Hi, everyone. Yesterday, I posted about cards from shop whose designs really caught my attention. The shop’s owner mentioned that she had used “papers” that she felt were just itching to be made into cards. I thought that I recognized the designs, but they were framed so perfectly that I didn’t go with my gut and posted about the cards, anyway. In actuality, these papers were from a calendar by another company.

This was my mistake, and I own up to it and have removed the post. I should have gone with my gut and didn’t, posting about the cards while feeling that I had seen the designs somewhere else. No one gets it right 100% of the time, and I realize, as some of you have said to me, that this was unprofessional and affects your view of me and this blog. The fact is that I’m human, and I make mistakes. This was one of them, and in the future I’ll be sure to vet submissions and paper goods that I find more thoroughly before posting. I’m sincerely sorry for the mistake.

– Kristen

Update : Mary, the shop owner, has let me know that she owns a wholesale license with the company who created the designs and is authorized to use their designs commercially. So, while she did not create the designs, she has permission to sell her cards both per her wholesale license and per Etsy’s policies. While I still feel that it was my mistake in not recognizing these designs as the original source’s and discussing any copyright issues with Mary before my post, I’m glad that Mary filled me in and that the situation was resolved quickly.

Blog Updates

19 comments on “Apologies

  1. Angel Y. commented //

    Don’t be too hard on yourself! Mistakes happen, especially as designers and bloggers. You took an amazing step by admitting your mistake and even offering an apology. This is why I will always be a huge fan of the blog! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Rachel commented //

    Ditto to Angel’s comments. Don’t worry one minute. Things happen! Your blog is great. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  3. Diane Tompkins commented //

    Mistakes are one of my best learning tools – but it never feels good to make them. That gut response of yours is another great tool, but it’s hard to use when we’re working so quickly. I think so highly of your blog – and your honesty.

  4. Amy N commented //

    I don’t blame you or think less of you at all! How were you to know? Shouldn’t that person be reported on Etsy if she is selling someone else’s designs? Just curious, not sure how all that works.

    In any case, I love your blog and will continue to follow your terrific posts. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  5. Brandi Powell commented //

    I missed the post/whatever happened yesterday but I do know how amazing you are and how hard you work.

    There are simply so many makers out there, it is impossible to recognize every person’s work. It would be sad to think that you should have to second guess every shop you visit – so just do your best and that is all you can do.

    We are totally human. I certainly have made my fair share of mistakes!

    xoxo – Brandi

  6. kristen commented //

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I truly appreciate your support and understanding.

    As Diane said so eloquently, “mistakes are excellent learning tools, but it never feels good to make them”. And, though the situation has been resolved now and it turns out that the shop owner was not doing anything wrong (see the update above), this has helped me see that I should slow it down and be more thorough in my post research.

    Thanks, again, everyone.

  7. Andrea commented //

    Your quick & honest initial approach, follow-up, and resolution are to be commended. I’m a big fan and read your great blog all the time and will continue to do so, mistakes and all 🙂

  8. Bree commented //

    I must have missed that post yesterday, too, but I wanted to add my support anyway! Mistakes happen on all fronts and I certainly don’t think any less of you or this blog. Don’t let this hang over your head for too long, okay? Love your blog!

  9. Ashley • Fine Day Press commented //

    Keep up the awesome work Kristen; the fact that you are totally up front with these issues shows what a great blogger and supporter of the stationery community you are!

    Sadly I missed the post – but as a designer, I obviously abhor any kind of copyright infringement. It seems in this case the lines are a bit blurry – who’s the maker when you’re using materials created by another designer?

    It’s similar to a fashion designer who purchases a printed fabric that totally “makes” the dress – the print designer doesn’t get credit or compensation (beyond the initial price) for the success of the design…

    Very interesting, complex issue, and I’m glad you addressed it.

  10. Mary commented //

    What infuriates me about this whole situation is that I, as a seller, did nothing wrong.

    I acquired the appropriate wholesale license and commercial use license. And while I did state in my listings that I found these letterpress papers and did not attempt to take credit for them, I DID make the cards.

    The calendars in question didn’t magically measure, trim, and glue itself. I spend grueling number of hours with my bone folder folding the blank card stocks in half, which I then take time and care to line up and adhere properly with the trimmed design.

