.... a group Im in was talking about how much to disclose to another person about something you are making.
Most of the people I know who create things for sale are women. I wonder if this gender thing makes a difference? A recent article by a successful website designer, a man, talked about offering more than information, offering indeed service and help, for free. He spoke of the benefits to his business by him being able to gather feedback and customer data like what it was, exactly, that they wanted from his professional service. He believed, according to the article, that it would be highly beneficial to his business to go out there and create for his customers for free. At least for a time.
So why are women who are creating cottage industry makings so secretive, some might say suspicious even, of people who want to know the HOW and the WHY? So many people, women, admire other people, women, who share all the details of inspiration as well as the design of what they make.
I think part of the problem, part of the difference in attitude, comes from the lack of confidence some people have in their knowledge of a particular craft or perhaps in the lack of confidence they have in their product. This must be the case - because the people, the women, out there sharing everything about their success stories have confidence in their art by the bucket loads. Long before the book they are out there making youtube videos on what they are doing. No cloak and dagger stuff there.
I dont have a lot of confidence day to day in normal situations. But I do have some confidence in my sewing ability and in my style and the care I pride myself on when making a quilt, screen, hook book or doll for sale. And I do think that it is because of this confidence that I am willing to share how I create and would be willing to empower others to create the same things if they wish.
Anyone can copy anyone else. If they have the determination. It is next to impossible to patent something you make in a cottage industry. Simply because the natural inclinations of the next person to make the item will change them a little, or a lot, and deem them different to yours. So I think it is really important to share the how and the why. Have confidence in your product that only you can make in your own style.