Accused of Stealing Ideas, and Received a Menacing Fake Jewelry Order

by Kimmie Blake.

Bar necklace with names, hand stamped by Kimmie Blake

In a world where we can come upon components and jewelry making tools anywhere from Michaels to eBay, it’s very possible that like-minded artistic people often come up with the same ideas at relatively the same time.

Who is to say who copied whom, or who is to blame?

My scenario is this:

Over the years I have gathered an extensive collection of metal stamp fonts, often spending hundreds of dollars on custom made ones only to see cheaper versions come out later (this is not my complaint at all however).

Beaducation is a website that sells all kinds of metal design stamps, fonts, and stamping blanks – along with tutorials and project ideas. I often browse through it and get inspiration.

If all these materials are readily available to the public, it makes it kind of hard to have anything that is ‘truly original’ in the hand stamping jewelry arena.

New Orleans Hope Bracelet by Kimmie Blake.

I’ve been working hard to build my designs, gather my materials, and put together a show, after 10 years of hard work. I had my oldest daughter two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit, and continued to make jewelry in our FEMA trailer. My daughters are now in school, so I can devote more time to my jewelry passion.

This past month I had the wonderful opportunity to do my first show, Baby Fest here in New Orleans. I spent my personal savings to get a booth at Baby Fest.

I barely made enough to cover my booth at Baby Fest, but I did manage to get my designs and my name out there.

So I was excited to see an order in my email the very next day. . . hoping that maybe this would finally take off like I had hoped.

I was heartbroken to find out that it wasn’t an actual order, but a fake order with somewhat of a menacing undertone.

Where the name of my customer was supposed to be were the words ‘thief thief’ and the email address they left was ‘weknowyoustoleourideas@gmail.com’ – obviously everything was fake:

Screen capture of the top part of the fake order.

I was stunned. I have never stolen anyone’s ideas, and quite honestly, if I am hand-stamping names and quotes on sterling silver, and apparently someone else is as well, how is that stealing?!

The stamps, designs, and blanks, were made for a purpose – to stamp on metal.

I think I am just bothered so much because I haven’t seen anyone in my town doing this, and the fact that whoever placed this fake order didn’t have the gumption to approach me honestly if they felt I ‘stole’ anything.

Hand-stamping isn’t the only thing I do, but I thought it would be interesting to do a ‘live hand-stamping’ at Baby Fest so people could order something right away, walk around the festival, and I would have it ready for them in 15-20 minutes.

I thought it was pretty genius since I’m such an impulse buyer and hate to wait for things myself.

Love You to the Moon Pendant by Kimmie Blake.

That’s all I really had with me at the show, so that is why I’m assuming it’s the hand stamping thing.

I think the reason this bothered me so much was because I had no way to answer this person back. I would like to stick up for myself and hate feeling ‘attacked’.

Kimmie Blake
KB Originals

Comments:

So sorry
by: d’Olivia

Wow, sorry you had a nasty experience. There may be similar things out there in the jewelry world, but it doesn’t mean you copied anybody. I hope you have business success, and that the other person gets their karma.

Ignore them!
by: Cyndi L

I know it’s really hard to ignore something like this, but you will need to try as much as you can to just move on. People who buy from you are obviously very satisfied with the work you do, and those who would attack you in this disingenuous way are not worth your time or emotions. Best wishes to you in your attempts to build your business, and remember…basic techniques belong to NO ONE!

Stealing Ideas/ Fake Order
by: Pamgstudio

Hi Kimmie,

Just wanted to encourage you to continue with creating your wonderful jewelry! There are so many creative ideas out there and I see similarities in work all the time.
Most creative people are often inspired by other artists work anyway, I know that I am!
With technology the way it is, many jewelry designers are familiar with the same websites, and probably order from many of the same vendors, the trick is to create what moves or inspires you and add your special touch to make it your own.
There are some folks who will get sooo wrapped up in trying to keep others from “stealing from them”, (and I’ve met some of them) that they
ultimately stop creating themselves!
You’ve gone through a lot and you deserve your success. So, Kimmie You Do You, and enjoy the creative gift that you have acquired!

Pamgstudio@etsy.com

oh, good grief!
by: Rita Juhlin

Sounds to me like you ran into someone with a bad case of jealousy and envy. Stamping and words are hardly something anybody owns, nor the moon and the stars, lol.