    I don’t hold this against you as a blogger. What annoys me now is that your readers question the nature of my work (did i see someone say i should be reported?)

    It’s not any different than taking fabric and sewing it into a clutch purse or a dress. Why does no one get this? No one seems to question that gorgeous clutch on the front page and who designed the fabric. I can guarantee you they’re not weaving their own fabric!

    Thanks. I spend a year building my business only for this to blow up in my face (not to mention my supply source is now revealed even though I made it clear I wanted to protect my source.)

    Again, this is not directed at you Kristen by any means. I actually adore your blog (and hope to follow along). I’m just peeved at the situation.

  11. kristen commented //

    I understand your frustration, Mary, and I agree with both you and Ashley, who mentioned that this situation is very much similar to fashion designers who use licensed fabric to create their dresses, purses, etc.

    For the record, Amy N, who mentioned reporting the situation to Etsy, posted before I made the update to the post that explained that you own a license to the designs. I also reiterated in my comment above that I don’t believe that you did anything wrong.

    I didn’t realize that you didn’t want me to mention the design source that you were working with and have removed any mention of the source in my update. However, some of my readers did send emails mentioning the source, which they recognized, before I made the post this morning. There’s honestly nothing that I can do about that.

    I feel awful that this has affected your business, and if there’s anything else that I can do, please let me know.

  12. Rach @ Penelope and Pip commented //

    Mary – your products are gorgeous and when you put it like you have above it certainly makes a great analogy that makes sense. Having a license to use illustrations is what illustrators like myself work towards all the time with makers like yourself – it’s how we all benefit from lovely design and how we make a living.

    Kristen – your blog is beautiful and you do wonderful work in sourcing great products like Mary’s for us to enjoy.

    I think neither of you have made any mistake at all! There is certainly nothing unprofessional about posting work that is beautiful and a creative reuse of pictures we all enjoy.

  13. kristen commented //

    You make such a good point, Rach. Illustrators WANT people to license their work for publication in a variety of ways. How else would they make a living? And if a design is licensed and paid for, then it’s not necessarily a requirement that the source is revealed.

    In the age of Pinterest and all of the other social media platforms, I think that it’s easy to fall into the mindset the EVERYTHING must be credited to its proper source because there are always posts floating around that scold people for not doing so. And, while it’s important to give credit where credit is due, certain situations don’t require that you give credit at all.

    I didn’t realize that Mary’s source actually licensed their designs commercially, so I learned a lot here, though I wish that the outcome had been different.

  14. Alice commented //

    Kristen – Thanks so much for clarifying the situation! Copyright/credit issues, especially with the vast complexities of the internet, are difficult to understand. Your professional integrity is wonderful and so appreciated. I love the blog so much and I look forward to many more posts!

  15. Linnette commented //

    I can not imagine anyone looking at your blog in a negative way. You are one of the most consistent, professional and amazingly talented bloggers out there. This post alone shows how much of a great editor you are. I am sure I can speak for many in saying that we adore your blog and appreciate your excellent content. Thank you for making us crave paper so much 🙂

  16. michelle @ this little light commented //

    People need to chill.

    Honest mistakes happen to all of us each and every day. You owned up to it graciously and as quickly as possible and addressed it. If that one mistake changes their perception of your blog, well then, all I can say is I’m glad they’re no friends of mine.

    “To err is human…”, my friend. xo

  17. taryn commented //

    Honestly, it’s hard to find anything that’s original these days. Even when I think I’ve created the most amazing thing ever and I’m a total rockstar genius…I find out someone else was rockstar genius a few weeks (sometimes years) before me. So, when you share something on the internet and actually do your best to link back to the original or give credit, you’re doing better than most people out there. 🙂
    Love you’re emails! Keep them coming!

  18. Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist commented //

    I missed ALL of the drama, but that never stops me from having an opinion. 🙂

    Everyone meant well in this situation, including those who reported what they thought was design theft. Mary, I would love to visit your shop and support you with my dollars for following the rules with your copyright licensing. If you don’t want to share it in the comments, please send it to me at elizabeth dot k dot parisi at gmail dot com.

  19. katy commented //

    aw come on, don’t be so hard on yourself. the fact is that you run a FANTASTIC, inspiring, gorgeous blog exposing and sharing the beautiful work of others. you made one mistake one time? Pffff. Everyone (including you) can just get over that.

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