Duplicate It Yourself: the dark side of DIY

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Here's the scenario: you're looking for wedding invitations online. You find some you like, but they costs more than you want to spend. What do you do?

  1. Figure out if it's worth rebudgeting for so you can afford them
  2. Get inspired and try making something similar
  3. Find a photoshop wizard to make the same invitations for less
  4. Make your peace with the fact that it's out of budget for you and let it go

Recently, it seems as though more and more people are opting for option 3: taking high budget inspiration and aiming for low budget reproduction. And it makes sense, right? Love that $10,000 couture dress but can't afford it? Maybe you send a picture of it to a dressmaker in China and get your couture knock-off for $300. No biggie.

But what if it's not a couture dress created by a big name brand? What if you're reproducing something created by an independent designer or artist? Where's the line about what feels ok and what doesn't? And when does Doing It Yourself simply become Duplicate It Yourself? When does inspiration become swiping something?

There are not solid answers on the issue, and maybe that's why this is such a hot topic in the creative world these days. Join me as I try to figure out how I stand on it…

I got an email last week from an artist whose work I've featured on Offbeat Bride, telling me that she's been overwhelmed by the response … Unfortunately, the emails she was receiving weren't from prospective clients. Rather, they were from budget brides informing her that they can't afford her, so they're reproducing her existing artwork. She got one email with the subject line that put it quite literally: “My apologies for swiping your design.”

I thought it was an isolated incident until I heard that other Offbeat Brides were posting on Deviant Art, trying to find someone to reproduce illustrations I've featured on Offbeat Bride. We're not talking about a Vera Wang gown here. For me personally, I don't really care about Vera Wang (I totally understand y'all may feel quite differently)… but I care deeply about independent artists who are trying to make ends meet by creating custom work for people … people who are instead taking the ideas and seeing if they can find someone to make it cheaper.

The issue is burning up all over the place. I got an email from Princess Lasertron a couple weeks back, linking to this post: “DIY is not Duplicate It Yourself.” You should really go read the post, the general idea is this:

I feel like there exists a disconnect between the artist/blogger/designer's intent (to inspire) and some people's inference that this inspirational content is free to simply be copied.

The blogger goes on to posit that inspiration boards and wedding blogs are a part of the problem. Go read it and then come back.

I've touched on this issue before on Offbeat Bride, when I answered an advice question about when it's worth it to spend money on custom art. The comments on that post spiraled off in some weird directions that made it clear that many folks don't see a difference between custom designed illustrations/art and photoshoppery. Zoinks!

We also touched on the issue when we mentioned the XKCD wedding invitations. Here's an artist who's FINE with you swiping his art, but as this commenter points out — that's rare. Extremely rare.

Part of what I love about Offbeat Bride is that it gives me an opportunity to show off the work of so many amazing independent creative artisans … invitation designers, fashion designers, photographers. SO MANY AWESOME CREATIVE PEOPLE, all working their asses off to share their visions with the world. And I can't deny that it breaks my heart to think that rather than slurp up the opportunity to work with these amazing people, there are some who would rather just try to reproduce the end product.

I need to make a disclaimer here: My wedding planning process and priorities were unusual in that I didn't go looking around for ideas, and then try to find a way to make it happen. My priority wasn't on the end product, but rather on the people I wanted to be involved. I didn't go find inspiration, and then try to enact it. I had people I wanted to work with, and the results were almost incidental. I didn't even know what my reception decorations were going to be — all I knew was that Lower Location Manager Sarah was doing them, and that was all that mattered.

For me personally, that was a big piece of the joy of wedding planning: working with all the amazing creative people whose ideas I loved. I want to recognize that I did things in a different way than many folks, and so my perspectives on this issue might be different.

There's also some confusion, I think, about what constitutes “non-commercial use.” I think some folks feel that if they use a design but don't SELL it for their own profit, that it means noncommercial usage. But when you do this, you're taking away business from the artist — which means it's commercial usage.

I want to clarify that this reproduction really isn't DIY. True DIY is DOING it yourself. True DIY is taking inspiration and seeing if you can translate it into your own work. What I'm talking about here is what the Decor8 bloggers refer to as Duplicate It Yourself. There's just a big difference between seeing something you like and trying to recreate it yourself, and seeing something you like and hiring someone to recreate it for less. As one artist told me, “I'm happy to be an inspiration, and not every spin-off is a swipe.” But when you're trying to hire a creative to reproduce another creative person's work? It feels icky for everyone.