I’d be willing to bet that whoever sent that nasty-o-gram is someone who really would love to have your talent and craftsmanship. In addition, they probably don’t have the means to enter the show.

Put it out of your mind, and certainly don’t be worried that you can’t respond. They are just trying to divert your focus. People who would stoop so low are just icky and you know the truth; that’s all that really matters!

Thank y’all!
by: Kimmie

Thank y’all so very much for your positive feedback! I adore what I do and would defend it to the core, except no one gave me a chance to do that! I love making jewelry, and I love the jewelry making community. I’m grateful to Rena for letting me vent! It was very therapeutic!

Oh that’s Horrible
by: Janine G

So sorry you had to go through the horrible side of retail. That is immature of the other person. I mean really, how cowardly not to let you be able to respond!
A long, long time ago I did some designs for a religious jewelry company. A really big one that I shall not name but it is one of the biggest in the East coast that makes rosaries and such. I took a tour of the company warehouse. They gave me some sample beads to work with too. I loved it. I sketched and created away. I dropped off the designs and NEVER HEARD FROM THEM AGAIN!! I tried to contact them several times over the years and only spoke to one person who said basically thanks but no thanks to the designs.
I was supposed to get the sketches back but never did.
A few years later I was in a gift shop that sold religious items and of course there was one of my designs. I gave them all my paperwork and proof (I was young-19-I didn’t know better). These things happen unfortunately but you can learn from them. I learned to keep copies of paperwork, photos of all work and my own contract to sign. If only I had the chance again!!
Anyways I love your tags and would love a custom one someday maybe for mom’s day! Your stuff is awesome-keep doing it and remember no one owns designs or techniques!

ignore the jealous ones
by: Cathydee

Kim, i know how you feel…..i always want to confront people like this…just to see where they are coming from and how they can justify their words. (???)and i bet they are what we would see as a “spoiled adult brat”….Stuff like this drives me nuts..
BUT-just keep doing what you are doing. we love our treasures from you…..and look to you to help us create our own orginal piece….

East Coast Support
by: Janice

Let that be just a reminder that competitors are also checking out your work, and nothing more than just that. The only way anybody can claim anyone stole anything is if you used a specific designed stamp they had custom made and trademarked, not one trademarked for sale and for use of others. Your jewelry is unique in the way which the artist expresses it from within (heartfelt). Look at all the American Flag pins made by many manufacturers, and words and letters are any American’s right to put on anything. The good news is this… that person who obviously is worried about you, actually likes your talent. Kimmie, your talent is connecting to people and their needs, to keep thoughts, loved ones and comfort around them. Move along, this is a country built on good ideas, and plenty to go around for everyone! As for your jewelry, you and this person are not the only two who stamp out jewelry. I chose you because, you are a Mom who has passion about what you do, and create a relationship with your customer. Every detail you add, or ask to do gives me the feeling that you have a need for creation from yourself. I know this because I am also an artist.

Sweet On Silver
by: Rhonda

Lots of “so called” artists are obsessed with the idea that there isn’t enough to go around. Often their own bitterness keeps them from the very customers they are trying to sell to. Try not to let it bother you. Just be prepared to hear from this person again, and take action if you can. Oh, and by the way remember, there is always plenty of business to go around, you just need to be open to receiving. Good Luck!

People Are So Lame Sometimes
by: Beth Markley

To the accusers … two Words: Independent Invention … Look it up!

Oh wait, I did: “invention arrived at independent of others: an invention arrived at independently, even though another group of people may have created the same invention in a different place at a different time”

I totally used to be worried about sharing my work, but then my Cultural Geography class from college kicked in. This happens ALL the time. We are human, we think, and sometimes people think the same way.

And, as Janine G. stated “That is immature of the other person. I mean really, how cowardly not to let you be able to respond!”

Hope you are feeling better, Kimmie!

Don’t worry Kimmie!
by: Cathy@SilverSeraph

Don’t worry Kimmie… it happens all the time. I actually do the same thing you do and I didn’t even know you were out there! I run into people at shows creating the same types of pieces as me all the time.
There are lots of people doing hand-stamping and if others want to think they invented it, they’re just delusional (although it’s hard for us who try to help each other to believe that some people can be so petty!).
So all you can do is shake it off and know that you’re right in continuing to do what you love… and you’re very good at it, so why deprive New Orleans of your talent! Best of luck to you… your designs are beautiful!!

