Category: News Affecting Handmade

The New Revolution: Gypsy Spoonful

Back in 1776, our American forefathers gathered and penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, notice I didn’t say forefather.. nope,..fathers, as in multiple people came together to add their ideas, their thoughts, their verbage and their beliefs to the incredible document that formed our great nation. I’m fairly certain that if COLLABORATION hadn’t … read more

Back in 1776, our American forefathers gathered and penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, notice I didn’t say forefather.. nope,..fathers, as in multiple people came together to add their ideas, their thoughts, their verbage and their beliefs to the incredible document that formed our great nation. I’m fairly certain that if COLLABORATION hadn’t been a part of it, we would have crumbled years ago~ I believe the American forefathers knew intrinsically that everyone had something valuable to offer. I believe they understood that any sort of risk those colonists were going to be taking fighting King George for their freedom was weighted and everyone had skin in the game, and therefore they should have a voice in the newly forming Government.

 
I admire the process of collaboration , and community. I value multiple view points and opinions. When you surround yourself with others who can add their expertise and experience to a situation… or the birth of a country …or even perhaps a business… and they all come together for the good of all, then that’s something very special.
“Teamwork is harmonious cooperation that is willing, voluntary and free. Whenever the spirit of teamwork is the dominating influence in business or industry, success is inevitable…harmonious groups of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose, or around a specific topic, bring forth the power of creativity and support that you can’t find when you go it alone.”
~Napoleon Hill
 
If you are operating a small handmade business alone, or are lost in a sea of makers on a large selling platform~ and you feel like a number, or your voice doesn’t count, I would like to tell you about how Gypsy Spoonful can change your outlook. If you want to be part of something truly unique and special, we invite you to discover more about how Gypsy Spoonful differs.
I built this site for my maker friends who were very disillusioned creative sellers who felt they weren’t being heard. They felt as if their wares and creative process was not being valued, they felt it didn’t matter if they voiced their opinions in forums or chat boards to tell management about their unhappiness with the current climate.
I am not a do-nothing type of girl, I have been in this community of handmade makers for 14 years and these people are my friends. I know how dedicated they are to their craft, and how important the creative process is to them.
Handmade products are being undercut by imports and mass produced goods masquerading as handmade on many online platforms. It was very disheartening, they had invested their lives, their livelihoods, time, sweat and tears into building those venues and their small business~ and it’s like the table cloth was being pulled out from under them in a slow motion slight of hand magic act. Truth be told, it’s their venue, they will do what they want, they will do what is best for their stock holders, not their sellers. They will do what suits them, not what suits anyone else, and to be honest, it’s their venue, they can do as they wish. . . but I just knew I couldn’t be a part of it any longer.
I began talking to my friends, and the first group of Gypsy Spoonful community members surfaced, ready to take on a challenge of something new. Ready to believe in the vision of a totally handmade marketplace where art, passion, and creativity is valued. Also a place where community supercedes competition. After the word spread (kinda like a wild fire in a dry as hell California canyon) we were busting at the seams with more makers than we knew what to do with~ and it was then that it became very clear, I needed to give my friends more~ I worked 6 months tirelessly to build the site we have now, and it’s still being built, worked on , improved and tweaked every day~ but look at us go!
Today, on this Independence Day in America, We are celebrating over 100 glorious independently owned and operated shops, the vision is coming true! We’re ready for our next phase of development now, I believe~ and it’s only going to grow and get better from here.

Lack of representation or lack of understanding from the powers that be in one place, has led to the birth of an even better community~(sound familiar? ‘MURICA!) In this new place, there are business values I much more closely associate with, and we are hearing from so many people every day who think similarly.

We put community before competition, and we support each other in business and friendship~ and we’re smashing goals every. single. day.
 
We invite you to learn more regarding what we believe about handmade and small business,
and if you feel what we’re doing resonates with you and your business, please apply for a shop:
Apply Here! and add YOUR name to the new home of Handmade.