I recognize the grey area and my own logical and ethical inconsistencies. I don't have a problem with ripping off a $10,000 couture gown … but it strikes me as downright icky to rip off a $500 wedding invitation produced by an artist living in a studio apartment. I fully acknowledge that this opinion is indefensible, but I guess I'm saying I'm all for piracy, as long as you're ripping off The Big Guys. For me personally, it feels fucked up when folks start ripping off The Little Guys. This was the same point I made last year in my post about the ethics of an off-shore wedding gown.

But why should only rich people have the pleasure of working with the awesome artists? For some people piracy is a whole lifestyle philosophy. And how can inspiration ever really be owned? It's clear that this is NOT an issue of cut ‘n' dry ethics, and my own thoughts on the subject are self-contracting and weird. I don't have any answers here, only feelings.

So, where do you draw the line?

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Comments on Duplicate It Yourself: the dark side of DIY

  1. For me, the line is drawn when you go from being inspired by what you see, to COPYING EXACTLY what you see. Inspiration can come from a lot of places – ideas come from a lot of different places. But if you take what someone does and make an exact copy of it, that’s wrong, IMHO.

    Now, if I take the hemline of one dress, the sleeve of another, and the overskirt of yet another, and make a whole new creation from the combination, I don’t think that’s piracy or duplication. However, if I see a gorgeous dress online, and I want THAT DRESS!!!, then I think it’s only fair to the creator that you buy it from him/her.

    And, if I see a beautiful invitation that an artist did for a couple, and I like the idea of it, but want to make changes to it, again, that’s okay. I feel you should approach the artist first to see if she/he can accomodate those changes, and if they can do it in your price range, but if not, then you should use their idea as a springboard to something fabulous that you CREATE yourself, not DUPLICATE yourself.

    • But what if what you see is a hardware type item? What if you see a Star Wars light saber handled cake cutter? Now, I admit, I don’t like the saber they used(it’s grown-up Anakin’s and I think he’s whiny), but if I did, should I be afraid to make it? Especially since the article was here, and the gentleman who authored it ENCOURAGED other folks to make one and showed them how.

      Not that your point of directly copying a dress isn’t well taken too…I just think some things its ok to copy.

  2. The reality is that there are few original ideas or designs. Maybe a particular artist does the ‘rock poster’ style or gocco or whatever in a particular way that you’d love to replicate, but they borrowed all their ideas from others who came before. I agree with the poster above that exact duplication is an issue, but otherwise, I think you can go a long way in the inspiration department borrowing things before you’ve done much different than that ‘original artist’ did in creating their product.

  3. I’m sorry, but either offer the product at a reasonable price, hide your designs, or deal with the consequences. Little guy or big guy, it’s all economics.

      • Exactly. My sister thought £200 for an engagement ring was cheap, I was cringing at the thought of having that sat on my finger. (I’ve never owned a ring worth more than £20.)

        It’s all relative to how much you have and how much you’re used to spending on things.

      • I recently attended an art opening of a friend of mine. Her work was reasonably priced, and I felt she was worth much more than what she charged since her work is amazing, but she smartly charges what she feels her buyers can afford.

        An acquaintance came up to her during the show, with an “I’m so cute and poor, can you cut me a deal on this piece?” story. The piece in question was an original painting at her lowest price listed. I knew for a fact that the girl who requested it spends at least that amount every week, on drinks, parties, & clubs. This was not a case that the art was too expensive. This was clearly a case of someone who did not place as high of a VALUE on original art as they did for other areas of their regular budget.

        Culturally, in the market-driven US economy, we simply do not put as high of a VALUE on original artwork as we do just about anything else: from shoes, to handbags, to home repair (electricians & plumbers make 2-3X the average working artist). The only people who see as little return for their effort as artists (profit vs. time and expense to create) are farmers.

        It would be awesome if someday “local original art” saw the same resurgence of value and appreciation as the organic & local food market has recently.

    • So an artist must either undersell themselves, not showcase their portfolio, or run around suing everyone?

      To put it in terms that someone who doesn’t deal in a creative field might understand, I’m your boss. You cost me more money than I think you’re worth. I can get a robot to do your job and not have to pay taxes, unemployment or benefits. Robots don’t take vacations, they don’t cause drama, it’s just so much easier, cheaper and more convenient to me to let you go.

      If you want to stay, you need to take a severe paycut that’s on par with what a robot would cost me, otherwise take off and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

      Is that fair?

