So your dog is in your wedding, now what?

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We looooove being able to dress up customers’ pets for their special day.  And with so many engaged couples having outdoor, backyard and barn weddings, it’s easy to include their pets. There are even many venues that will allow dogs on the premises.  But then there is one specific concern, especially if you have an active dog….who is going to watch them?  You want your guests to have the best time possible at your wedding. You’ll want them to be able to sit down and eat, and not have the worry that your dog is helping himself to the buffet.

Or, maybe you only want your dog in the pictures.  Who will take the dog home?  Enter WedPets!  Located in St. Louis, they will take the worry right off your plate.

From their site:

Have an International Boarding and Pet Sitting Association (IBPSA) certified canine pet care provider handle your pets so your wedding party can party. WedPets is here to help you include your pets on your special day.
Because you’re marrying your other best friend.

Events:

  • Pawposals
  • Engagement Photos
  • Wedding Photos
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Vow Renewal
  • Family Photos

Services:

  • Pet Handler
  • Pet Chau-fur
  • Grooming Facilitation
  • Boarding Facilitation

 

The owner, Nicole, is a true sweetheart. She’s also a customer and friend of mine.  She is a dog mom, dog lover, and a huge support to the local and small business community.  Give her a shout and let her know Hello Hazel sent you!

Wedpets Facebook Page 

Wedpets Instagram

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YouTube While You Work?

One of the advantages of having my own business is that I can listen to whatever I want while I work. Pandora and YouTube are generally what I go back and forth between.  My favorite station is a band called Lydia. They are my absolute fave group that no one has ever heard of.  I do my best to spread the word, I’d love for them to make it to the radio! I’ve seen them a few times in concert, and was able to take a photo once with the lead singer, Leighton.   Yeah, we’re on a first name basis. He doesn’t know mine, but it’s fine.

Lydia

If you want to take a listen, here are a few of my favorite songs.

Paper Love 

Your Taste Is My Attention

Hospital 

The Exit 

Listening to YouTubers is also a great way to pass the time while I work.  Some days it’s business videos, or beauty bloggers. Not that the makeup videos are working.  I STILL can’t do winged liner.  How the heck do you get those things even?!

Anyway, here are a few I subscribe to.  I’d love to hear what you listen to/who you watch while you go about your day!  I’m always looking for new stuff.

Alexandria Morgan – This girl is the most down to earth model you will ever meet.  She also has an adorable cat.

Olivia Hayward – She’s a small business owner and posts all different types of content. Business talk, food, makeup…a nice variety. And she also has a super cute dog who makes an appearance now and then. Bonus points!

Renae Christine – Her channel focuses on handmade business.  A fantastic resource, especially if you are starting out on Etsy.

Stephanie Lange –  I would call her an advanced beauty blogger.  She knows so much about all kinds of makeup brands.  You’ll find how to makeup videos, product reviews and some other lifestyle videos. Plus, she has 4 dogs.

Skip2mylou – This girl crack me up.  She’s a breath of fresh air if you are like me and can’t pull off 20 something year old makeup anymore. She’s a mom, and loves animals. (are we sensing a theme here?)

Joanna Storer –  If you struggle with makeup as a redhead, her channel is a must watch!

Those are my frequently watched.  Give me some suggestions for new channels to check out! What do you listen to?

 

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*Updated* David’s Bridal Copied My Design – Big Business vs Small Business

UPDATE 1/19 – David’s Bridal has reached out to me and they have removed the Best Dog bandana from their website and social media.  This is something I greatly appreciate.  They assured me their company values the work of creative people and small businesses.  I will update with more information after I speak to them further.  Thank you for the support, I have the BEST family, friends and customers.    Michelle

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I’ve been staring at the screen of my laptop for an hour. My coffee is cold, my thoughts are a jumbled mess and my feelings are hurt. This is a difficult post to write. So, while this may not be newspaper worthy journalism, it will be honest and real. This post focuses on how big businesses steal and profit off the ideas and designs of the little guys. In case it isn’t obvious…I’m the small business that the big guys stole from.  I’m not alone, it happens too often. And it’s not okay.

This is me:

HelloHazelCo.com

Etsy

Amazon

 

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Back in 2013 I designed and began selling dog bandanas for weddings and pregnancy announcements. It started as a silly idea and became a product line that I’m incredibly proud of. I drew my ideas on paper, made a few samples to show friends and family, tweaked it a bit and ended up with my burlap bandanas. I’ve spent 5 years perfecting them.

Before I put them out publicly I scoured the internet for similar products. None existed. Etsy search? No results. Google? Nothing comparable. I did this for two reasons:

1. To be sure I was putting out something unique and all mine.
2. To be certain I wasn’t infringing on another artist.

What started out at my kitchen table has become my full time job. I’m an Etsy Seller, an Amazon Seller and also run my own website. I’ve been able to move my business out of my home and rent a studio.  Like many other artsy people, my creativity has become the way I earn a living. And it’s been one of my greatest accomplishments. Besides my kids of course, they’re pretty cool too.

