I recently had to deal with this. Someone I was mentoring, started
having, not only the same combinations of items, but some looked
exactly like mine! He was even undercutting me on price and selling
in a local market (with only 30 vendors) 8 feet from my booth, and
doing other shows that I do. This after I helped him in countless
ways including telling him about an item,( that he did a terrific
job with), and makes about 50% more income because of it…not
exaggerating. I thought, he is just desperate for $$ and doesn’t
realize…I got upset.
I called him, basically told him that it doesn’t make much sense if
my booth, and his booth are essentially the same booth, with the
same offerings in the same marketplace that we live and work in. I
told him I want to offer something unique and he is hurting me even
if he is not costing me any sales. He said he was sorry, and that
the cheap prices had been because he was getting rid of the stuff,
because he felt guilty…geeeze thanks for that! Everything is good
now between us.
At first I felt like, “I am not going to help anyone else,” but
that’s not me. Its natural for the upstarts to be influenced by who
ever is teaching, mentoring or employing them (I know I was). I
think that people find their own path given the time, and they want
to. But when they start affecting your livelihood and what you have
built for yourself with years of hard work, and sometimes poverty
(gosh, right in your face they do it, have the good grace to leave
the state with that!), you have got to have the guts to speak up.
Its less painful to be “frank”, right off the bat, which is what I
should have done, so that I would not have gotten all worked up.
Years ago I went to work for a potter. The first thing he told me
was what his “bread and butter” was, and that he was going to teach
me how to make them. And please dont ever hurt me, or make me
regret my association with you by making this stuff on your own, he
looked into my eyes…I promised him…I just love a person like
Bye now, Holly