I normally don't do posts like this because I rarely have the time. However, the things that I've witnessed the past several months need to be brought to light and I'm not one to stand silent - especially when it affects my work directly.
I started this little endeavor just like most startup military wives - when husbands deploy. Not only as a means to stay occupied to make the time apart fly by faster, but to also have an outlet for my designs and ideas.
I've been doing this little "hobby" of mine for quite some time now and along the way I have been inspired and appalled by the things I have seen.
A couple months after kick starting White Rabbit Vinyl, I was already a victim of theft. A few of my decals that took me several days to create had been duplicated and were being sold elsewhere. I was outraged and hurt. My emails asking this person to take them down were ignored. With a heavy heart and with support of love ones and a budding WRV following, I held my head up and moved on. Time took care of that.
Fast forward to now. When catering to the public, I've learned that you have to grow with your audience. It didn't take long for someone to ask me, "I like this decal. Can you put it on a shirt?" And from there, WRV sprouted. I've grown from just decals to apparel and accessories.
Somewhere along that path, I felt like other well established military support apparel businesses saw me as, well, a threat; going as far as blocking my Instagram page and what not. Some emails reaching out to them have fallen on deaf ears. I'll admit, most of my designs are pretty unique and kick ass. I can hang with the big girls up there.
I can recall a comment that was made on one of my Instagram posts about how my new item looks really similar to another military apparel store. As a person who offers custom apparel, I will tell you this, there are only a handful of blanks suppliers out there that are trendy AND affordable. It's not unusual to see the same sweater being used by different apparel makers. In my defense and to keep it short and sweet: same blank canvas, different artist.
In the few months that I've started doing this new chapter for WRV, I have not only caught the attention of the big names, but also the little ones who have started their adventure after me.
They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery. I say it's pathetic and insulting. I've seen "businesses" who have taken images down to the exact same font and placement and pass it off as if it were their own. It's hurtful to the people who have spent a lot of time perfecting phrases, font styles, placement, colorways... Everything! Just to have it taken away in a matter of minutes.
A friendly advice: just be you. Be original you. I am me. These are the things that I have spent sleepless nights coming up with. Challenge yourself to come up with something new and unique. Don't be someone's stale imitation. It's been done.
THE WHEEL HAS BEEN INVENTED, BUT YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE IT BETTER.
I have no animosity against these people who have stole, blocked, or ignored my emails. I'm happy to say that I've never had to block, delete comments, or even make my social networks (WRV related) private just to keep these people out. I have nothing to hide. In my opinion, it seems immature and unprofessional to do so.
I'm far from childish games. I am a mother. A wife. A sister. A cousin. A friend. "GIRLS COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER. WOMEN EMPOWER ONE ANOTHER". Time is precious. In the moments that I find myself caught up on orders, I will either be with my daughters (although, they are ALWAYS first), designing new things, website work, listening to music, working on care packages for my husband, exploring new places around my home, or just doing housework.
Being separated from my husband is stressful enough and I really don't need to feel like I'm reliving high school.
I never knew WRV would blossom to where it's at now. Because of the amazing love and support over the past couple of years, I keep doing what I love to do - being challenged with new ideas to create and design that meet every individual's needs.
With that being said, I came into this offering unique and original items - mainly to our military and their families. I love that I'm able to do this! I love that in a small way, I've shared a homecoming with you via decal or even a "just because I want to support my hero" by rocking one of our tees. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.
However, I feel like I'm not only cheating myself, but others out there who are interested in non-military related items as well. The bulk of my custom orders/requests has been for custom birthday tees, bachelorette tops, workout gear, fandom inspired designs, etc. I know I'm capable of creating amazing AND original designs not just for the military market, but also elsewhere. That was the plan from day one.
So with my mind full of new designs and ideas, I say, let's keep White Rabbit Vinyl moving forward. :) Let's keep providing awesome people with awesome stuff - no matter what their personal desires are. I think it's obvious that I love our military. I love supporting not only the men and women who made the sacrifice to defend our home, but to the ones who stand by them as well. I stated at the beginning that WRV was also a clear reflection of me. It's time that I start incorporating everything else I find passion in as well. (This is in no way an invitation to start ripping of my military designs, or any of my other work, really)
I've always been a firm believer that with every person you encounter in your life, you take a piece of them with you. I strive to provide excellent customer care and stellar merchandise. Why? Because I put my heart and soul into everything I do. I'm very meticulous about my work.
It was never about how much money I could rake in in a day. No. If I could do this for free, I would. But supplies don't pay for themselves and it feels good to give back to the things that matter most to me. My girls, mainly; charitable causes that my husband and I believe in (specifically breast cancer awareness and WWP), and giving back to my personal heroes - my brother and my husband. Some profit made has gone towards sending them care packages and help offset the cost of family trips.
To bring this lengthy post to a close, I sincerely want to thank all of you SO much for reaching out to me. From every purchase to every interaction, you all have a place in my heart. I cannot thank you all enough. Every message, email, comments, be it negative or positive, it's all a learning experience that I will always treasure. I will carry a part of this chapter in my life with me forever.
"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God"