I regularly search Instagram for customer photos. Seeing the dogs (and cats) in my bandanas is by far the best part of my job.  A few days ago I came across this post on Instagram.

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I did a double take and thought, “Who took this picture of my bandanas?” Then I realized it was from David’s Bridal.  The similarities are obvious. And being as my products are saturated online, I’m certain this is no accident. Their marketing people saw my bandanas, and copied them for their own profit.  Their listings say, A David’s Bridal Exclusive. Ouch! That hurts.

Do a quick Google search for “Dog of Honor” or “Best Dog.” You’ll find me. You’ll find my products, customer photos, links to my shop and my product photos shared by well meaning bridal and pet sites. You’ll find my bandanas on Pinterest, you’ll find me on Etsy, you’ll find my website….you catch my drift.

I’ve been featured on a number of wedding blogs and in pet related articles. There is a definite online presence for Hello Hazel Company.

AsSeenOn

So what now? What is a small business owner to do? The first thing I did was search the internet for similar stories. Okay, I lie. The first thing I did was cry. I’m a mom. I have a mortgage. I have pets. All relying on me and this wonderful thing I’ve created. How could I compete with a huge company?  Wait, no. The real question is, why should I HAVE to? Why do large companies think this is okay? Where is the integrity? Where is the respect for someone else’s hard work?

Hello Hazel Company does not have the resources to fight an intellectual property infringement battle. Most small businesses don’t.  And that’s exactly what these large companies are counting on.

Then, an even bigger fear crept in. What if people see my shop and think I was the one who copied?!  It makes me want to shout to anyone who will listen, “I was first! I can prove to you that I was first!”

Now, going back to my internet search. I found out this behavior is prevalent. Click the links for more information on the copy cats.

David’s Bridal stole a dress design, and also used the original designer’s photos.

The Gap created a product line that looks exactly like this artist’s work, after it was published online.

Target received complaints from this indie artist who realized her pattern was copied onto clothing.

Urban Outfitters has been accused more than once.

Resale company Cody Foster blatantly copied these designs.

Zara is another one.

H&M used stolen designs.

It’s not okay.
It’s not okay.

It’s.not.okay.

Please share this post.  Contact David’s Bridal and let them know you notice. Email form, Facebook page, Instagram.

And above all, please support small businesses, local businesses, handmade vendors, Etsy sellers, young entrepreneurs, etc.

Being inspired by another’s work is okay. Theft is not.

 

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Additional articles:

http://ohmyhandmade.com/2011/entrepreneurship/copycats-copyright-keeping-our-handmade-community-safe/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/28/urban-outfitters-spires-copyright-infringement_n_5403244.html

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-ideas-stolen-big-business.php

P.S. – I have reached out to them and asked for the items to be discontinued.  I’m certainly not holding my breath for a response.

Amazon Prime – Friend or Foe? 

 

Show of hands….who loves Amazon? Yep, me too. It’s an online shopper’s dream. “Oh, I can get this (insert ANYTHING here) in two days?? *add to cart*

I use Prime all.the.time. I buy so many things on Amazon that I could easily run to Target, Home Depot, the Mall for. But that would involve putting real pants on and heading outside. No brainer, Amazon is the way to go.

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Lately I’ve been thinking about how this affects handmade businesses.  When an item is made by a small business, and especially when it is handmade, it takes time. Time to shop for supplies, time to lovingly create items from scratch.  Not to mention small business owners generally do not have a team of people. We are our own creator, supply buyer, marketing person, accountant, website designer, etc.  I could go on and on about that but I’ll get off track.

Amazon keeps asking me if I’d like to add products to seller fulfilled Prime.  While this sounds like a great idea for my customers, it sounds like a stress headache for me. My items are mostly made to order, which is the reason I’m able to offer multiple size/color options. It’s just not feasible for me to have one of EVERYTHING ready to ship the same day. I’d need three studios to hold that inventory instead of one. Not to mention the financial investment necessary to implement that.  While this may be possible or some small business, it isn’t for this one.

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So what do you think? Are we running out of patience due to the increasing ability to get almost anything within 2 days? Is the need for instant gratification affecting the lifeline of small businesses?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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Games for Dogs

As a follow up to my last post, here are some fun ways to be active with your dog!

We love this post by VetStreet.com . It showcases games you can play with your dog beyond fetch.

Vetstreet

Here’s another idea, how about a fun game of hide and seek?  Tell your dog to Sit, and Stay.  Then hide and quietly call your pooch to come.  See how fast he finds you!  Just make sure he’s not peeking when you hide.

doghide

What games do you play with your dogs?

 

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Is your pet dressing up for Halloween?

Do you plan on dressing up your pets for Halloween?  We’re not sure what Hazel will wear this year.  Here are some ideas to get your started on the Halloween costume hunt!

costume

For the Superhero dog.

 

costume2

For the Sweet Dog.

costume3

For the Animated Dog.

 

costume4

For the Religious Pup.

costume5

For the Pupuccino Addict.

 

What will your pup be this year?

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Pic sources:

SpiritHalloween

BuyCostumes.com

HalloweenCostumes.com

StarbucksDog