      • Yup. Do I like it? Of course not. But that is certainly my boss’s prerogative to replace me with something that can do the exact same job for cheaper.
        Luckily, most jobs require things that a robot can’t do or can’t do as well or my boss decides that zie really does prefer to do good things for zir community and keep humans employed.

        I look at buying the work of artists as a way of supporting the things that I love to see. I don’t feel comfortable ripping off another’s design because that is taking something that I haven’t supported. If I liked it enough to take it, wouldn’t I like it enough to support where it comes from?

        Not being able to afford it isn’t a reason to rip off a design. It’s a reason to use it as inspiration, perhaps, (I love the 7 points of difference rule of thumb that someone else pointed out) but copying wholesale doesn’t jive with my moral code.

      • Unfortunately, yes. Because the market has decided that it is. (I wish that it weren’t, but that and five bucks’ll buy you a Frappuccino).

        It would be nice if the world didn’t work that way, but it does.

    • Right, “reasonable” pricing can be highly subjective, and in the end us “little guys” are just trying to survive and usually don’t even charge enough to sustain ourselves and still work reasonable hours. To that end, to hide our designs would eliminate any new business coming in (who wants to trust someone who can’t show any previous work?), thus also ending these “little guy” businesses. So yes, economics play a role in everything, but it’s about more than just the end consumer. Businesses (especially small businesses!) are people too.

      I understand if you can’t afford a custom piece, but that’s why there are tons of cheap options out there, and if you have the ability to come up with something you love yourself, go for it! Just don’t rip off someone else’s design and justify it by saying that the artist should deal with these “consequences” for putting their work out there and/or being out of your price range.

      All that being said, my beef is with copying EXACTLY someone else’s work or designs, like using an invitation design exactly as pictured other than the names/words. As Sarah mentions, inspiration and trends can often turn out an assortment of similar-looking goods, but isn’t that why people pay more for custom anyway?

      • I wanted to use images made by a certain artist I found on Etsy. All I did was contact the artist and pay a licensing fee for the images. Not only will she be paid for the use of her images, I also am putting her logo and stating, “Watercolor images the courtesy of ____________” with her logo. We will also be thanking her on the wedding program, so that her name gets out there. As an artist myself, I believe artists should be compensated when their work is used. It didn’t cost much to license the images and we both get what we want! She gets exposure and recognition, plus a licensing fee. I get to use her images and design my own invites. Perfect solution and respectful of all parties! We shouldn’t be ripping off indie artists in order to have a champagne wedding on a beer budget.

    • Amen. What’s “reasonable”? Buyers tend to think “reasonable” is “as little as I feel like paying.” Sellers need “reasonable” to be enough to cover their time and materials. There’s usually a great disparity between the two.

      Apparently the original poster of this comment is not in a position ever to have to claim ownership of any ideas at work, etc. Artistic theft is no different from your coworker claiming credit for, and getting paid or promoted for, work you did. Yes, we are all inspired by others’ work, but that’s a far cry from outright copying.

      Artists have to publicize their work in order to keep getting more work, so it’s unfair for them to have to worry about it being stolen at every turn by people who feel that, because they saw it, they can take it for free. Art is art, but art for a living is still a commodity.

    • If an artist’s work is all hidden, how can that artist gain new customers? You may think that the prices we onshore artists set is high, but that’s because you’re used to rock-bottom, Chinese-sweatshop-labor at WalMart prices.

      Truth is, it’s the rare artist who makes a truly comfortable living. I have charged thousands for gowns, but yet without my fiance bringing in a steady Apple paycheck, the bills wouldn’t get paid, even in a modest home with absolutely no debt. Most artists price their work lower than they should to try to appease people, making, in the end, less than minimum wage after the cost of supplies has been taken out of the price.

      When I charge $1000 for a gown, such as on an order I’m working on now, $400 of that has gone to fabrics, and I’m already in the gown about 80 hours. There’s another 20 or so to go. That will mean $6 an hour of actually being in front of my sewing machine or hand-stitching something. This is highly skilled labor, yet I’d make more flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Most artists would. But we do it for the love of what we do.

      • I so totally agree with what you’ve said about doing what you do for the love of it. I’ve tried selling different things that I’ve made over the years, and have known others who’ve done the same, and the overall reception from potential buyers is “wow, that’s pretty, thanks for letting me look.” I don’t want your compliments, I want your $$$. But this is typical flea market mentality I guess. Oh, and because you made it, you should be willing to slash your prices. After all, you made it, right? It’s not like you PAID for it. I swear, sometimes it makes me want to strangle people!

