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Please don't copy...

I used to have a disclaimer on each of these craft pages, asking that people not use these directions to sell the carriers and other things in retail/wholesale. Well, I've recently come to realize that although I'd still prefer to be the only person selling, for instance, the overlapping-pleat ring sling whose directions I created, I can't make sure that happens, and no disclaimer is going to stop a determined person from doing so. However, I'd appreciate it if potential sellers would read on and understand my feelings on the matter:

First and foremost, I want as many people as possible to be able to wear their babies. I try to keep the carriers I sell as reasonably-priced as I can; each price is based on the cost of the fabric, rings, their shipping, and the amount of time it takes me to sew the carrier -- as much as I'd like to sew for free, I can't do that. However, I know that there are many families out there who can't afford slings even at my prices. I've been there, so I offer the directions for free. Families that are truly in need can make their own slings or ask a friend or family member to sew it for them, often at much lower cost than I can offer.

However. All of the directions I offer are a result of many hours of work on my part, especially the ring slings. It takes me a lot of time to create the graphics and write up coherent descriptions, to answer questions that people email to me, and to come up with the design ideas in the first place. They are a labor of love, but a labor none theless. In addition, I sell the ring slings that I designed, and I sell them pretty cheaply compared to some on the market right now.

With those factors in mind, it's a real blow to me when I find out that someone has copied the directions for my ring slings and is using them to sell carriers themselves. All I have asked for is a link back to the directions; while it bothers me not to be the only seller of *my own* design, it bothers me a lot more to have someone essentially steal the design and claim it as their own.

the internet sling market is getting pretty crowded these days; there are a lot of small WAHM sewers now. Any one of the larger makers will tell you that what drives sales is originality -- many customers have several slings, each of a different design, because they all fit and work a little differently. So you're not doing yourself any favors by copying an existing design -- honestly! My pleating method is the most comfortable for me, but it may not be for you, or for others who would buy a sling. The best way to get sales is to come up with something new -- something unique to yourself. eBay is fraught with low-volume "Maya-style" slings; they don't sell for very much because there are a ton of them, and none offers anything new to the market.

Of course, if you copy someone else's design, you're not only doing something unethical and not particularly effective from a business perspective, you're also putting yourself in danger of being exposed as a copycat. I've had a number of people email me when they've seen copies of my designs on eBay -- people look out for the businesses they frequent. If you copy from *anyone*, you will eventually be caught. If the first two reasons don't convince you to come up with your own design, hopefully the latter one will!

Here is a link that explains a little about copyright law (thanks, Lissi!): http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

I am happy to provide these directions for the use of people who would not otherwise be able to afford a sling, or want something different from what I can provide, and for people who just like to do it themselves. It is a lot cheaper to sew something for yourself than to pay someone else to do it, assuming you're not factoring your time!

But I have not provided free directions so that people can copycat mine and others' designs. If you want to sell a carrier, innovate. Even if you're just doing a few on eBay for some pocket money, you'll feel better, and get more sales, with something that is uniquely yours.

Most sincerely,
Jan

PS. If you really want to sell something from my pages, please, please, please, at least link back to the sewing directions page for that item, using this image: Rev. Jan's Baby Crafts If nothing else, it will allow people to make their own item, which is the WHOLE POINT of my hosting these directions.

PPS. I am most concerned about the copying of my ring sling designs -- the regular overlapping pleats, the reversible, and the fleece slings in particular -- and the Ring-Wrap. I didn't invent the tube/pouch-style sling (a woman named Hygeia Halfmoon did that, calling it the "Cozy Cradle") and as far as I know, no one has a patent on the pouch-style design. With pouches, it's the fitting that's hard, and fitting is critical! the ABC/Mei tai and the podeagi were invented in Asia hundreds of years ago, and my directions are just suggestions anyway. The Frankenkozy was invented by Sarah and Corinna from the SlingSewing group on Yahoo, and it's their right to control its distribution.

PPPS. (Is this getting silly yet? LOL!) I am aware of all the pleated-shoulder sling sellers on Etsy. I think what happened is that one of them (who shall remain nameless, but she knows who she is...) started selling from my directions several years ago. Then the Etsy sling market exploded; lots of people started selling, lots of inter-Etsy copying started happening, and people realized that pleated slings are very comfortable, so that method gained market share. Now new people are coming in, looking at what's there, and sewing the same thing themselves. It sucks that *anyone* is getting copied, but I don't think the newer sellers are deliberately copying *me*; I think they're copying the older Etsy seller, to which I am tempted to say, "How do you like THAT for karma?" But I am above such things... mostly :)

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All content, barring that which is otherwise attributed, is ©2007 to Jan Andrea. If you wish to use my content on another page, please email before doing so, even for content with the Creative Commons licenses. Text/images used elsewhere must be attributed to me. Be advised that I will pursue copyright violations.