A hot topic at the moment, we look at the issues rising from purchasing from overseas factories, via websites and apps, selling cheap, knock-off craft supplies and the damage it can have on our craft industry.
All across the crafting community, there are whispers and questions about a rising industry; cheap factory-produced cardmaking supplies. For example, a particular factory will sell you a set of stamps for $3.59, whereas you would be expected to pay £7.99 for a similar set in a reputable craft store. Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately, yes, it is. These products are not just ‘similar’ to those of brands, they are direct copies and are causing the “fraudulent and extensive breach of numerous UK and International Craft manufacturers’ intellectual property.” (Leandra Franich, owner of PaperArtsy)
We all wish things could be cheaper; from food and clothes to homes and holidays. However, often a low cost comes at a high price. In this instance, by shying away from both large craft brands and small independent craft shops in favour of these cheaper, factory products, the craft industry as a whole is massively negatively affected. We should mention that buying counterfeit goods is a criminal offence!
Original designs must come at a reasonable price, to drive business and allow us all to keep crafting. If we continue to source cheap, knock-off designs, our best-loved brands and local shops will eventually have to close. Once that happens, these factories will have nowhere to source such top-quality designs. Then we are left with nowhere to source cardmaking products.
A recent seminar by Craig De Souza, Executive Director of AFCI.UK, an organisation committed to solidifying the UK’s £3,4 billion creative, craft and hobby industry, has highlighted precisely why these design thefts are terrible for the craft industry. He explained, “Creating a card takes time and effort; it’s great when it’s finished and you are able gift it to someone. Now imagine you’ve spent hours working on a card, only for the person you’re making it for to give says, Oh, it’s okay, I just made this 5 minutes ago! " How would you feel? Well, this situation is similar to a business; most small designers create unique and inspirational products for you to use and create your cards. You pay to receive the result of the hard work, time and effort they’ve put in. You can buy, happily knowing that they’ll keep creating wonderful products for you to enjoy.
Buying from cheap sites is a problem for a number of reasons. It is always a gamble; you never really know what you’re buying. Will it be good quality? Will it be fit for purpose? Will it even be what I asked for? Just because it’s cheaper, that rarely means it’s the best. If you keep buying from cheap sites, the designers that you love so much won’t have a job, so products wont been created and you’ll only have one or two people to buy from. So, support designers, support your local shops and business – ask them questions! They know so much and want to help you create beautiful things.” Need we say more?
For more articles like this and to stay in the loop with the craft industry, remember to pick up your copy of Making Cards & Papercraft magazine here, and join the conversation on our social pages!