I once asked another small business owner about her fabrics because they were cute designs and I hadn`t seen them at any stores before. I have bought from and chatted with this gal a lot in the past. Of course I had no intention of trying to make her product, and I certainly wouldn`t make the exact same thing and sell it! I was just curious if there was an awesome fabric source that I didn`t know about. Long story short, she was on the defensive and wouldn`t share about where she buys her fabric and actually ended up being quite rude. It really turned me off from being a customer, and I haven`t bought from her since.
Now I have my own business and I get a lot of questions from customers about where my fabric comes from, where I got my design, how I do certain aspects of my items, etc. And I must say; I LOVE IT!
The way I see it, the more people making and creating, the better off we will all be. If handmade becomes the standard and people move away from wanting and gifting mass produced junk, I will sell more. Even if the person asking never buys a single thing from me, it becomes a positive connection.
If the person asking is also a small business owner, even better! It is not easy to run a creative business and there is always something to learn from each other. When we collaborate and share information we will all be better off!
So if you have questions - ask away! If you need some help with your own projects, I am your gal!
Excellent perspective! I remember a dollmaker I took classes from as a teen who admonished all of us to “not eat our young”, she had seen this pervasive attitude among other makers to hold onto all their secrets and suspiciously guard their sources out of fear that someone else would “steal” their business!
I agree with you, though- We all benefit when we support each other!
Sharing a supplier or source does not mean someone will copy what you make. Maybe they make kitchen towels and potholders, while you make decoupaged canisters for the kitchen… a collaboration on fabrics and advertising could boost you both!
We are Creatives! Let’s put those thinking caps on and grow this handmade community!
I feel the same way and I think you are amazing for having such a warm welcoming attitude about helping and sharing with others.
That is exactly the way I feel. Ask away when you need help.
You have a very good attitude and I hope your business continues to thrive!