Friday, June 3, 2011

random Barn love

I don't have much today.
The weekend is once again upon us and I will be busy getting things settled at home for a small dinner party.  Hopefully, I will remember to catch some photos.

In the mean time some Barn love.
Random photos of this and that.

Love the heads...

too cute!!  woof.

local artist print

I have to get this off my chest...

Yesterday a customer (guest) came in and stated she had not been in before and did the usual Ooh and aah, which is always flattering. As we talked, she mentioned she worked as one of the design team members for one of the larger companies in town.  The company has 6 in it's chain and last year went to a vintage mix with new product.

I am not an insecure person but I no longer felt flattered, I felt threatened and invaded... this sounds crazy but I didn't want her in my Barn absorbing my inspiration any longer.  She took pictures of my displays, she jotted notes in her book And was looking at my product lines to copy for her company.  Am I being selfish or is this not cool. After she left she sat in her car for over 15 minutes writing frantically..... I really felt uncomfortable that this designer was taking my ideas and talents and going back to present them as her own for this large company.  How does a small time boutique owner have a chance to compete with the big money chains when they copy and steal AND give no credit to the rightful owner.

I know this happens all the time but most people don't let on who they work for. 
Maybe it's best not to know.
Still, it drives me crazy.

... enough of my ranting... the weekend is upon us...enjoy. ~L 


trash talk said... start with, let's not call her a "designer". A designer comes up with their own ideas and doesn't have to run around taking other's. Second...let's call this what it is...STEALING!
This is beyond belief. I wonder what the company would think if they knew their employee was going around helping herself to other's ideas...and talking about it. That's truly throwed off. So not cool. Sounds like you need to post a sign "No Cameras Allowed".
I've always thought you were a dream merchandiser and I can understand her wanting to copy your style, but that's what it is...your style. Shame on her...and shame on that company for encouraging such bad behaviour.

Tracey said...

Well, hopefully she will just use the pictures as inspiration for her own design ideas.

Since she was up front about who she was and who she worked for, I would hope that she doesn't plan to copy knowing that you could go there and see your designs.

You could have a "no picture taking" rule and stamp everything Lori Miller Round Barn and really tire yourself out trying to stop the copy cats.

The best way to beat the copy cats is to not let them beat you. Keep doing what you're doing and bringing it bigger and better like you always do...because really, that's what you're famous for or else no one would bother to be inspired or copy ..right? :-)

Angela said...

That's really slimy...getting inspiration is one thing, duplicating merchandise and displays is not okay. No one who is genuinely creative would even want to do that!

Debra@Common Ground said...

Gosh, Lori, that's stinky. she should never have been so brazen. Walking around gaining ideas is one thing. Photos and notes is quite another!
You are so great at what you do, I just wouldn't worry, even though you have every right to be ticked off. I always come here to get inspired, but that's it...inspiration. And I just wanted to tell you how much I love that plaque about, it's sure not always easy, but always possible!!! big hugs, xo Debra

Amy said...

I really love your garden cement statues, if I only lived closer I would pop in and grab one of the doggy

Amy said...

Omg, Lori you totally have to read my post today.
I just had my designs stolen and it hurts big time!!
I worked in boutiques where you were not even allowed to bring cameras in the store, maybe a sign on the barn door that says no pictures allowed those caught will be asked to leave.

Ido said...

I think it isn't cool, If I was you, I would've asked her to leave immediately and wouldn't let her take pictures, like at the craft shows, there is absolutely NO pictures allowed. I hate big companies, you can't compete with them. I hope they don't copy your merchandise.
I love your blog and always inspires me.
Don't let this ruin your weekend!

Martha said...

If I were you, I'd call this company and tell them that you'd be more than happy to act as a design consultant for pay! And that you didn't appreciate what happened earlier. Also, I would call EVERY store that you order your new products from and make sure they have an exclusivity guarantee in place that others within a certain area can not offer the same is usually about a 60 mile radius!
I'd go shopping in their stores for quite some time and keep an eye on things! Let's just hope that inspiration is all she takeS!
Love your Look Lori!!!

Georgia Gibbons said...

I like Martha's idea. It's pretty bad when feel you have to go to that extent but like you said, it is your business-your dream-your skills-your passion.

MilkMaid said...

Kinda funny that this BIG STORE hires her to design....and she doesn't have an imagination.

Or character.

I agree it's stealing, not inspiration.

Martha said...

Hey Lori!
I received my Matthew Mead "Summer" magazine today! Yay! Hugs!
So glad I found you months ago...your beautiful displays and vignettes are so inspirational. You are truly one talented woman! One day I hope to make it there...all the way from Georgia! Blessings Lori!

