Friday, August 17, 2012

How To Protect Your Products in a Handmade Market

Last week my Photoshop for bloggers partner Gina asked me to do a guest post over on her blog.

She has a series called Handmade 101 where she gives tips and tricks for how to run your handmade shop.

I was so stoked to be a part of it! Thank you Gina for letting me be included in this awe-some series!



I wish someone had told me how to protect my work better. Here was little me starting in such a HUGE handmade community, I didn't even think I would make a sale let alone have someone try to copy me.

You work HARD, no one should reap off your success. You should definitely keep that in mind when putting photos of your products online.

3 Ways on How To Protect Your Business

1. Watermark Watermark WATERMARK.
This was a big mistake of mine. I'm a graphic designer so I make all original artwork prints that I sell in my shop. I also make original artwork necklaces and plushes. Some of you might not be a graphic designer so you are thinking "why do I need to watermark my photos, they're not artwork that someone can steal and re-print and sell themselves"

And yes, this is true. But there are awesome sites out there now like pinterest and tumblr where people place images on there all the time with out any links on them. If your product is an original painting or a necklace it doesn't matter, you ALWAYS want people to know that that photo they see circulating on pinterest belongs to YOU.

You don't have to take away from your products shots by adding text to them. You can see what I did with my necklace photo below. I kept the font small yet big enough to be read comfortably and I also made it a light gray color so when it is being views as a thumbnail its not distracting.

If you can't fit all your links at least include your shop link and your blog. You blog most likely has a section in there where people can contact you through other social media outlets. Now if your product photos go circulating online with out a link back to your shop or blog people will still now how to find you and your product.

Also this will hopefully detour people from copying your work. People tend to try to steal other people's work if they can not find the original place from where it came from. It happened to me. The person who copied 3 of my prints point blank said to me "well, I saw it circulating on pinterest with out a source link so I figured I'd copy it"

2. Get 1/2 Payment Upfront For All Custom Orders
Regardless of what you sell online I am sure you have had at least ONE person contact you and asked you to change your product slightly to make it fit their needs OR ask you to come up with a new product completely for them.

For most custom requests I ask that my clients give me a 1/2 upfront. That 1/2 fee is non-refundable. I can't tell you how many blog posts I read from other graphic designers who created invitations for a bride and then the person never paid them. Or someone took the time to order new supplies to make 10 necklaces for a bridal party and then the bride flaked out. Offering a 1/2 non refundable deposit will help you work with people who are serious about your work and respect you as an artist. They will most likely not flake on you knowing they will be out half the money for your product if they do not pull through.

3. Help Others But Beware Of People Trying To Copy
I am ALL about helping my fellow handmade show owners out whenever I can. I constantly make blog posts full of my favorite Etsy finds and are constantly tweeting links of other handmade owner's new products. Thats what makes this handmade community a community.

But be careful of people who ask you too many questions in regards to how you make your products or where you get your materials. Some things I don't mind telling people. For example a lot of other graphic designers ask me what printer I use. I always give that information out because me telling them what printer I use has nothing to do with my product itself. Me using the same printer as another graphic designer does not mean they will automatically copy my designs.

Now I have also had people ask me what fonts I use, and unfortunately there I have to draw the line. My fonts are part of my branding, and even if you're not a graphic designer I'm sure you can understand that picking the RIGHT font is such a "AH-HA!" moment. It could take me HOURS to mix and match fonts together. So it kinda stings a little when a fellow graphic designer asks me for a font that I use when they too know themselves how long it can take till you are happy finding that right font.

If you make purses and someone is asking you where you got your purse pattern you might want to hold back that information to protect yourself. The last thing you need is someone trying to rip off your unique designs because they see that your stuff is successful and selling really well. But maybe you don't mind telling them where you purchase your thread or the type of sewing machine you use since that information is still helpful to them but allows you to protect YOUR designs.



also in case you missed it we are having a HUGE sale over at right now! There are 11 designs from Yellow Heart Art at a discounted rate till August 22nd. But HURRY because there are only a limited number available of each design.

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased an item from fab, all your support gives me the warm and fuzzies <3


  1. Brilliant tips!! Thanks girl!! xo

  2. LOVE this insight. Thanks so much for sharing :D

  3. I love your watermark advice. I need to do that! Now off to watermark hundreds of images... is there an app for that? :)

  4. great reminder... i was actually just thinking today that i need to start watermarking stuff. tons of work to go back and re-do stuff, but i'm guessing it will be worth it. :)


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