There is a lot to be said for inspiration. First comes an idea - it can come to you at any time, anywhere. I often find myself whipping out my blackberry to enter in some ideas that popped into my head before I lose them. This hits on the train in the morning, while I'm at work, cooking dinner - even while bringing the kids to school. My kids will often inspire me - their favorite foods and treats often make the list of new soaps to create. Inspiration can hit at anytime and it's important to be ready for it. One needs to visualize how a design should look from start to finish. From there, there's the implementation of these ideas. There's a great deal of time, patience, and persistence involved with each creation that's been inspired. There's trial and error, and not every piece works the first time around. There's so much involved and it becomes a personal triumph when it's been completed.
My soaps have often been described as "works of art" and "amazingly realistic". I take such pride in that, and the very fact of being original, creative and without sounding conceited - extraordinary. I don't want my soaps to be considered "the norm". I thrive to be different and have my products stand out from the crowd. There's a great level of pride when my products are recognized just by the detail that they contain, and I'm addicted to following the wonderful feedback my customers leave. My soaping has truly become my addiction!
With this said, I must say that there has been a great deal of frustration lately. With all the work involved in being original and coming up with creative ideas, there is a level of frustration and disappointment when an idea ends up rearing its head in another shop. My particular items are not necessarily made just from molds which can be easily duplicated - there's a lot of creativity put into each piece. I take pride in adding the slightest details to make it unique. I use custom molds wherever possible to remain different. To see these items appear as someone else's work is upsetting. I've been told to accept this as flattery, but on the contrary - to be blunt, I feel ripped off.
I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. There are other artisans who feel there work is being imitated, and I sympathize. Imitators are often sellers who are doing quite well for themselves and have lots of sales. I'm not saying they don't have their own creativity and artistic abilities. What I do say is don't copy the work of others and list it as your own. I have a great deal of respect for Etsy sellers in general, but I do wish there was more emphasis on "Inspiration" rather than "Imitation"