Ethics in a Nutshell

Your business is only as good as you are.

You'll know what kind of person you are by how you handle temptation when no one is looking or no one ultimately will find out.

Exclusivity of Designs

Stitch festivals prefer (some even require) designs that are available only through their shows. This increases attendance at the festival.

Having exclusive work is a benefit for you, as well, as it enhances the likelihood your proposals will be accepted.

If you have promised your design will be an exclusive, honor that commitment until the expiry date on your contract (usually after the last show of the year but possibly until Dec. 31 of that year).

Breaking your word is one of the quickest ways to make yourself a pariah in any industry.

Criticism of Your Competition

Don't knock the competition! Anything negative you say will come back to haunt you...maybe not tomorrow or the next day but down the line you'll reap the harvest of your bitter words.

A true professional is secure in her ability to carry out her job and need not tear down others to build herself up.

Your mother was right: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. If someone tries to lure you into a gossip-y situation, respond with "Hmmm" or "You don't say?" and change the subject.

If anything, compliment the competition! You can learn from everyone, and you never know when the competition may be able to help you out of a tight spot! Better to operate in an atmosphere of charity than hostility. Your business will prosper and your health will flourish!

Reach Out to Novices

When approached by a new person in the business, be generous with your help. You were once in the same position. Didn't someone help you?

How did you arrange for samples and gratis product for design purposes? How did you register at "design banks"? How did you write a teaching proposal? How did you approach a magazine about publication of your work? These are all mysterious topics to someone new in the needlework industry.

Will this novice steal some of your business? Maybe, but how much and when? -You- are the "name." Your business is already established and growing. This novice will need a couple of years to get off the ground. Can she "catch" you in that time? Unlikely. Are you competing for the same market? Probably not.

And what a compliment! This newcomer admires your work and the way you do business enough that she wants to know how -you- do it! She could have asked someone else!

My advice is to be generous with your assistance and knowledge. You will never know when -you- might need help - - or an enthusiastic endorsement from someone you helped.

Basics of Copyright

Don't violate copyright law. It's a matter of ethics as well as law not to claim someone else's work as yours.

A Few More Watchwords on Ethics

1. Give 110% value for your fee. Don't scrimp on your product. Don't be lazy in class preparation. Give your best.

2. Don't inflate your credentials.

3. Report all your income (including cash) and pay taxes due on it.

4. Pay your bills. Honor your debts.

5. Let class/kit costs reflect any gratis product used in them. Be sure to credit and thank the companies on your class handout.

6. Give credit where it's due. You did not accomplish everything on your own. On the leaflet, thank your model-stitcher and anyone else instrumental in producing your product. Everyone likes to see his name in print, and everyone likes to be thanked. "Taking care of your people" earns you their respect and loyalty.

copyright 1999, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.

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