It's been happening a while now. Big box companies are weeding out the independant artisan. For everything from furniture to knicknacks, someone in the past used to base their life around creating these items.
Whether a necessity such a soap, or makeup and adornments, these items used to be handcrafted with love and care, time and patience by an individual or family that specialized in creating these items.
Then came stores.
And worse, then came the big stores. Imported items from poorer countries, purchased in bulk for pennies a piece, and sold at prices that the individual cannot compete with.
Need jewelry for a special event? Well, you can pay someone thousands to custom create a one of a kind piece, or even try your hand at creating a beaded piece yourself. Or, you can run down to Claire's and get some things with their buy-two-get-one-free sale or their 10-for-$5 rack and try your luck.
Now, as someone who often struggles to make ends meet, I understand. I'm going to buy what's on sale; what's readily available. I wait until I have a virtually empty container before I run to Target and buy more of something. If I need lotion or face wash, I usually need it today, and can't pay extra for shipping and wait four days for it to arrive.
But what irks me the most is when big companies blatantly steal from the little guy. The little guy usually will just sigh and move along. They don't have the funds for hiring lawyers; and besides, the big company has altered the item the necessary 20% to keep themselves free of copyright infringement suits.
So while your idea was fantastic, they added a bow and made a 1" hem to counter your 2" one. And voilà. Your original creation is mass-marketed. And worse, they're producing in Taiwan and so selling theirs at a price you can't even buy your materials for.
At this point, I find myself at a loss of even what to do. Besides better my product, my marketing, my materials, and my photos, that is.