Hello! I feel like it's been ages since I last blogged, and I'm sorry for that. Life has been busy lately, what with seeing and hosting family over the holidays, trying to channel my limited shop time into actually sewing new things, and of course starting my new job as Marketing Coordinator and Bookkeeper at my family's agency Clarence Miller Insurance next week! As I said, busy busy busy.
Even so, I've had something new that I've been wanting to tell you about for a couple of months now: the Geeky Collection.
Late last fall, I had a friend contact me with a custom scarf request. What started as a vague bookish themed request turned into an unexpected but gloriously geeky Doctor Who scarf. Check it out!
Isn't that awesome? I turned her on to Spoonflower.com, a custom fabric printing site, to see if she could find the right fabric for her scarf, and she landed on this great Doctor Who toile print. I even got enough to make a couple more scarves in it:
Inspired by this new direction, I decided to nab a yard of Harry Potter fabric to add to my order, because who can resist a good Harry Potter print?! The resulting scarves were quite awesome, if I do say so myself:
These scarves were finished around the end of November. Suddenly I found them very high in demand, largely to thanks to the Christmas rush. So I put in another order of fabric and pushed out another batch of scarves just before Christmas. Due to some fun custom requests, I even played around with a couple of child sized scarves that time!
Again inspired by the general geekiness of these scarves, I decided to pick up another fandom as well--this time adding a Star Trek fabric to my order. It's taken me a bit to get these completed but I'm rolling out my new Star Trek scarves as we speak!
How much do you love these awesome geeky scarves?!
I love making things for the Geeky Collection, because I know how fun it is to show off your fandom love in unexpected ways. I'd loved to branch out into other fandoms, get some Zelda triforces going, or some elvish script from the Lord of the Rings, or a cool text print with quotes from books I love (maybe some Jane Austen?!). In fact, I'd dedicate a significant portion of my shop to it if I didn't have a few serious reservations about it...
Now for some behind-the-scenes small business honesty. If you're part of a fandom, any kind of fandom, from a sports team to a TV show to a book series, you know how fun it is to wear something that represents your love to the world. But have you ever thought about the legality of it? I've looked into the laws regarding copyright law on selling items with licensed fabric and the jury seems to be very firmly out. Some sources say it's completely legal due to the first sale doctrine. Others say big companies will go after you anyway, or Etsy will shut down your shop without notice. These issues concern me.
I've made an effort up to this point to make sure I choose Spoonflower fabric designed by other designers. I could create my own prints and make 100% custom-designed products--an idea that really intrigues me--but then I would have to be liable for any perceived use of someone else's intellectual property. I'm hoping the use of someone else's designs on custom Spoonflower fabric will prevent any legal problems in selling the finished Geeky items in my shop.
I don't like the ambiguity of the situation, so there's the possibility that the Geeky Collection, as much as I love it, may be a limited time section of the shop. I still haven't decided if I will purchase more Geeky fabric, because the legal repercussions of a possible copyright infringement suit make me nervous. As others have pointed out, it doesn't matter if the law is on your side. If you don't have the resources to fight the big companies in court, you still get squashed no matter what.
Also, ordering custom fabric is extremely expensive, so it requires a big monetary investment up front to get any kind of bulk fabric. I'd love to make my own designs that don't call any kind of copyright law into question--florals, geometrics, that sort of thing--but who wants to pay Geeky level prices for standard-fare products, no matter how custom their pedigree? I've been pleased with purchasing custom fabric from Spoonflower so far, I just hate that I feel so discomfited by the copyright issue.
I guess the moral of the story here is, if you see something in the Geeky Collection that you love, get it now--you may never get another chance! I'll try to keep you updated on this as I move forward. As I said, I'd love to keep making Geeky items, but I'll only do so if I feel confident in my legal standing. I don't want to sacrifice my whole shop over a few fun but ambiguous scarves that make up just one small part of what I do.
Here's hoping for a satisfactory resolution to my legal concerns and the long life of the Geeky Collection!
A note on blog comments: I welcome your comments, but please be aware that Wix.com does not notify me when comments are posted. I apologize in advance if my replies are not timely!