We’ve all heard it before… “She stole my idea! He stole my designs! She’s copying me!!!” I also recall quite a few times on facebook, where I ran into a rant-post via a designer who believed that they were being “copied”. Enough is enough. It’s time to take a professional turn. We, the “Young Professionals” who are part of the Fashion Industry, need to show that we are respectable, professional, and hard working. It’s tough enough for us. Many people see we’re designers, or PR reps, or models–and they think that they are better than us. Who cares? Leave it alone. It’s not worth tarnishing your reputation, in order to express your frustration, no matter how badly you or your company was treated.
I have a theory.. I don’t work with people who bad-mouth others publicly, regardless of what the other person has done to them. If your going to be a professional in this business, you need to know that your brand must be presented at the most respectable light. This is one of the greatest things I have ever been taught. I have worked with numerous people, collaborated with many PR firms, and represent many designers. Some might be more difficult to please than others — and sure, throughout the years I may have made a few mistakes, as my company was growing, and as I was becoming more seasoned in my profession, but I have one thing in common with all of them— Mutual Respect.
If I see something wrong, it is my job to speak directly to the source and rectify the situation. Third party involvement almost always goes wrong, and in the end–your the one looking unprofessional. You end up suffering from missed opportunities, and from people like me, who will refuse to work with you again.
Now, if I have an unproffesional experience with a client, and I become aware that this client is now working with someone I respect and is close to me.. is it my job to let him/her know my experience? It’s a difficult decision to make, especially if that person is a close friend or business associate.
Here’s an example that happened recently. A partner of mine (in one of my other business endeavors) asked me a question about a person we both knew.. In this case, because he is my partner, and because this person he was asking about would be somehow involved in my business, I told him about my past experience with him/her and said I prefer not to work with them for that particular reason. Now, if it were a friend or an industry associate asking me that question, I would let them know that ..”yes, we did work together, however we mutually decided that we would no longer pursue a business relationship in the future..” as vague as it sounds, it’s the right thing to do. Bad mouthing one and other is just mutual destruction.
The same goes for claiming “ideas” as stolen. If you really believe you’ve been copied, then take legal action. There is no point in ranting about it– it wont do you any good, especially via social media. Nothing good will come of it, in fact a lot of grief can be sent your way in the form of:
– Publicity for the Person/Brand/Company you are ranting about (yes.. when I read your posts, I google the companies, and I look at their pages, and sometimes, I even like their products— in the end, your bringing them business!)
– Law Suits in the form of “Defamation of Character” – it’s real guys, and yes it’s costly!
-Gossip. People will begin to talk about you, they wont remember the great things you have done, or the amazing product or services you offer– when they think of you, they’ll remember that “crazy rant on facebook..”
-Loss of Clients/Sales/Revenue – When a client contacts me, I check them out. I don’t care whats going on in their personal lives, that’s none of my business– however I do care about their professional life. If I’m on your facebook and I see all these negative comments about other people in your industry, then I will not work with you, if you can do it to them, you can do it to me. I can not trust you.
-Bad Business – Word of mouth gets around, and if too many people can say ” I no longer work with ‘so and so’ and we chose to go our seperate ways” –we all know what that means, and we wont be working with “so and so” either.
My point here is– Things Happen. Life goes on. Businesses open, close, change partnerships, etc.. Prolong your success by being professional at all times, and good things will happen.