Okay, so to start off with, these wannabe corsety things in the pictures above WERE NOT made by me, or anyone affiliated with me.....or anyone as cool as me. In fact, it was made by some underpaid overworked little ladies in China, apparently. Holy Face, I didn't think I would have to address this, but here I am doing it.
About 3 months ago, I got an email from a customer that said, "Uh, this person looks like they stole your patterns" so I hopped onto this ebay store, and SURE ENOUGH, there were all of my patterns, or likenesses thereof, staring me in the face. I felt really sick inside. I had spent years of my life creating these patterns, revising them, restructuring them, and making them as full of quality as I knew how, and this guy bought a corset from us, made his own version of it, and then started having them cheaply made in China. Now, friends, I do want you to know that I understand how capitalism works, and I believe in it. I believe competition is my ally, and I believe that if you have a company who cares deeply about its customers and is passionate about its product, you can do GREAT things. At first, I didn't want to even think about this guy. It made me soo angry every time I started to, that I would sit there sewing my HIGH QUALITY corsets and thinking up new possible profanities that might be good enough for such a bad person. But, the more I talked to my husband about it, the more I was convinced that it would be a GOOD thing for our company to have some cheap knock off company copying us. Tyler told me that by having a "knock off", it would give more credibility to us, the original company. We would suddenly be the "high end designer" corsets, while this guy is the cheap "everyone knows they're knock offs". The more I thought about it, the more I calmed down. Furthermore, a lovely thing started happening. I would watch this company's sales from time to time (They started out just making cloaks, and then branched into bodices, when they saw how awesome ours were. Their policy is that they start every ebay auction at $0.01 and then let the customers bid the items up. I was DELIGHTED to see that people were paying knock off prices for...well...knock offs. I honestly don't think he can even be paying for the materials....oh, wait! When you pay someone 25 CENTS a day, you can afford to sell a full tailed corset at $35!!!!! (and I'm not even kidding. I just checked his sold items. He's sold several of them for that cheap. Not good.)
Let me explain why this guy's stuff isn't anywhere near the level of mine-First off, if you start looking through his corset auctions, especially the ones where there's the little chinese girl modeling, you'll notice that there is absolutely no womanly curves built into his stuff! They are VERY much straight up and down. Trust me guys, this is a bad shape. I don't know if he's just out of the loop, but most women have CURVES. Or if they don't, they like to LOOK like they have them. Also, I know that the stitching on these is immaculate. Women who work in factories for goodness-knows-how-many hours a day are FREAKING good seamstresses. I know, I've worked with some. They are amazing. So, of course, on the up close pictures, these corsets look flawless. Yes, I get that. BUT, I wish I could show you guys the difference between chinese boning and the quality stuff from either Europe or America. I had a Boning company from China contact me out of the blue last year, and they wanted to know if I would like to do business with them. I told them if they sent me some samples, I would think about it. So, a few days later, I got some samples of white-coated spring steel boning. On the outside, it looked fine. It was definitely thinner and more flexible, but originally I thought, "Well, I would double it up, and it might work just fine." Then, my marvelous brother in law, Barrett, (who HONESTLY believes in quality products made in America) suggested that I put the boning to some stress tests. He then took it from me, bent it in half one way, after which half of the white coating came off, and then bent it in half the other way, and it snapped clean in two! It was total crap! Can you imagine wearing a corset where suddenly a piece of steel is jabbing you? Ouch! Anyway, back to the issue at hand, it looks like the knock off guy is using even cheaper boning. OF COURSE, it looks good on a mannequin, who's been wearing it for 5 minutes and who is made of hard foam. Of course it looks good on a cute little chinese girl with no curves. Yes, the boning will generally stay pretty straight when you're only wearing it for pictures. BUT I KNOW that LOTS of you women out there have had corsets where the boning looked like a lasagna noodle at the end of the day. I know that tons of you have had the boning in the front bow out like a ski jump off of your stomach, or it's snapped, or goodness knows what else!! I saw a lady wearing one of these knock off bodices at the OK ren fest (I'm sorry, whoever you are, but you looked wretched) and it made her look like a very cylindrical tree trunk with no curves, and the boning up the front had 3 big ripples in it. It looked like a 3 tiered hourglass in front. Not pretty.
Wow, I didn't mean to go on and on. But, I REALLY want you guys to know where I'm coming from. I originally didn't want to draw any attention at all to this guy, because he didnt' deserve attention. Plus, I didn't want to give him any form at all of advertisement. Maybe some of you just do not care who makes your corsets, or if the patterns are cheaply made and stolen from an honest, good person. Maybe lots of you out there think, "Well, still...it's $35. Why not? Just to see!" I understand that thinking! I've been there myself. I'm not going to chastise you guys or get offended (well, I might never be your friend again, but that's beside the point!) but I do want you to know that truer words than these have almost never been spoken.
"YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It's painfully true with this guy's stuff. I'm not charging the amount of money that I do just to piss everyone off. I'm charging what I do because I get the highest quality of stuff, and I spend my life thinking and rethinking the corset business and ways to improve my product and ways to make new things. This guy just sees what I does, makes a copy, and then sends the pattern to China. He doesn't care about quality or a woman feeling beautiful. I can guarantee you that. And, if you'll notice, his fabrics even look horrifyingly similar to mine. However, once again, they might LOOK good, but he doesn't give a dang if they will last more than one wearing. You can TELL that he doesn't care.
THE MAIN GOAL for writing this email was to set the record straight. I'm sooo touched by how many of you have responded to this and have sent me emails letting me know about it. I can't imagine how I could have been so blessed to do business with such good, loyal people. Wow, loyalty! What a beautiful word!! I really felt like starting this company has helped me make friends worldwide, and I want you to know that the friendships I have with you guys are very important to me. It's not just "Give me your money and get out!" Lots of you know how long-winded I am in my emails. I try to answer all of my own emails, and I try to make them personal and meaningful so that you guys will know that I DO give a dang. :) It's actually sometimes been a hinderance, because I would literally spend 3-4 hours answering emails some days. I'm very passionate about my work, and I would LOVE it if I could "inspire" people to make beautiful clothing of their own design, rather than just copying what's already been done. Once again, I'm not afraid of competition, and I truly hope that this has helped my company, rather than hinder it. I decided that if I got ONE more email from a customer that was concerned about the knock off company, that I would make a "public announcement" so to speak..well, today I got 3 emails. I love you guys and I feel a great swell of gratitude for everyone of you who has taken the time to get angry about the knock offs and write me a letter! I really didn't mean for this to be "bash someone else's company" hour. I didn't want to come across as this bitter person who only thinks that you should buy Cheerios, and never buy Malt-O-Meal Honey-Nut-Os!! I just wanted to let you guys know the truth, and thank you once again for your amazing loyalty!