Saturday, October 16, 2010

with all this exposure there is always a danger....

LFN Textiles Orange Suzani Ribbon 2.5" wide

...and I am not talking about the Social Network movie.  This week I got a cheery note from my British sister in law telling me she had seen my ribbons on a vendor's stall at a show in London, and she gave me the URL.  I always like to see who sells my ribbon so I looked it up and was horrified to find 11 of "my" ribbons, actually knockoffs of popular LFN ribbon designs.  Utterly recognizable designs, but poorly woven, colors off, narrower widths and yes, cheaper prices. I include four of my designs which were among the knockoffs, and there were 7 others at least. (these are my designs, not the copies, pictured)
LFN TIny Christmas Cakes ribbon, 1" wide
most people think only Gucci bags and music get pirated or knocked off.  They enjoy getting designer goods at a cut-rate price and think it doesn't really hurt anybody.  I am here to tell you that any creator is likely to suffer.  Copyright laws exist but are difficult to enforce, and most copycats know that minor changes are enough to render a design "new " and original enough.

This is the third instance in as many years that I have uncovered knockoffs of my designs, always by accident when someone tells me they have seen my ribbon somewhere (last year was a shoe manufacturer who actually got samples from us and then had the designs printed more cheaply).

LFN Big Bee ribbon, 1.5" wide
The damage this does is twofold.  Of course, I am not being paid for my designs.  It also introduces a cheaper, less well made item, which is detrimental to the reputation of my beautifully designed ribbons.  Their prices undersell mine which causes its own harm.

Having things manufactured abroad, notably in Asia, exposes one to this kind of piracy much more easily.  One never can blame the little guy who is buying these ribbons, not knowing the harm done; but it is really difficult to trace the source and it is nearly impossible to prosecute.

Auricula Ribbon, LFN Textiles, 1.5" wide, brown ground
I would like to ask you, my supporters, to keep an LFN watch out for me for a while.  Let me know whenever you see ribbons you think might be mine, for sale in stores abroad.  I am particularly on the hunt for the British distributor right now.  We are pursuing our own investigations at Renaissance Ribbons, but I could use your help.  You can leave comments here or email me at laura@lfntextiles.com.  Thanks!

PS: I have now heard from the shop owner who was unwittingly carrying these ribbons and she quite reasonably asked me to remove her photos from this posting, which I have done, so I am only showing the original LFN designs, not the copies.  You may use your imagination, they were similar enough but the widths and colors were slightly different.  Others copied include Allium, several colors of Palmette and Suzani and Poppy.

I should add that the shop owner was mortified and quite lovely about taking the offending ribbons off her website.  She purchased them Asia and saw them everywhere there.  It is frightening -- but some people have pointed out it is the way of the world and I should feel flattered and keep moving.  The answer is always new designs.  Not sure I agree, but what else can you do?

2 comments:

  1. I am so disappointed for you, but not surprised if someone can make easy money off someone else's back they will. I will certainly keep an eye for you. ;)

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  2. oh Laura - such a drag! It's horrible. i remember I saw one of the RR flower designs as a cheap copy as well a couple of months ago (and informed Edith). I'll certainly be on the look-out!

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