Thief Thief
by: Anonymous

I’m sorry you had to experience this ridiculous attitude from an anonymous person. If this person was really concerned about the designs, she/he would have contacted you using their names and not a fake order. In this business there will be many instances where a product will be the same or similar to other products available in stores, craft fairs & online. My son makes Lampwork Glass Beads for necklaces, bracelets etc. and, of course,we see many others making the same products & similar designs as us. One Lampwork Bead maker in our town makes a necklace consisting of a sterling silver chain with one glass bead lined with metal and has copyrighted this design! Ridiculous waste of time & money. In the past month, she has made a necklace with a pendant and one or two glass beads & crystals. Guess what? We’ve been making the same thing for 3 years!! She didn’t ask our permission to do this. Keep working on your jewelry & consider the source of the fake order.

STAMP out meanies !
by: Patti

Kimmie- first of all, staying with your art while raising little ones in a FEMA trailer in the chaos that was NOLA after Katrina says something about your personal strength and your dedication to your craft. Secondly, your work is truly lovely and really well done. Lastly, just STAMP that meanie out of your head…girl, whoever sent you that ugly email is not worth anguishing over. The obvious goal was to harrass and discourage you…but draw on the strength that got you through life in that FEMA trailer and move forward knowing that a stunt like that in no way diminishes what you do with your art. The author of that email is the one with the problem. By the way, love love love your NOLA hope bracelet…and, geaux Saints!! xoxo

I see it all the time…
by: Alane Weissman

Ya know I am constantly running into people like this. They come over to my booth at shows and go to my website and then I see them making the same pieces and putting them out to sell. They do the same shows as me. I even had one jewelry designer buy a pendant necklace from me for “herself” and she put it on another chain and put it out on her table to sell three days later. I live in NY so she went around and sourced the pendant and made more. It was so blatant and ridiculous. You have to keep moving forward and don’t let them intimidate you. They copy because they admire or are jealous. You can’t stop doing your business out of fear someones going to copy you or its already been done. I had a girl come over to me at a bead show in NY recently who I know makes jewelry and I was buying these pendants from a vendor and she asked what I was going to do with the pendants and I was nice and I told her and she was threatened and told me “Oh I made that already and sold it to
Bloomingdales”. As if I shouldn’t bother to continue because its been done. I say screw that!!!! Do what you do and forget these jerks!! Its very hard to make anything truly original these days. Creative people do come up with the same ideas. It just happens. I have learned not to talk to anyone about what I am making or doing anymore. BTW you may be able to find out what computer that order came from. It will have an IP address. You should try and find out. Maybe you can get an address and send a letter.
www.alaneweissmanjewelry.com

Thank You!
by: Kimmie

It’s so exciting to see a note in my email that I have a new comment on this situation. Your words have been so kind and encouraging. I’m grateful that I was able to vent this on a forum that is so full of support! Thank you all!

This too shall pass
by: Ruth

Hello,

This is the dark side of the public. Many of the statements made so far have enormous truth.
My gut feeling is the individual who went this far is vicious and unstable. People who are mentally unbalanced often act this way and encountering them has occurred and bothered each and every one of us. Besides making jewelry I work in public service and the ratio of unstable encounters is about 1 in 10. Sometimes we need more than “thick skin” to stay on the job; I personally used my psychology education to help me work through a few difficult days until I developed a method that helped to distance myself from this type of behavior. I may have written too much here, but the last thing you or any of us need is to deal with this kind of stress. Unfortunately as long as we are working in a public environment we all will have to expect the occasional odd ball. Like the last post, if it happens again get the law involved.

Oh the stories I can tell.
by: Anonymous

What else could you do with metal pendants and stamps but stamp designs , names, words???? I made a stamped guitar pendant that I had never seen that said YOU ROCK. Later I saw several just like that online. They didn’t steal my idea and I didn’t steal theirs. YOU ROCK is very common and putting it on a guitar pick is a no brainer.

My sister in law went to a shop in Myrtle beach and bought a Swarovski bracelet with a sterling angel charm. When she came home I told her those are the same thing I make just with a different charm. She said you can’t get this charm it’s exclusive to that shop. (the shop owner told her that) I said uh you need to do a search on Ebay as people have been selling that same charm for years !