Martha P

A Cottage Muse said...

Oh I'd be quite upset too!! I would have stopped her right away when I found out what she was doing. I don't think it would be wrong to call her company and lodge a complaint!!

Your displays are beautiful and just know that they are yours and created from the heart!

time worn interiors said...

I would give anything to live close to you! You are an amazing designer! Have a great Sunday!

time worn interiors said...

Beat her at her own game, call the company and show them pictures of your shop and maybe they will hire you to design for them!! Do it girl!

Lori Miller, Round barn Potting Co. said...

Simply bad behavior is what it is. I'm so mad at myself for trying to always be the gracious hostess... for trying to be nice under those circumstances... and for not throwing her out. I should of made her understand that she had no right to come in and COPY my designs... and then made her leave.

Hind sight... should have - would have - could have.....

I have a call into the manager of the design team at the big store so we will see where this leads.

I just don't want her passing me off as herself!!

Karen said...

I have been thinking about this post a lot and don't know why it bothers me so much. I am not a designer nor would I ever pass myself off as one. Everyone has their own style or lack thereof. Was this person copying products that you actually designed or desiring to copy your style? If someone were to copy items I designed for mass sale to others I would be very offended. If it were my style....still don't know how I would feel especially since a larger store wants to leach off your style (flattered initially?) but then pissed like you. They should be hiring you to consult for them.

Cassie said...

Wow, Lorie....just catching up on your blog....this really stinks! With talent like yours, it's no wonder people would want to emulate your style. As "JunkFest" we've been experiencing a similar problem. We're in our 7th year and have worked hard to build a reputation for our event....seems like others (from 3 different states that we know of) are jumping on the bandwagon by "borrowing" our group has even used our tag line and advertising word for word! We've also had people filming with video cameras. Flattering at first, yes....but maddening as hell when they start cropping up all over!
Is this the price for being original?
Hang in there!

Gretchen said...

What a bummer for sure. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you and can understand your frustrations.
With my jewelry design business I experience this all the time and it's quite frustrating. People steal creative uses/design ideas all the time and than pass them off as their own, sometimes selling just a few booths away from me at large shows and its maddening.
However, I also agree with Tracey that is causes the creative people to constantly stay on one's game and be ever changing, which can be good, but also can be tiring.
I personally am at a quandry as to how handle this whole copycat thing and it frustrates me to no end that others will do this with no guilt or shame. Consequently, I often don't share what I'd like to on my blog, because of these problems and I truly hate that I feel like I have to protect my self and my designs in this way. Still haven't figured it all out, and sometimes feel like throwing in the towel with trying to stay ahead of the copycats out there.
Good luck with your management contact and I hope things work out for you with that person. What happened isn't right.

Anonymous said...

As a retail owner of a shop like yours for 20 years, I can tell you with confidence, that by the time the "big company" puts anything on their sales will have moved on already. That's the whole kick to free enterprise. they have have to figure out what the person is trying to relate, find merchandise, properly display......You --are already into your next vignette.

Take a deep breath next time you find that happening in your store, and tell her no cameras allowed. Post it on the front door and bynthe cash regiister. If it happens, ask her to leave. You have a privately owned business, and have every right to do so, with a smile of course.

You change so fast, don't sweat the fools in the room.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, you don't know that she was actually going to copy you or was just really inspired and it filled her head with ideas and felt compelled to write them down and take pictures of the inspiration. If that's the case she really wasn't stealing. Just exhibiting behavior that casts a shadow of doubt over her motive.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other anonymous comment. Take it as a compliment and I know after visiting your store I am filled with ideas and I use stores like yours and blogs to get into my create mode by being inspired. Even if she is taking all your ideas, aren't you still doing it because you love it (and to make money I"m sure but I'm betting mostly because you enjoy it and are good at it). I love visiting your store and after your blog post about being robbed unfortunately your store gives the sense of unwelcoming to people. It seems like you don't want to share all the great ideas that are out there. I"m a blogger and a crafter, I rent vintage wedding things, and I do photography and I actually have never stamped my name all over everything...I believe in creative karma and would rather share the goodness.

Lori Miller, Round barn Potting Co. said...

I agree that what I do inspires my guests and that is the purpose for doing it. My Boutique survives in an economy that is not so friendly right now because of that.

You have to be different, you almost have to be exceptional to survive these days. So if every store had the same products and the same look, unfortunately, only one would survive. As a small time business, I am only trying to protect my look, my identity.... my business.

The inspiration is for my customers not the neighboring business to copy.

On another note, the big company apologized for their employees behavior that day.... they told me I was actually being too nice and that I should have asked her to leave because at their establishment they would have done just that.