      • Aria, your prices need to go up. A $1000. gown is an off the rack David’s piece of #*% NOT your handmade work. If your materials cost $400. (because I know they do!) then that should be less than 1/4 of the overall price. How many hours does it take to make that dress 50 70 or 100?
        How many years have you been doing your art? You know it’s not something you learn in 4 years in school but took years to perfect. Up your hourly $ to reflect your expertise and your education. Really!

        Anyone can flip burgers that’s why they make minimum wage, you should not!

        • I so totally agree with this but I’m looking at where I’m selling and if I up my prices I will be charging more than anyone else and with the flea market mentality how do I get something to sell when they can buy similar things from people willing to work for $6 an hour?

      • Wow. That’s incredibly sobering. Many people, myself included, need those statistics to really understand the severity of your statement.

        Thanks for sharing.

  4. When I was a teenager, I had a painting teacher from South Africa that taught me that in order for a piece to be “inspired by” another design and still be an original work, it should have at least 7 obvious differences. For instance, on an invite, maybe: 1. Change the font style, 2. Change the back ground color, 3. Redraw or substitute any illustration, 4. Add a border, etc.

    By the time you make sure that there are 7 obvious changes, it becomes its own entity and usually your creativity is flowing and you put more of yourself into it. This is not a legal copyright rule or anything, just an easy way to make sure that you are not truly copying another artist.

    • This is a nice, simple rule to follow. It’s easy to get swept away by a design you really love, but by following this rule you can feel even better about your end product. When your friends and family Oooh and Aahh over your unique invitation or dress design, it won’t leave a sour taste in your mouth. You can honestly say “Thank you!” and “Yes, I DID make that!”. The saying is “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, not “duplication is the sincerest form of flattery”, after all.

    • I am a fashion design student, so for me, the concept of knocking off is pretty offensive. The rule of thumb my instructor gave us is that you must alter at least 40% of the original design to avoid being a knock off.

      In fashion, at least, there is no copyright so technically there is no actual legal or ethical issue with knocking off designs (not logos or trademarks, though). It is also very difficult to create an entirely original garment when you are talking about a garment category as steeped in tradition as bridal. However, what transcends all of this is one’s respect or disrespect for an original designer.

      • It’s true that in Fashion we aren’t protected by the same copyright rules as the Graphic Artists and Illustrators. However, it’s still someone’s work and if there are dates etc that prove it then it’s Intellectual Property theft.

        As I said earlier I am asked to ‘copy’ wedding gowns for clients but we almost always change at least 7 things in the process so it’s never really a copy.

    • That is fabulous! I really agree with that. When you change things to your taste and do the work of those changes yourself, you have really made something that YOU can be proud of.

    • I love this rule! Over the years, I’ve kept a notebook of inspiration for my DIY, never more useful than now when we’re DIY’ing our wedding. But I’ve been very careful to note exact replicas I’ve jotted down vs my own sketches. I have always felt that stealin’ is stealin’… even intellectual theft. I don’t want to shade the happy in our special evening with knowing I’m using someone else’s magic without their permission. But again, that’s just me and my opinion. Incidentally, it’s hard to directly copy when you’re working from pencil sketches anyway, kinda takes off some of the stress 🙂

  5. I think I agree with Nikki. I forget who but a writer once said “If you copy one man it’s plagarism, if you copy many it’s research” and I think the same applies here. Taking little bits from a design or several designs and incoperating them into your own is fair enough, but exact copies aren’t.

    Having said that I also agree with Ariel that in many cases WHO you get to do something can be what makes it special. I wanted a DIY (or rope other people into doing it for you) wedding before I even knew the concept existed because my thoughts instantly jumped to “Mum could make the cake (she’s made every birthday cake I’ve ever had), my friend Mel (artist) could do invitations, I could do flowers” etc.

    Before I knew it I had a list of people I wanted to ask to help out because I love what they’ve done on similar projects before and the fact that it’d save us a lot of money we don’t have was just a coincidence.

  6. I’m probably gonna get eatin alive on this one, but I really don’t see ANY difference between ripping off Vera Wang and ripping off an indy artist. The indy artist would miss the money more, sure, but theft is still theft.

    • You won’t get eaten alive by me. I fully recognize my self-contradictory opinions. Why should it be ok to rip off one person and not another? I can’t really defend it, but it’s how I feel.