Happy Independence Day

A Victory for Small Business VS a Big Business Patent Bully

Yesterday, the Supreme Court officially ruled that printer companies can no longer block retailers from re-selling their stuff at a discount, as their patent rights end at the first point of sale. Who cares about this? You should. That is if you enjoy cheap ink and don’t want to start dipping into your retirement account … read more

Yesterday, the Supreme Court officially ruled that printer companies can no longer block retailers from re-selling their stuff at a discount, as their patent rights end at the first point of sale.

Who cares about this? You should. That is if you enjoy cheap ink and don’t want to start dipping into your retirement account to print that color report.

Yeah actually, why is ink so expensive? 

It’s kind of by design. Printers are sold at cost, or even at a loss to the manufacturer.

Which means the money’s gotta come from somewhere, hence charging premium prices for ink and cartridges to offset the initial deficit. It’s a lot like the razor club model, where the first razor is cheap, and replacement heads are about 1 gold bar per blade. Or the Etsy and Facebook  models, where membership is free,  listings are $0.20 and then they bury you until you pay to unbury them.

Did you know some printers (*cough cough* Lexmark), even have microchips in their “official” cartridges to prevent people from using third party products. (Sounds a lot like the hustle Keurig runs on k-cups, doesn’t it? I hope they’re next!). On Tuesday, a scary case reached a surprisingly positive outcome in the Supreme Court of the United States. Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. was seven-year-long standoff between a small business and an international corporation that stood to upend the world of consumer rights, especially for tech and pharmaceutical companies. Guess what: the little guy won!! Woohoo!!

For now. Manufacturers can (and probably will) still hike up new printer and cartridge prices. But for those of us who already own one, looks like we’re sittin’ pretty.

At least until the next paper jam.

Here’s some more detailed information

At its core, Impression v. Lexmark was a tricky patent case. Impression Products, a 25-employee outlet, built its business by buying used printer cartridges, refilling them, and reselling them to consumers. This introduced some welcome competition into the otherwise twisted and monopolistic world of consumer printers and, as a result, made it possible for consumers to save some coin. Obviously, the massive printer empire that is Lexmark did not like this and started suing small companies like Impression a few years ago, based on an idiosyncratic piece of patent law. Impression, the only company that refused to settle, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and emerged victorious. YAYYYY!!!

In a quasi-unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Lexmark exhausted its patent rights as soon as it sold printer cartridges both domestically and abroad. (Quasi meaning: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented on the international issue, and Justice Neil Gorsuch was not involved in the case~because of the date of his confirmation.) The implications of this ruling aren’t just positive for small printer cartridge-refilling companies either. Had Lexmark won, the decision would’ve changed the way aftermarket sales work in all kinds of industries, namely the pharmaceutical industry. (as well as the upcycle market!!)

But let’s back up a second. Lexmark’s lawyers argued that it retained patent rights on its used printer cartridges because it sold them to customers under a so-called “shrink-wrap license.” That meant that customers could pay 20-percent less for the printer cartridges if they agreed never to resell or reuse them after they’d opened the package. In the past, courts have been okay with this as long as the manufacturer “clearly communicated” these rules. However, until this year, the issue never bubbled up to the Supreme Court. That’s the domestic part of the case.

You might be thinking, “Well, who cares about printer cartridges any more?” But this case reaches well beyond Lexmark’s inkjet revenues. It’s a huge deal for tech manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, each of whom took different sides in the case. International tech companies are surely thrilled by the Supreme Court’s decision, since they would be faced with bureaucratic hell if the justices had ruled that US patents were valid for goods sold abroad. There are so many different components in any given gadget, from so many different companies, the tech manufacturers would have to secure countless licenses to obey the law.

Big pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, must be pissed right now. Giants like Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Co. PhRMA wanted the court to protect US patents abroad because that would help them prevent Americans from buying their drugs for much cheaper prices in countries like Canada and Mexico and then bringing them back to the States. When a single Viagra pill costs over $60 in the US, you can only imagine how much money was at stake here.

