damselcorsets.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Setting the Record Straight *sigh*


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.

(now, the above picture IS mine. CURVES.)
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!
Love
Michelle


32 comments:

  1. Grrr how frustrating! Can you send them a cease-and-desist letter for their obvious rips? I was going to suggest making a post on the site 'You Thought We Wouldn't Notice' but there's something wonky going over at the site right now.

    I don't even consider buying a corset/bodice from anyone else - I may have to wait and save but I know what I'm getting and that it's going to be awesome and fitted!! I feel really bad for both you guys (and the people who are buying those knockoffs and don't know better.) This makes me SO mad!

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  2. That top outfit is not very attractive, or maybe it's just the way she is posing.

    Most people who know anything about clothing know that there are sellers in Asian that are selling really junky stuff. In the EGL communities it's a big issue because they not only are selling bad knock-offs of famous designs but using the company photos also.

    It sad eBay fails to do anything about knock-offs, but their attitude is that it doesn't exist. Didn't help that Tiffany's lost in court trying to get them to do something.

    Like I said, people who know clothing and anything about sewing know about these eBay sellers and won't buy from them. They know one gets what they pay for. And sometimes the clothing they receive isn't even like what is in the photographs.

    I definetely do not take your post as bashing someone else. This isn't the first time I've read warnings about this kind of thing. People do need to be aware of what is going on if they don't want to waste their money.

    Good luck to you with your endevors!

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  3. The first time I saw these knockoffs, ~I felt sick, so I can only imagine how you felt. I am such a fan of your work that I can't bear to buy or wear anything else now - not Moresca, not even Pendragon. That's not to say that they don't make high quality garments (they do), but they can't hold a candle to what your bodices do for our womanly figures!

    I actually feel your prices are extremely reasonable, considering the amount of work that goes into each piece. Of course I'm happy to pick up things on sale, but either way, your bodices are worth every cent and then some!!

    I wish you continued success - even though I selfishly enjoy being the one of the only ones (so far) here in the Northeast wearing your pieces! The compliments and adoration are quite an ego boost! :-)

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  4. It just so happens that I was reading something very interesting regarding this last week - here are the links: www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/what-to-do-if-a-competitor-in-asia-orders-your-product/ and www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/what-to-do-if-a-competitor-orders-your-product/ this seems to be what you are dealing with, and maybe this can help; good luck to you, I have my own patterns that I am developing (not corsets!) and this is a concern for me too. Your corsets rock!

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  5. You can definitely get this jerk in trouble with the ebay community. There is a specific section just for trademark/intellectual property infringement reporting. Follow this link and you can begin your actions against this fraud:

    http://contact.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ReportItemMember

    If you are persistent, there is a potential that you can get his store removed from ebay, which would set him back for a short while.

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  6. The first "corset" (none of them deserves to be called that) looks like something out of a toy store halloween catalogue, doesn't it?

    eBay have lost their dignity if you ask me - if they ever had any.

    You keep on going, and anytime you feel like ranting you know where we are! There are a lot of people out there (including me) saving and saving... and saving... for the real deal, and the real deal only.

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  7. The "corset" the little girl is wearing looks like something she made for a school project.

    Anyway, your corsets are beautiful! I'm glad that you are making them for a woman's body. I love the "tree trink" look because I love to be historically accurate, but that sure as heck isn't going to give me the cleavage that I want and that your corsets give to the cleavage challenged.

    His craftmanship, excuse me, some poor, underpaid chinese woman's chraftmanship is no where near your quality. And the fact that he had to take your idea to attempt to make something to call his own is just sad.

    Ebay lacks moral character since thay don't really care who or what is selling things on there.

    Your prices are very resonable which is why I investigated your website after I found your corsets on etsy. I will always pay more for quality!

    I hope everything works out for you and that people will see his stuff is poorly made.

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  8. I wouldn't worry about it too much - his stuff looks to be of such pathetically lower quality and style that you would have to be mad to buy it.

    I never really understood the silly urge to buy something because it's cheap and then throw it away after 2 wears, rather than paying a little bit more and having somethingbeautiful you'll love for life!

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  9. Like another commenter, when I saw this guys stuff, I was so angry on your behalf. I assumed that he had tried to copy based on your photos, but to find out that he ordered one of your corsets to dissect the pattern...that's horrible. I think you are completely within your rights to be upset.

    I have done everything I can to spread the word of your wonderful high quality work. I wouldn't settle for anything else. I hope more people realize that, as you say, you do get what you pay for.