Several years ago A coworker bought a pink and white beaded bracelet that was supposed to represent fighting breast cancer. She paid 50.00 when it may have been worth 20. Another coworker told her that I could have made it and would have charged a lot less. She said no she can’t the lady has a copyright. That is what the seller told her. It was pink and clear Swarovski strung on wire with a simple toggle clasp. Nothing that many of us have not made hundreds of thousands of times before.

It’s amazing what people THINK they invented LOL Sorry that happened to you. It’s amazing how rude and delusional people can be ! Hang in there.

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Comments

  1. I am so glad you wrote this. I have wondered if when I see a design on a beading or jewelry website and even on here if I am copying it by making something similar. I am new to jewelry making( less than a yr). and mostly I do my own designs but sometimes I see something and think wow that is great I want to make it. I hope if someone sees one one my pieces and its similar they would think hey Im glad others like it enough to want to put their spin on it. I have seen on etsy a follower or two of mine design a piece like mine after they “favorite” it and I am glad to inspire someone else’s creativity. I have recently bought the stamping supplies (basic typewriter letters) to start making necklaces as I thought it would make great personalized gifts. I’m starting with the basics of names and birthdates/anniversaries so hopefully none of the million other stamping crafters think this is copying. I think the person who sent you this fake order is a child whining about what is theirs that clearly was not taught what sharing means. Everyone has their talents and sometimes we have a similar like we see on a huge expanse of widely available internet sites. That does not makes us a thief. If it does than I guess 75% of us are guilty of been impressed by something and wanting to make our own.

  2. Kathleen Bennett says:

    What a shame for you to receive such a nasty email and what a shame for the person who sent it to you. I often feel sorry for these people as there must be a lot missing from their lives and they must be truly unhapy.
    Do try to get past this. I haven’t had anything like that happen to me, except for one show I went to when the owner/designer followed me about to see one of my necklaces that i was wearing, but wouldn’t address me. I soon left. Keep your chin up and all the best in future.

  3. Vicki says:

    All inspiration comes from things we have seen somewhere. I guess that makes us all copycats in some way. I have also had the same experience. What always amazes me is when people ask if they can take pictures or discuss how they saw something like it online and they could make it themselves, very nervy. I am always amazed at how people feel threatened because of their belief in lack. I believe there is enough to go around and that we are all blessed with interests and talents that we are supposed to share if it makes us feel good. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t worry about nasty people. You did nothing wrong and they are only hurting themselves by behaving in such a way. Blessings to you!

  4. TheLadyZeke says:

    I designed some earrings recently that were a simple, yet strong, statement of a political opinion. A girl half the country away from me contacted me and wanted 100 pairs of them – for fundraising, it turned out – in three weeks’ time. I told her that wasn’t possible, as I would have to order some of the parts from overseas. She was willing to consider waiting for me to get the parts, but then offered to make half of them for me. The fact she was going to buy the parts herself, make half of them, would have meant I had no quality control over her pieces… would have had to take a considerable paycut because she made some of them… um, no. Because I don’t buy my parts in the same places, over and over, I wasn’t willing to just roll over and let her take my design and cut into my profits, even for fundraising. What would have made me $2000 was suddenly going to be $400, if I were lucky. Because she suddenly revealed she makes jewelry too, but wouldn’t share her page with me, I strongly suspect she has decided to co-opt my design for the fundraiser and make the money herself… so I’ve told a friend in her state to ask anyone who wears them that she might see where they got them from… I realize that more than one person can come up with an idea, but after the communications between us, I’m fairly confident she is going to do this.

  5. Debby Hogue says:

    Kimmie, Hi! I hate to read about such a really cowardly stupid person. I agree with all the above comments in that this person is insecure, jealous and kind of scary! I have been making jewelry off and on for about 7 years. I am in no way a professional. I just love to make jewelry for family and friends. I have not had any formal education or instructions. I have learned entirely from reading books, online lessons and from seeing pieces in stores that have caught my eye. I’ll say to myself “I can make that!”. You see, I am not the creative type. I can’t design, create original art. I copy everything I see. I do try to put my own spin to it. Truth be told, it never turns out as pretty as the piece I copied. Does this make me a thief? I don’t know. I hope not. If it is, then I am very sorry. I can’t always afford to buy some of the handcrafted, beautiful pieces out there. But I can copy cheaper using cheaper components. I feel that what you do is use your very OWN imagination and creativity to design a piece. You may have been inspired by something you have seen, but for goodness sakes it does not make you a thief. Please don’t let this person discourage you. Then they win! Keep making your treasures and keep putting your love and heart into each piece you make. They are from your mind, heart and hands. No one can copy or steal that. Brightest Blessings, Deb Hogue.

