Last night I came across a small business marketing themselves as a creative enterprise but who had clearly ripped every single idea they'd had off of another, more established, small business. It was the third time in the last week that I've seen, or heard about, another 'creative' stealing the ideas of their competitors and giving them a tiny tweak before claiming them as their own.
Everyone is inspired by others, I know my Pinterest boards are full of amazing images and ideas that encourage me to create new work and help generate interesting projects. But I think that's the point, they encourage new ideas, unique to me. This blatant ripping off of others in creative communities has really surprised me and to be honest, made me really bloody angry.
It's not as straightforward as when someone directly copies a product or style, protecting your creative ideas is much harder. It's a bit like having that annoying friend at school who goes out and buys the same clothes as you the day after you've worn a new outfit. There's nothing you can do to stop them, but it's a little bit sad and frustrating to have your identity hijacked by someone who should know better.
My first reaction to these creative copycats was to be angry and call them out on their behaviour but I realised these people will always be a few steps behind. If you are relying on stealing the ideas of others you're missing the very bones of what it is to be running a creative business. In the same way people would rather buy a genuine Cath Kidston bag rather than a 'Kath Kidston' from a dodgy market stall it will be these poor quality imitations that are stuck on the bottom rung of the creative ladder while the real innovators will thrive and whose businesses will continue to grow.
So, I've calmed down, had this little rant and will continue supporting the businesses doing it best!