How many times have you been at a craft fair and heard someone say 'I could make that' or 'that's expensive it's just a couple of beads(fabric or whatever)".
I have been creating items to sell via craft fairs and wedding fairs for a number of years now and I still hear it, yet every time I want to tell these people how long it had taken to make from inception to completion. Often at craft fairs or on the website we don't price items to their true value, taking into account the work put into the item, materials, cost of utilities used, transport to get it to the craft fair, your time for a day at a fair etc (the thorny issue of pricing our products are for another Blog) and we know that the people saying these things are unlikely to actually go away and do it but you never really know.
I spend a lot of my time making a product to sell; not just the physical time spent making it but the time spent sketching ideas, drawing or writing a pattern, checking the pattern works by making a prototype (often several to get it just right) and finally sourcing all the materials etc to make it just right BEFORE it gets to my stand at a craft fair or the website.
We are all told that pride comes before a fall BUT why shouldn't we be proud that we have designed something, if we've created the pattern, adapted it several times to get it just right and finally producing something beautiful ... even a practical item can be beautiful. Why shouldn't we be proud of the hard work, and final item?
Hold your head up high, say I designed and made that. If you are using someone's pattern then you can say I made this beautiful thing because such & such a person took the time to create the pattern; give credit where credit is due.
A word of advice if you use a pattern, whether knitting, crochet, sewing, jewellery or anything else make sure you read the fine print. Many patterns have a little note that says "for personal use only" which in a nutshell means you cannot sell the items you make from this pattern. You need to get written permission to sell items you make from commercially produced patterns; just because a crafter publishes patterns in their Blog it doesn't mean you can take that pattern, make it and sell items ... check with the Blogger first. No matter where you purchase or find a pattern check the fine print ... even if the pattern is in a book there will be a note in the front or back of the book saying whether you can use the items made to sell. If you cannot find it in the small print then it probably means you cannot sell the items you make BUT no matter where you get the pattern from you should out of courtesy name the pattern creator. For example "this item is made using a pattern from ........." NEVER claim it to be your original design if it isn't.
Many designers of patterns that you can find in books or on the internet are happy to sell you a licence that will give you the permission you need to sell the items you make; obviously they set limits and these should be adhered to to avoid legal issues at a later date. A licence will cost you but better to buy the licence than risk a very expense law suit for breach of copyright. Some companies have what is called an Angel Policy which will mean that they give limited permissions for their patterns to be used, each is different so check them out don't make an assumption you can sell if they have an angel policy. The thorny issue of intellectual copyright is too complex to tackle here but is one you have to consider if using designs created by someone else.
There are many, many agencies that will register your unique designs to protect them; I haven't personally used these,yet, but if you do have a truly unique item and want to protect it then it might be worth checking the agencies out. The one I have noticed at larger craft events is http://acid.eu.com/ I have also had these two suggested to me http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/ and http://copyright.co.uk/index.html I haven't used any of these Agencies and cannot vouch for them; you will have to make your own mind up whether you want to register your UNIQUE design/item and whether any of these can help in your own situation. You could also seek legal advice but be aware this may cost more from the outset.
As crafters, artists, and designers we enjoy making something new to share with the world but that doesn't give the world permission to copy what we have made and say that it is their own.
with fluffy love & hugs from