You go into a cute shop on Etsy, or on the net someplace, and you see an item, that you instantly realize, has been done on an embroidery machine. That means there is a design for it, and now you want it.
So now you “copy” their picture, post it in the groups with “NMP where can I find this design” only to learn, it was an exclusive to that creator and isn’t for sale.
Cue tantrums and tears.
“BUT I WANT THAT DESIGN!! *sob*”
Well, you can’t have it. It is that simple. That is an “exclusive” to the shop, or that designer, and the person carrying that item is the one who worked tirelessly with a designer, giving ideas, drawing pictures, testing the design and finally, listing it.
It is a process that can take days, weeks, or even months. And yes, you might have thought of it, but in the end, it was this creator and digitizer that worked together and got in there first. Harsh? Yes. But that is how in some areas of selling, you lock up a market, or at least make sure you are in there first for a while.
Of course, this doesn’t mean much, if you’re that determined, you can of course go and have it copied, losing the respect of your fellow crafters, and gaining the amusement of the person who was smart enough to have it designed for them. You are even risking having designers refuse to work with you on legit projects you have ideas for. And trust me, you really don’t want any of that. Machine embroidery is a small world, word will get out.
So how can you go about getting your own “exclusives” for your shops? Approach your designer of choice. Many of them actually enjoy this kind of work. The designer of my TARDIS bag up there isn’t even a pro digitizer, but she is an incredibly talented one. Whenever I want a bag exclusive, I head to her. (talks are in place for genetalia bags)
Just ask the designer you enjoy most, if they’d work on this with you. You will have to pay for the project, but it usually isn’t too high a cost, and worth it in the end for a fantastic product that only you will be offering. You’re also removing any potential competition from others who bought the same design, because now suddenly, they can’t do that.
Be sure when you talk with your digitizer of choice that you make sure they understand you do not want the design out there for others. But again, keep in mind, the unscrupulous will often “copy” your exclusive, sometimes less than a week after you show off your new work. (this comes under my famous “don’t be a dick” statement, but is often ignored by the dicks)
Along with that, if a certain digitizer is good with certain items, like my girl who rocks with purse designs, go to that designer. Don’t go to someone who does mostly words and phrases for ITH toys. Go to the designer best suited for your design. You won’t regret it.
I personally love exclusives. In my own shop, and in the shops of others. It shows me that free reign on creativity is taking place. And yes, every so often, I’ve been a little bummed I couldn’t also have that design, but I respect both designer and store owner for wanting such a cool item and I’m often willing to buy it from them, showing my support of a seriously cool item.