Thoughts on staying original in the crafty/creative marketplace


I often think about how hard it is to be original today with everything that is available to us online and in stores. It is very, very hard to have an original idea that no one has thought of yet. With this in mind, I thought I’d give some of my crafty thoughts on what it takes to be an original in the creative world. I have to step back and take a big picture l.ook at what I’m making a lot of times and evaluate why I’m doing it and the intention I’ve had run-ins over “original” ideas, and it’s not pretty, so I want to help you avoid the pitfalls too.

Stay true to who you are. Don’t make things just because they are trendy or “hot”. If this is what you are basing your creations on, you are going to be in the same boat as hundreds of others who are doing the same thing! If you particulary like something that happens to be trendy, think outside of the box as to how you can incorporate in a fun or original way or maybe just skew it slightly so it is different from what everyone else is doing. That extra push of a creative idea will make a big difference!

If someone copies you, don’t stew over it. I’ve had it happen to me before, someone has stolen my idea or phrase I’ve come up with for a t-shirt. As crappy as this is, it happens! I doubt that many people are actually going to go to the effort or time and money to trademark a projects they do on the fly. The thing is, once you post that project for all to see, it is out there for all to be seen and eventually even stolen! You can choose to let this get you down for the rest of your life, or you can hold your head high and say, “That was my idea first”, then move on. And also, sometimes it does end up that you both had the same exact idea at the same time or had done the same idea several years earlier (and you didn’t know)…seriously, it does happen! If you are always upset about what idea someone stole from you, then this is keeping you from coming up with that next big idea! Those who are constantly improving their craft and looking forward rather than to the past are those that are going to succeed.

Don’t steal an idea, alter it to make it your own! This is kinda related to the last thought. In this digital age, there are so many ideas out there. The craft marketplace and idea marketplace is exceedingly oversaturated. So to have a totally original idea is incredibly hard to do. What I suggest is that if you see an idea you are drawn to and want to make, think about how you can do your own twist or spin on it to make it your own. Let’s say someone has painted a chair in a wild array of patchwork colors and you love it and want to make one your own. Think about how you can maybe do a similar look using monochromatic colors, different textures or shapes, or a different technique. Don’t just blatantly copy and pass the idea off as your own. This does come off very unoriginal. And if you do create something very similar to a style someone else did, be sure to say you were “inspired by so and so” and give credit where it is due. Passing an idea off as your own is really lame.

Create a style/look all your own. If you are blogging or featuring your project on a site, how can you make your project look totally different or interesting. Look through magazines or web sites for styling ideas. You will notice that the product they are selling isn’t all that interesting, but the way they photographed it and laid it out on the page is! Find a way to present your look that stands out from the crowd, whether this be amazing up close step by step photos.

What are your thoughts on originality and do you really think there is an original idea out there these days that others haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and created already?

Until next time Swellions!


Original ideas are hard to come by

ready for their ring blanks

So last night, I enjoyed myself quite thoroughly while watching the CMT awards (a repeat) and making these little button ring stacks. I have yet to glue them onto their bases, but I plan on doing them this week. Don’t they look like visual candy? I think so.

So, the problem is concerning this project…I have the desire to sell these rings. Why do most people purchase materials to make things anyway? Well, I’m sure there are those people who have rooms and rooms of their creations that they can’t part with, but for the rest of us it is our desire to part ways with our creations and hopefully make some money in the process.

And while I truly love these rings in their color and uniqueness (in my mind), it still kinda bothers me to know that if I do sell them, online in particular, they will more than likely go unnoticed or sit in my shop waiting to be purchased. I know there is something to be said about marketing your work, hyping it up, etc., etc. But I don’t have that much time to devote to that (I’m sure some of you can relate to this as well). I want to put them online and for them to be appreciated and perhaps purchased. The problem is this: there is nothing totally “unique” about them to make them stand out from the Etsy crowd. It is soooooo hard to have an original idea these days, unlike 20 years ago, when something like this would have been purchased immediately for its uniqueness. Is this just me or do you other crafters out there who sale your wares know what I mean? With materials and supplies being so readily available on the internet and stores, and with ideas being so abundant, a basic craft project can be knocked off in no time. It’s so hard to stand out from the rest.

Yes, I could prob. really sit down and hard and think of an idea that would be purchased, but it’s kinda a crap shoot. An item I think is wonderful might not be that way for the next person. And a really good project that is totally original would require a process or style that couldn’t easily be copied. As a lot of you know, once you put it out into the web universe, it is no longer your “exclusive design” becomes something a handful of people or thousands of people want to copy.

Does anyone else know where I’m coming from with this? I’m not meaning to sound all Debbie Downer or anything, it’s just a frustration of mine that I’ve felt for a while.

OK, lunch is over…back to work!

Until next time Swellions!