 All things considered, consumers and advocates for their rights won today. This case has been called the Citizens United of products, but this time the Supreme Court actually came down on the side of the people instead of the corporations. That means you can keep buying cheaper printer cartridges, cheaper smartphones, cheaper drugs—the price of pretty much anything that’s protected by a shady patent isn’t going to skyrocket any time soon. The decision itself sets a precedent not only for ink cartridges, but in Goosie’s interpretation, this could also have some implication in the post sale clothing market as well~ and also plays into the first sale doctrine!
I say hurrah in honor of the win by the underdog, I also say YAY for small business, and am happy overhead costs can be kept at a sane level when it comes to buying ink to print your shipping lables, this decision also makes me WONDER what this holds for patent bullies in the future?

News: Congressional Microbusiness Caucus. Mom and Pop Shops Matter on Capitol Hill

Congressman Tim Ryan Announces the Founding of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) announce the founding of the bipartisan Congressional Microbusiness Caucus. The Small Business Administration considers microbusinesses to be any firm with one to nine employees. There are 3.7 … read more

Congressman Tim Ryan Announces the Founding of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) announce the founding of the bipartisan Congressional Microbusiness Caucus.

The Small Business Administration considers microbusinesses to be any firm with one to nine employees. There are 3.7 million microbusinesses in the United States, providing 10.8 percent of private –sector jobs and making up 75.3 percent of all private-sector employers.

The purpose of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus is to define and elevate the narrative of microbusinesses in Congress and provide a forum for micro business owners to have constructive conversations about obstacles and regulatory barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting and scaling their business in the United States. The Caucus seeks to empower U.S. microbusinesses in an effort to strengthen competitiveness, foster economic growth, and promote entrepreneurship in America by holding briefings and other events to facilitate discussion on relevant issues.

The founding co-chairs of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus are Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

“Technological and entrepreneurial innovation is accelerating at an unbelievable rate, and even though there are immense challenges ahead of us to ensure that our country works in a way that benefits everyone, this is an exciting time to be a participant in the American economy. The very nature of work is changing, and microbusinesses are a driving force behind that. Congress must stand ready to rapidly respond to the needs of workers and employees of micro businesses. Our economy will be stronger for it,” said Rep. Ryan.

“Microbusinesses are today’s mom and pop shops with an even greater potential for success thanks to advancements in technology. It is remarkable that with a click of a mouse or on a smart phone, a one-person business can potentially reach millions of customers across the country and globe,” said Rep. Tiberi. “We must ensure that burdensome government regulations and other barriers to growth aren’t holding them back. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this caucus to advance solutions to empower our microbusinesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and contribute to a thriving economy.”

“This new bipartisan Microbusiness Caucus will provide entrepreneurs with a platform for their voices to be heard in Washington,” Rep. Eshoo said. “Microbusinesses are becoming a critical piece of our national economy’s backbone, constantly creating new jobs and fostering innovation. While this new business paradigm brings its own set of policy implications and challenges, the Caucus will help navigate those challenges and allow businesses to thrive and promote economic growth.”

“I am pleased to join with my colleagues in the formation of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus where we will work together on commonsense policies that provide small start-ups and innovative initiatives the opportunity to begin, thrive, and grow.  We know that women comprise about one-third of business owners so this is also a way to expand opportunities for women business owners.  It is critical that we forge policies where small business owners can develop and boost our economy and create new jobs to provide opportunity throughout all of our communities.  We can be a hub for initiatives to allow our entrepreneurs to have a voice for commonsense policies for microbusinesses,” said Rep. Comstock.

On Gypsy Spoonful, all of our shop owners are considered independent microbusinesses. The development of this committee and caucus is hopeful to the growth of not only our nation’s economy but also, it hits home for all of us involved in the #makersmovement and #gypsyspoonful. Unnecessary regulations, stipulations and rules that impede growth are not helpful. We encourage our lawmakers and especially those four mentioned in this caucus to focus on the true issues that affect handmade. Please visit these elected officials websites to voice your concerns, hopes, goals and ask questions. It’s encouraging to see this topic is on their “radar” and it’s of national importance. Thank you!