Here’s an issue I’ve been mulling over for quite some time, which
I’ve finally decided to post.
I sometimes find myself reluctant to add custom-designed pieces to
my production line because I’m concerned about the reaction of the
customers who commissioned them. In one case, the customer requested
a jewelry suite based on a certain species of beetle endemic to
Patagonia. I know the design would be very popular with the other
entomologists that form much of my customer base, but I’ve been
hesitant to display it at meetings I know that this customer will
attend, in case he might resent the idea that “his” beetle is being
reproduced. This guy is one of the primary researchers of this
species, and entomologists tend to take a proprietary view of the
insects they work with!
In another situation, a customer requested a spider to decorate a
fantasy knife that forms part of his own line. I would like to add
the spider to my line as a pendant/earring/pin etc., but I’m worried
that this might represent a conflict with the knifemaker’s work.
Legally speaking, I’m pretty sure that these designs are my property.
(Those who know more about this sort of thing, please chime in!) I’m
more concerned about the less tangible sticky wickets of potential
hurt feelings, customer loyalty, and loyalty to my customers. Am I
right to be concerned about this, or am I just needlessly consumed by
guilt? (And I’m not even Catholic!)
Thanks for your advice and shared experiences,