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  10. I just wanted to let you know that, as a repeat customer, I have much respect for the work you put into your corsets. It shows in the workmanship and the quality of the piece. My mom is a seamstress and worked for a high-end costumer for years and she was blown away by the quality of the first corset I purchased from you. She said "You got this over the internet? For how much? Could she make me one?"
    I'd like to think you hear this a lot, but just in case you don't, your work is appreciated and I think your prices are amazing. The faire in my area is great and there are some talented vendors, but nothing compares to your work and the prices are usually quite a bit more. Continued kudos to you. Try not to let the copycats bring you down. We do know the real deal when we see it. : )

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  11. THAT SUCKS. For the record, I would have never believed that either of these were your work. They look like crap. YOU are amazing and when I refer people to you, I make sure to write your website address on a business card so they can find you directly. YOU ROCK!

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  12. The second knock off looks more like a fancy gift box around the middle there and that first knock off is fugly.

    For what I've seen bodices go for, the good quality and price you provide is worth it to me. I'd rather buy something the right way the first time than waste money on something inferior over and over only to see I should have bought the better product in the first place.

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  13. I'm sorry you had this experience. I've been designing for 15 years and my designs get knocked off all the time. It sucks, but there are still plenty of people who recognize quality and support local designers.

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  14. Sooo... I have to admit I bought one of his corsets, only because I knew right away he ripped your patterns off and I wanted to prove to my friends how badly his corsets were compared to yours. (I now own 6 of your corsets and very soon to be 7.) I also wanted to contact you ASAP about this copycat but it seems I'm not the only one to find him.

    As soon as I put it on I wanted to cry... my fat practically oozed out of the front between the laces, a few minutes later the grommets were already ripping out and not to mention the three splits in the back. My curves were gone and the chest area made me look deformed! Even touching it I knew it was shoddy (bought it for $40). The 'glitter' on it lasted all of 5 minutes before my poor apartment was covered in it...

    I guess what I'm trying to say that that $40 was the best purchase ever only because it proved once again to myself and all my friends that your corsets are one of a kind. They always say impersonation is the best form of flattery, which is nice and all but it still hurts. Keep up the wonderful work hun! You can be reassured you haven't lost any customers here!

    P.s. When will you have more bustle skirts up??? I LOVE them!

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  15. I can't believe what a jerk that guy is!! You can so tell the shoddy work on theirs, and yours made by a class act like yourself!! Sheer perfection!! Your ability to rise above thier BS makes me love this company even more. Bravo and rock on!

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  16. You are a classy lady to turn the other cheek to this jerk, a true testament to your character and the character of your business. Bravo! Makes me want to buy more from you and I will! You are the best and you rock!

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  17. oh good, I'm glad I checked here first... I was about to email you about this guy, because I found him on ebay as well and thought you should know about it if you hadn't already.

    You're corsets are obviously of better quality and I'd never buy from him. It's sad people are copying your items.

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  18. Wow, I'm really sorry they're ripping off your designs :-( Take heart in the fact that theirs definitely does look like cheap Halloween costume crap! I've only bought one item from you, but I'm still blown away by the quality and beauty of the piece. I always recommend you, because I know you do the best work and your prices are way reasonable.

    <3

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  19. Well, I just found your website very recently, am currently trying to decide on a material for a lovely corset (must be custom made for I'm much bigger than a 26 or so!) And I have to say that as someone who has worn one of the cheap corsets (from someone else) to a LARP, where you have some degree of activity, I can say with some certainty that after a bit the corset's unattractive appearance as it develops into some kind of concertina effect is the least of your problems. Ever had wire which wasn't strong enough to support you trying really hard to pierce your ribcage? These things aren't just unappealing, unwomanly and liable to fall apart, they're downright dangerous.

    Since that experience, I have always felt that it's best to either wear a proper corset or no corset at all! These days I look for indicators that the maker knows what they're doing, and while that is usually price, in your corsets it's more your passionate rantings on your Blog and elsewhere :D (and the look of the corsets of course. *drool*). I'm from the UK, and to get a local corset of such quality, I'd be paying about £150 for it. Including P&P from the US to send one of Damsel in this Dress's beautiful creations it's a bargain of a beauty of £52.

    Looking forward to buying one! So in summary, why buy cheap and nasty when you can buy affordable and gorgeous? So don't worry, anyone with half a brain will buy from you!