      • I agree with Jeri. There is no difference at all. Vera Wang started small and became big thanks to her hard work and inspiration. Ripping her off is the same thing as ripping off a small designer who will never have the chance to grow as she grew. Success is not an excuse for stealing. And anyway, if people rip off Vera Wang the ones who are going to suffer from it are those who work for her. Shops closing, people getting fired, not her. Art should be valued no matter who created it, big or small guy. Does it mean that if somebody painted Andy Warhol’s replica they should have been valued as the original? Art is uniqueness. This is my opinion at least.

        • I agree with this too. The “big guys” and corporations are full of human beings too — so ripping them off still affects individuals. My suggestion is to use the free-market economy to bring down that $10k dress. Honestly, there is absolutely nothing more special about a Vera Wang dress than a David’s Bridal for $600. Many “name brand” clothing, jewelry and makeup is made in the same over-sees shop by the same workers and simply has a different label slapped to it. Rather than ripping off the “big guy”, just stop buying their over-priced merchandised.

          Rather than ripping off a “big guy” or a “little guy”, I did what Ariel did and picked out my vendors first based on their personal relationship to me and my desire for my hard earned money to support them rather than someone I didn’t know. I described to them my general likes and dislikes, my super low budget, and then allowed them to use their creative genius and expertise to make me something customized that fit my price range. This is so much easier than finding something that costs a lot and then trying to transform it into something you can afford by ripping it off and making change upon change so that it doesn’t look ripped off.

          • Vera Wang is designing a line for David’s Bridal, and some brides who have her regular, high-end gowns are bitching that the “specialness” of a Vera Wang gown has been ruined by “regular people” being able to afford them. No matter that the DB gowns won’t be silk or as elaborate or anything, and will more or less be watered-down versions of her regular designs. But you know people will buy whatever she puts in DB just to say they’re wearing a Vera Wang. So now we Indy designers will be competing with mass-produced Vera Wang gowns selling cheap.

      • Probably because the Big Guy isn’t going to go under and have to resort to flipping burgers or something for a living by losing out on 1, or even 10, not-really-potential-customers, whereas the Small Guy may have to give up and do something else. 1 customer lost can be a tenth of the business for the year or more, if you do bridal gowns, like I do, that take a month or more. To the big guys, they get dozens of orders a month for many times more than a small no-name one-woman/man-operation can dream of.

        Maybe because people like Vera Wang aren’t really losing customers because most, if not all, of those who resort to knock-offs would literally have to save up for a decade to afford one of her gowns, which easily exceed the total wedding budgets of many brides these days, whereas a year, or maybe even six months or fewer, of saving up can buy a gown made by a small local artist working out of her home. So the Big Guy, like Vera Wang, wouldn’t be losing a customer anyway since that customer wouldn’t be able to afford it to begin with.

        Ripping a thousand dollars off from me or any other Indy is going to sting a lot more than ripping a hundred thousand off from Vera Wang, for whom it’s more of a pain in the ass than anything, whereas that 1% from me could mean the difference between keeping a roof over my family’s head or having to go live in the spare bedroom at my fiance’s mom’s place and having to give up our dogs.

        These are, at any rate, why I have no problem with designs being ripped off the big name people who are driving around in cars worth more than twice my household’s entire year income, but I’ve got a problem with people knocking off designs from the small names who barely get buy and have no stability in income or assurance of enough orders in any given month to be assured of making ends meet six months from now.

  7. Thank you so much Ariel! I think part of the problem is that we live in a society where everything is so easily accessible. We don’t think about all the work that went into capturing the perfect photograph, or the hours that went into an illustration, or the multiple trials and errors that someone on Etsy went through before they nailed that pattern they’re selling. All it is is a right click away, a quick crop in photoshop to remove the watermark, and it’s “yours”.

    When someone sells something creative like that, they aren’t really selling the art, they’re selling the skill and creativity behind it. No matter what your intentions are if you steal it, you’re basically slapping them in the face by telling them their skill and time are worthless.

  8. I also feel I must add that there is a difference between being “boutique” and being “the little guy” (aka protection-worthy). Charging $500 for $50 wedding invites doesn’t make you “the little guy” to me, although you may be an independent boutique company.

