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Dear Shop Owner

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I’m not a shop owner, but I am your customer.

I watch you on twitter and instagram, admiring your creativity.

I follow your blog and visit your shop, planning my next purchase.

And I see how frustrated you get when someone else starts selling a product that is just like yours.

Can I be totally honest with you? The reason I love your product so much is mostly because I’ve come to love you. I could buy a baby sheet almost anywhere, but I buy it from you because I follow your story, interact with you online and feel a connection with you.

So when someone starts copying, in my mind (as your customer) it’s not a threat because…

…they aren’t you!

And I like you. Quite honestly, I could shop around for baby tights for days and never run out of cute options, but I want a pair of baby tights made by you. 

So when I see you getting upset and airing your frustrations on social media, I want to sit down with you, look into your sweet face and say, “Don’t worry! Just keep creating, and innovating and being who God created you to be. What you have to offer is unique because YOU are offering it.”

I don’t know what it feels like to have my design stolen, recreated and sold online, but I want to encourage you that from a customers perspective, we respect when you are able to rise above it. Please don’t waste your time getting upset on twitter, and rallying the troops around you against your copycat and instead, just keep doing what you do best. Keep creating. Keep designing. Keep innovating.

And for all you shop owners who feel like you’re hiding in the shadows of the big names, don’t give up. Be faithful with what God has put in your hands right now. He is the one you are creating for and when you’re faithful with a little, He will put you in charge of much.

Don’t give up. Keep telling your story, connecting, reaching out and being your wonderful self. Eventually, you will reap what you sow.

Let your creating be your worship.

Here are a Few Action Steps from Shop Owners I love:

“I truly believe there is room in the handmade world for everyone who wants to make bags (or bow ties, etc…)”

“Keep your eyes on God and your own business {literally and figuratively} and celebrate with other companies when God pushes them ahead.  Your time will come.”     – Rebecca, Better Life Bags

“While the business world tells us to examine our competition, I find it’s best to just avoid them as much as possible. I want my work to be unique and not inspired by others who are creating similar items. If I want to keep my heart out of that ugly comparison game, I simply DON’T FOLLOW those I may view competitively. I want my social media feeds to inspire me and be a way of keeping up with people I have a connection with. It’s impossible to completely avoid feeling competitive at all times, but I think we can keep it to a minimum by avoiding excessive time on the internet when we’re not working.” – Natalie, NSPottery

“As a small business owner, I know that realistically not much of what I am doing is proprietary. What is unique is the way that I am choosing to run my business and how I communicate to the community I’m working to build.

If you’re doing what you do with excellence others will take note and follow suit. What if we see this not as a threat, but as a chance to refine what we’re doing even more? To really examine what we are doing well and how we can make every touch point with customers even more delightful. We can also see this as an opportunity to see how others with similar business do things and learn from what they do well.” – Jen, Purse and Clutch

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