Hello to any new customers, old customers, or just observers who want an update on the issue of Target using one of my designs! I wanted to address a few things and have a spot that might answer some questions.
Awhile ago a friend of mine found one of our designs being sold in Target. I was in shock a bit, and reluctantly posted on Instagram and Facebook a picture of myself in my own design along-side the Target version. I had NO IDEA it would get the attention that it did. My social media followers are incredible and reposted continually until it was noticed. After being asked, I went on our local news telling my story. From there it snowballed. I had no idea all the incredible support I would get, as well as the negative criticism. From Buzzfeed to the Today Show, it was everywhere.
I want to tell my version of the story. What actually happened.
A company in Southern California was responsible for the production of this product. They have done the same to others, using the tag name Stranded. They admitted that one of their 30 designers took the design off of Pinterest where we have been featured and repinned, claiming they did research to find out where it came from. (Thanks for being so honest.) Target immediatly took it out of their stores when the story reached them. And I am grateful for that. A few days later, Jerry Leigh offered me a job as a designer...We were booked for a flight to visit them with our lawyer and discuss a contract. A few days after the offer I decided to not spend any time negotiating with a company like them.
With that said, I was never in this to sue, get money, or be compensated. I know that my design is simple, patriotic, and basically a flag. This issue was never that I thought my design was the best thing since sliced bread... it was simply that what I was selling on my own site was being sold in a mega-store. And its not any more. Since then, we have a copyright on our designs. YAY! (If you are looking to copyright your work, copyright.gov is a great place to do so.)
Something else i need to address:
I was also accused of "stealing" an image for one of my other shirts. The Tootsie Pop issue. You may or may not know about this. It was brought to my attention the first "viral" day that I was doing something similar and took an image from someone else. I TOTALLY saw the validity in this statement. There were similarities. I immediately took it off my site as to not sell it.... which is exactly what I was asking Target to do. But as this part of the story unfolded, I had already decided to stop talking to the media as my house was being bombarded. I have kids and I really wanted to just go back to normal. We issued a statement regarding it, and that was it.
With all that said, I have learned and grown an incredible amount as a business owner. Here are some helpful tips:
#1 If you create something. Protect it.
#2 If you are being copied. Say something.
#3 Treat others with kindness. Money is great + all, but personally I would rather work hard for it instead of sneak my way to the top because of this issue that happened to me.
#4 Share your knowledge. There is a new world of online shopping and small business. Not many know business, or certain rules or standards. We can kindly help each other figure things out.
I was one of those clueless business owners who now understands, but is still learning.
Thank you to all of you who supported SandiLake through this. I can't express into words what your comments meant to me and still mean to me.
And mostly, my family is my rock, and I am so thankful that they know the real me.
Please email me if you'd like to know more. firstname.lastname@example.org