Institutional Thievery

A recent conversation with a member of the industry who deals with the "majors" inspired me to write about a critical issue that needs to be addressed: the business of copying designs. The discussion focused on new-product development and how it apparently has become routine for buyers from major retailers to hand over sample products from one manufacturer to a "low cost" supplier to knock off. It is that brazen. The jewelry industry is blessed with exceptional creative talent. The ability to create new product is one of those amazing processes that comes down to a designer or design staff bringing to life the ideas of others. They start by listening to members of the sales staff, sales manager, or CEO talk about what's going on in the company's market. Photos, catalog sheets, or actual samples are presented to provide what's called "design direction." The designers then develop drawin

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