  2. i feel the same way. what i think gets us jazzed is the whole process of creating, from the initial spark of the idea, thinking about how to make it work, colors, structure, etc. and then the actual making of it. it's the whole thing. copying someone leaves the best part to someone else. in my humble opinion. excellent post.

    1. Thanks Lisa and you made an excellent point yourself!

  3. I like this post. I find myself dabbling in a few different areas of art, and in some areas i have zero ability to come up with my own ideas. I will go on websites and copy peoples drawing to then compare them afterwards to see what my style is and how i can use that to help me come up with my own original ideas.

    When it comes to 3-d art work like sculptures and clay and all that - I can totally make my own stuff and dont need to copy other things to get stuff done.

    I hate that I am unable to come up with original ideas for drawing. I can draw still lifes and stuff but I wish I had something in my head that could take away what things look like in real life and transform it into something beautifully artistic. I dont do anything with my drawings other than keep them in a sketch book and if i put them on flickr I link to the original piece I copied from.

    I wrote a post about poetry and inspiration and the feeling of cheating



So what do you think? I love reading comments... drop me a line and a link!