    • Can I just say? You’re not just paying for the end product. You’re paying for their expertise and the years it took them to get to the point where they could create the design that you love in their shop. How do you determine that they should, in fact, be $50 invites and not $500? I disagree with this line of thinking, because as a person who depends wholly on freelance to make the ends meet, the whole “I can get it for cheaper” mentality takes away the worth of my work. If they think their work is worth that much, it’s their prerogative to charge what they feel it is worth. It does NOT give the go-ahead for someone who disagrees with their pricing to blatantly copy it outright.

      • I agree totally, but I do think every consumer has the right to say “that’s too much” and then search for or commission something similar (not exactly the same mind you).

        • Consumers are certainly free to look for the best deal. (When I’m acting as a consumer, that’s usually what I do.) As a seller, I’m always striving to find a good price-point; it has to be a balance between costs (of raw materials, packaging, the cost of doing business with entities like Etsy and PayPal, and my own time) and what the market is likely to bear. I’d much rather sell many items at a lower price than sell just one or two sets per month.

          With that said, value is a very subjective thing. I’ve had a few people write to tell me I must lower my prices, that my (at-cost) shipping charges are too high, etc. on the same day others have placed orders for the very items being complained about. If the majority of people are happy or excited about their purchase, I feel I’ve probably found the right price.

          As far as dupe-it-yourself is concerned–well, frankly I have no problem with people who say they can create the things I sell for less. They’re free to do so. At least part of what they’re paying for is the luxury of time–of not having to take time to buy all the bits and pieces and recreate it themselves. But what I do have problems with are the people who *hire someone else* to rip off an idea or design. You wanna make it yourself, fine. Peachy, in fact. But if you’re going to shell out the money to get someone else to do it, what’s the point? It certainly isn’t DIY any more.

    • So how do you determine that cards are worth $50? Because that’s the cost of the supplies? Or what you’d expect to pay for some cards designed by someone working in a sweatshop who cranks out 20 designs a day for $3, and then are mass-produced in China for $5 and sold to you for $50?

    • As a designer by trade and a small business owner of a jewelry design company, it is hard to compete with mass produced items. I made my sister’s wedding invitations and bridal party jewelry for her and I ended up $300 for supplies alone. I can’t imagine if I had offered to do it for anyone other than my sister because on top of the $300 the time involved was weeks of work.

      • Heh, so many people these days want custom, artist-quality and attention to detail for WalMart prices. Well guess what – we don’t live in China. WalMart pricing won’t pay our bills. I wish people would get this!!

        • Wal-Mart pricing also doesn’t pay the bills of many people in China. Let’s not pretend that saving money on certain kinds of goods doesn’t have a cost as well–it’s just a cost that is displaced and made invisible so we don’t have to consider it.

  9. By the way I have to wonder, even if you are going to copy someone else’s designs why would you email them to tell them that?

    Does anyone email musicians to let them know they’re pirating their music?

    • I think sometimes copiers feel like that protects them from future backlash. Like “oh I copied him, but I already apologized so it’s fine.” it really puts the artist in an uncomfortable position!

    • re: musicians. you might be surprised!

      but really that’s what i found surprising about that too. in reality, a wedding isn’t a public event, so if you ripped off someone’s invitation design, who the hell would know? but then you go and tell them and that is weird.

    • I suspect it was a situation of trying to get back at them for having “too-high” prices. Its a little childish and reactionary but I see (and do admittedly) it in other scenarios such as: “Wow, 25 dollars for a soda and popcorn?? Ill just smuggle it in thank you.” Its not exactly the same thing but the feelings behind the reaction are similar.

  10. Our friend was selling scarves and t-shirts with a screen printed design that I loved, and represents my partner and I really well for our invitations (I’m not going to say what it is here, because I don’t want her work duped :-P). I could have easily used Gimp and created something similar, but I respect her intellectual property so I called to see if she could “sell” me the design. After talking with her this week, and finding out that she doesn’t charge per invite, but hourly, that it would only be a bit more than doing it ourselves. I’m relived to have that time back, and will give her shout outs on my blog.

    To add to Ariel’s point, we had the vendors we wanted to use in mind right away. We’re staying away from wedding vendors, and hiring professionals because we like their work. It’s actually going to come out less expensive, and feel less contrived.

    • You say you don’t want to link because you don’t want her work duped, but don’t you think if it’s good work and she has as good of prices as you say, it would bring her more business?

      • I would definitely put up her link, if she had one. She mainly hits the craft fair circuit, so I’m not sure if she’s got anything up on Etsy either.

        I’m not going to mention what the design is because it’s pretty genius, and fairly easy to replicate.

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