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Friday, August 30, 2013

Jewelry expert Cheryl Kremkow has a new blog post entitled, “Coincidence or Copy? When is a Design Too Close?” I know Cheryl — in fact, she invited me to co-present at a seminar for the JCK Las Vegas jewelry trade show in June — but she didn’t tell me that she was writing this article. It was a pleasant surprise to see my punctuation rings included as an example of original work. Check it out and let her know what you think.


As I said to Cheryl in my comment on her story, I obviously didn’t invent the hashtag or “at sign.” Nor did I invent jewelry that features those symbols or other punctuation, so I have absolutely no cause for complaint when other people do similar designs as long as they don’t use the font I developed the way Topshop did with my swear rings. I want to make that clear! (That said, to the best of my knowledge, no one else was doing social-media-inspired fine jewelry at my particular pricepoint at the time I launched my first designs.) Of course, it is disheartening to have unsuccessfully pitched my designs to press and stores for years, only to see the very same press and stores get excited over the very same concept when it is offered by another, better-connected designer. Well, that’s the reality of a creative industry for you. It’s not just what you do, but who you know. Those of us who don’t start out with the right connections have to create them and undergo the “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success” ordeal. Another chapter for my The Bitchtastic Guide to Business™ book!

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9 Responses to “Cheryl Kremkow Asks “Coincidence or Copy?””

  1. HelOnWheels says:

    IMHO, Khai Khai’s designs are copy, not coincidence. His “Sun is Shining” charm looks A LOT like your Gloriana necklace (but nowhere near as beautiful). The question mark and exclamation point rings are very gaudy versions of Chao and Eero designs that they’ve been making for years as part of their “Signs” collection. Just because you slap a few diamonds on somebody else’s designs doesn’t make it your ideas. Plus, I think his jewelry looks cheap and gaudy.

  2. Bethany Grant says:

    Hi Wendy –

    So, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

    Unfortunately, every artist I talk with about this battles the same thing.

    Legally, as long as it’s 30% different, then it’s not considered Copyright infringement. In reality though, that 30% doesn’t add up to much.

    But, on the other hand, inspiration has to come from somewhere & there are very few originals like you out there.

    I hope you publish that book. I’ll be in line for it.

    • WendyB says:

      The singer Pink said, “I don’t think imitation is the highest form of flattery. I think it’s annoying.” I love that gal!

      I get a lot of inspiration for my signature line from antiques, so I definitely can’t knock anyone for being inspired. And, like I said (and I really want to emphasize it lest anyone get the wrong idea!), I don’t claim any kind of ownership of punctuation jewelry. And sometimes great minds just think alike.

      But it definitely is a drag to be rejected by a store or publication, only to see the same places enthusing over the identical concept offered up by a different person. But it helps when your sister is reportedly “fast friends” with a writer, for instance: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/12/.....dra-medine

      Happens all the time to everyone, I know, but that doesn’t make it that much more enjoyable. 😀

  3. annemarie says:

    What’s weird is that you actually seem (to me) to be already quite well-connected, and still those connections aren’t as good as being the brother of a 23 yr old blogger of the moment…it’s depressing. I’ve been thinking about starting a business for a long time but stories like this really put me off. It’s like fashion is ruled by a bunch of high school bitches, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s a high school bitch.

    Your social media jewelery is a million times better than the knock-off version. Even Topshop knew which one to copy!

    • WendyB says:

      My experiences definitely aren’t unique to fashion — any creative industry is like this. You really do have to be prepared for nearly nonstop rejection. A couple of people who know me well enough to know what goes on behind the scenes have said to me, “You might as well be an actress if you’re going to face this much rejection.” Though instead of directors telling me I’m too pretty/too ugly on the same day, I get stores telling me my work is too different/not different enough. That’s sometimes in one conversation!

      A lot of people were very dismissive of the social-media jewelry when I first started selling it — now that they love the concept, it would make me happy if they sent some of that love in my direction! I’ve got to say I was ENORMOUSLY relieved when Style.com did its little piece on my emoji jewelry because I was like, “Okay, I got some recognition for this, at least when everyone else starts doing a similar collection, I have my little clip.” ( http://www.style.com/stylefile.....y-is-here/ )

  4. Anne says:

    I really hope you actually write The Bitchtastic Guide to Business. I would buy that.