Friday, August 30, 2013

A Plea To My Fellow Bead Store Owners

Dear fellow Bead Store Owners,
This letter is an appeal to each and every one of you to please pay careful attention to how you conduct your business.  While we are each our own unique businesses and we personally do not view ourselves as one company, many times, most especially online, we are lumped as one entity under the heading of LBS. (Local Bead Store).  When one of us behaves unethically and/or breaks the law, we all suffer a bit for it.  Very unfair, but life isn’t always fair, is it?

While I am proud to be an LBS owner for over 28 years now, I am not proud of how some other LBS owners conduct their business.  Nor do I wish to be viewed under the same umbrella as some of them.  Most importantly during the past few weeks when it has been brought to my attention the blatant theft that some store owners are inflicting upon beading designers. 

Stealing their patterns and teaching them in your shops.  And yes, it is stealing.  The excuses have ranged from, *A customer wore it into the shop and I asked if I could teach it*.  Really?  Did you ask the customer if he/she designed it first?
Or, *It’s just more advertising for the designer*.  No, photocopying their pattern is NOT advertising, it is theft.  Ask their permission first, they may just give it to you.  Or…shocker!  You may have to pay them something for their time!!  You know, like you expect your customers to pay you for the beads they walk out the door with!

The latest excuse has just really upset me, *Our patterns reflect a minimum of 20% change as required by American Copyright Law.
* Really?  Where does it say that anywhere? 
If you’re going to take it upon yourself to educate others, maybe you should make sure you know what you’re talking about first.

I don’t want to waste my time here debating the interpretation of copyright laws.  That horse has sadly been beaten beyond recognition.  But suffice it to say that anyone with the ability to read can determine that there is no such law, or addendum to the law, or modification of the law that allows a change of any percentage to make something that somebody else created now yours.  Get real!  And stop making excuses for your theft. 

Actually, this final excuse is so see-through it is almost painful.  It proves that this shop owner knew he/she was taking something that didn’t belong to them and intentionally altering it trying to cover up their illegal and most definitely unethical behavior. 

Not only do I not wish to be viewed in the same category as someone who behaves that way, I don’t want to even be mentioned in the same sentence.
Please, fellow bead store owners.  Be respectful of these designers!  Without them your customers do not have new ideas to create, new innovative designs to be inspired by.

If someone came into your shop and just took things from you how long do you think you would remain in business?  How about if they just picked and picked and picked at you constantly from all directions, walking in daily and just pocketing a little of this and little of that….right under your nose!

Would you be able to stay in business long with someone constantly stealing from you?
Would you wake up each day feeling less and less like it is worth it to keep trying?
Would you feel hurt that others on Planet Bead care so little about your well-being?
Why would you treat someone else on our small planet the same way?

And are you aware that within a very short amount of time 100’s if not 1000’s of people who share the love of beads will hear about what a jerk you are?

The bottom line is that if you want to teach these beautiful designs that are created by someone else, just ask them!  Maybe they can work out a trade with you, a beader ALWAYS needs beads!  Or maybe they will just have a small fee to charge you for each student.  Or maybe they can come up with a set amount and you can support them while they support you.

There are so many ways to do this the right way and not a single reason other than ignorance and greed to do it the wrong way. 

I am begging you all to be respectful of one another.  To be supportive of one another.  Our industry is struggling enough as it is.  If we can care for each other, respect each other we will survive.  If we continue to take from each other this way we will all lose.  Don’t let that happen.  Do the right thing!

If you are an ethically run shop, Sabine Lippert from has designed this awesome label you can display on your website:

See what I mean about how giving someone can be when you treat them well?


Try-to-be-better said...

Thank you so very much Beki!

BeadsForever said...

I support this 100%! Thank you!

Sig Wynne-Evans said...

Beautifully written. I could hug you for that!! People need to be mindful and respect one another!

Ann Recotta said...

I love this. Thank you! I'll proudly post this in my window and on my website.

Ann Recotta said...

Thank you! I love this. I'll gladly post it in my window and on my website.

nangel9 said...

Exactly. Nicely done my friend.

jini said...

beautifully and respectfully stated. i have seen this happen. i don't have a shop, but am a bead artist who has seen friends' work being taught by others.

Thomasin Alyxander said...

Thank you, Beki, for this very useful and important blog. It's a huge problem here in Sonoma County. People think nothing of buying a pattern and then running off copies for their friends. I'll be posting this symbol on our website and in our windows.

Lisa said...

Well said, well written. It's going on the webiste

Denise Bush said...

Absolutely, and thank you Beki! Designers are an invaluable asset to the bead world!

flyingbeader said...

Fantastic Beki! I've seen this happen & bite my tongue so much.

:-) MaryLou said...

Very well stated, Beki. Thank you so much for posting such an eloquent statement about designers' rights.

Mikki said...

Excellent post Beki! So happy something is being achieved.

Cindy Holsclaw said...

Well-said Beki!