Being a Better Maker & Artist
In November 2016, something spectacular happened. Geek Nest was featured in a Buzzfeed article and sales grew substantially overnight. My significant other and I spent our evenings and weekends melting wax and shipping out hundreds of “Butterbeer” candles. It was exhausting but exciting. I had started Geek Nest two years before and I was proud of what it had become. I cherished every review and excited customer who loved the candles. Of course I was proud, it had become a part of my identity; I had spent the previous two years improving the design and quality of the candles while also working full time.
Unfortunately, the overnight popularity of Geek Nest had also gained attention of others that were not so happy about its success. In matter of a few days, I had received four copyright infringement notices from Etsy. Another two and I would permanently banned from selling on Etsy. My heart sank. I was discouraged and heartbroken. Then I was angry. The majority of the copyright infringement notices came from another book candle seller. According to her Etsy About Me section, she started selling two years after I did and she was an “attorney turned artisan.” I had no idea that candle names could be copyrighted and even if I had known, I could not afford to copyright the names of my candles. I felt like she took my idea and my candle names. I could not compete with an “attorney turned artisan.” I was angry because it felt like she took away a part of my identity. Geek Nest wasn't even much of a competition, in the short time this seller had been in business she had surpassed Geek Nest sales by over 50 times.
I made a lot of excuses for my anger and resentment but it wasn't productive or healthy. The hard truth is, that seller has every right to compete with Geek Nest and protect her intellectual property. She may not have purposely taken my ideas. Book and fandom candles have gained HUGE popularity since I began Geek Nest. Each seller has their own unique way of imagining fragrances and what kind of books and fandoms they represent. It's pretty amazing, actually. So, I could not stay angry at this particular seller. Instead of being angry and heartbroken, I decided to change and adapt instead.
I decided to become a better artisan and maker. I will create new names for candles and avoid names that obviously have a copyright, such as Expecto Patronum or TARDIS. They're fun names and I LOVE those fandoms, but they're not mine. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to compete with sellers who copyright their candle names, but this is step towards being better. With this decision came other ideas as well. Like starting this blog, interacting with customers more, and creating new products. The future of Geek Nest will include more glass candles and wax melts. More social media presence and new candle fragrances. I'm really excited about it. I hope my customers are too.