  6. I’m stunned! Someone actually tried to lay claim to metal stamping with a simple font! What exactly did they think was “theirs?” The basic font, the common phrase, another person’s name, stamping something onto metal, or maybe metal itself! Outrageous! Sorry this caused you grief.

  7. What an idiot. Look, there’s an old saying: Steal from one person, you’re a thief. Steal from many and you’re a designer (or something to that effect). I see things I like all the time, and I think to myself – I LOVE that, but maybe with green instead of blue here, and oooh, those beads I got that one time for this project that they didn’t work in, and I’ll stamp a charm but I’ll put THIS saying on it instead of THAT saying…by the time it’s all said and done, I’ve basically taken the exact design of somebody and completely made it my own. I even have some “signature” pieces that I’ve done “repeatedly” that it turns out are subtly different every single time. The thing is, there is a long history of jewelry “copycats,” some going to great lengths to create exact looking copies and others copying the spirit of the thing. Even in haute jewelry, you can see OOAK or “limited to 5” jewelry that is worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars…but within a short time after those pieces are introduced, the likelihood that you can find copycat styles for almost all of them is very strong.
    I guess maybe I’m not making a lot of sense, but what I’m trying to say is, even if the person had a legit beef with you somehow making something that was detail for detail and exact duplicate of something they made, it would be foolish of them to complain. The nature of the world is such that using similar components and similar tools, we will of course come up with similar creations. The true test of artistry lies in the details. I hang a tiny cross charm on each of my creations near the clasp. I know a designer who uses only wrapped loops on everything. I know another one who has an absolute love of vintage crystals and I’ve seen her prising old crystals out of old jewelry to use because she just loves them so much. Each of those little details is the art in our creations. Your creations have great heart – they’re lovely. Keep on keeping on. <3

  8. Don’t worry about the nasty-gram. The people who accuse you of theft behind your back do so because their claim is indefensible. I had someone accuse me of stealing their designs a while back. An absolute falsehood. Eventually this came back to me and I confronted the person, politely, to give her the opportunity to explain to me which designs she thought I copied. I knew I had not copied her and it bothered me. I wanted to keep good relations with my fellow artists so I felt the best thing to do was open a conversation. Lo and behold, she refused to talk to me about it… why? Because she had no leg to stand on and she knew it. I’m not the only one she has accused. A third party was recently tending the jewelry counter at a gallery I’m in and the accuser was there. The third party also has jewelry in the gallery and she had some seashell jewelry as does the accuser. A fairly new line for both of them. The customer was looking at the third party’s seashell jewelry. The accuser made a big sigh and said to the customer ‘everybody is making seashell jewelry now.’ The customer then showed the ladies a seashell bracelet that she had bought from me. Accuser said again “everybody is making seashell jewelry these days.” “On no,” said the customer. “Delia made this for me five or six years ago.” The third party said this shut the accuser up on the spot. It later came back to me that what she thought I had stolen from her was a bangle bracelet with a single stone and a clasp. This is a very common design. It’s everywhere. It’s like accusing someone else of copying you for making one of those tree pendants. I remember, looking back, that after I put my bangles in the gallery she suddenly made a dozen or more of them to put in right behind me. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, because as I said, it’s a very common design. Nothing unique or special… but her over-reaction certainly was something special. I’ve decided that her ongoing accusations aren’t worth considering. She’s since made indirect accusations regarding other artists copying her in conversation with me, to which I responded “isn’t that a pretty common design technique? I see it all over the internet.” She doesn’t speak to me about other artists copying her anymore either. I see her antics as insecurity. She’s really a very talented lady and I don’t understand why she needs to act out like this. I’ve decided to just dismiss her behavior and accusations, whether they be about me or anyone else, henceforward.

  9. if you’re a sensitive person like i am it’s hard to dismiss those type of people, but i’m learning all the time to “let it go”. what an eye opener to deal with the public. i once sold alot of distressed copper w/washers, and i had someone order alot for the holidays. then one day she told me she saw them on etsy/pinterest. she still bought mine. i looked the sites up and they looked like mine! in fact i surprise and momentarily thought the person copied mine. ha ha 🙂 so it’s been an eye opener all right.

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