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  20. I LARP in her corsets myself and not once has any bent, ripped, pulled or any of that nasty stuff that cheaper corsets may do.

    I'm actually LARPing this weekend in an entire outfit made by her! And if an outfit can stand up to LARPing then it can handle anything!

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  21. I have two of your corsets and two of your skirts, and your quality is the BEST. I am sorry this guy is making crappy ripoffs of designs you have worked on for so long... but that's all they are, is crappy imitations. A whole world full of cheap fake Rolexes doesn't devalue a real Rolex, and that's how it is with your creations, too. Genuine ideal-cut top-quality diamonds need not fear cubic zirconia.

    I am already planning the next beautiful Damsel in this Dress custom piece I want to order!

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  22. Their outfits look cheap, poorly put together, and the color schemes and materials clash. They look shapeless because there's no boning and the model is a shapeless asian. I find it funny how much the girl tries to arch her back to stick out her non-existing breasts. And wth is with that alligator skin stuff?

    Their existence doesn't hurt you because anyone with a good eye for quality won't buy from them and those who can't tell wouldn't want to spend the kind of money for your quality goods. Their knockoffs cannot compare to your gorgeous art.

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  23. Hi there.. Well, I bought one of the cheapo ones - before I ever knew of your existence.

    I can say that I got what I paid for. The corset doesn't fit, and will require EXTENSIVE alterations to even be wearable.

    I am delighted to have found you today, because I was thinking "this would be SO COOL if it were made properly!!".. now I have found the designer who will do just that, and you'll be getting my order soon..

    As for the other one? Well, as I spend hours trying to fix it I will remember that a bargain isn't always as it appears.

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  24. I learned long ago that quality takes time and money and am willing to both wait and pay for it.

    As you have mentioned - it shows in the fit and finish. I am currently planning my next piece and it will be with the quality you put in.

    Already sent a few friends your way in referral rather then have them go cheap on ebay China crap.
    I showed them a leather piece that was made from there and well run away quick enough said.

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  25. I have bought your corsets and I love them and saw those knock offs and was disgusted. They look sloppy. You can tell a difference between the quality of yours and his. They are awful.

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  26. hello,

    you know me from asking you to make some hoods to "match" the corsets i have and you mentioned or clearly stated that they were the knock offs... and i have replied that i did not buy it from him.. i bought it from the local seller at a renaissance fiar in Florida... no i just realize that the knock off guy also does whole sale... so i guess the seller i bought the corset and bodice from, had bought whole sale bulk from the knock off cheapo... i feel really bad that i made you feel the hatred once again... i am sorry... no matter what now..i will save up money to buy one of your quality corsets and now i realize that the prices you put on the corsets are worth it because of quality...i know this because i have tried to gormet my own corset, as a part of a dress i was modifying... and i did it all by hand and took forever.... and cutting to fit right and inserting boning... was tidious just like trying to thread elastic into pants.... please forgive me...

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  27. I don't care about other corset sellers.

    I will be a forever and loyal customer of you, Michelle, because I believe in you, I saw your work, its perfect and every creation of you, of your husband, your sister in law and your best friend, is full of love, lots of passion and possitive energy and this is very important to me.

    I start reading your blog now and I admire you sooo much!
    We have a very common character and reading you is like reading me!

    I talk for you to my friends and they are crazy about your corsets.

    Greece now has a huge economical problem, but when this is over, I will buy from you lots of designs and corsets!

    Michelle for ever!!!

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  28. I don't care about other corset sellers.

    I will be a forever and loyal customer of you, Michelle, because I believe in you, I saw your work, its perfect and every creation of you, of your husband, your sister in law and your best friend, is full of love, lots of passion and possitive energy and this is very important to me.

    I start reading your blog now and I admire you sooo much!
    We have a very common character and reading you is like reading me!

    I talk for you to my friends and they are crazy about your corsets.

    Greece now has a huge economical problem, but when this is over, I will buy from you lots of designs and corsets!

    Michelle for ever!!!

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  29. The design is really palace is luxuriant sense I like it very much!This kind of design in the wedding dress on also has a lot!

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  30. I have several of the Von Lancelot pieces, only because I was new to buying garb and had never heard of you. (Being from over here in Pennsylvania) I really want to replace my beloved pirate bodice from them with a quality one from you, I just have to save up and stop buying so much of your other stuff!!

    But my Von Lancelot is now 5 years old and still doesnt show signs of wear, mostly cause I'm small and I don't tie it tight to get shape more than natural so it hasnt had to work at all

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