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The Instagram Revolution

Dear followers, I know you aren’t vast, but I apologize for my lack of blog posts as of late.  You see, I discovered Instagram and my photo obsessed, two-second attention span has fallen down the rabbit hole.  But it has opened up a whole new world for me so I hope you will forgive me.  And in fact something happened via Instagram that was very interesting.  Let me explain.



As many of you know, The Circle Pot was one of our first designs.  In fact the photo above was my very first blog post ever from several years ago and this wonderful pot is still our best seller to this day.



We’ve paid our dues learning how to make this not-so-easy to manufacturer pot with endless unsellable seconds (you’d think a circle would be simple, wouldn’t you?)



We’ve suffered through the lose of two of our local manufacturers including the iconic Gainey Ceramics (RIP) and had to move production up to Portland in our heroic attempt at not taking manufacturing out of the country (okay, maybe not really heroic, but it was important to us).


Potted Circle Pot 7

We’ve enjoyed watching other designers we greatly admire use our little pot, i.e., this beautiful photo from Flora Grubb Design.


Potted Circle Pot 6

We’ve really enjoyed seeing how our customers have used our Circle Pot, like this installation using the pots as a shower screen…


Potted Circle Pot 8

And this one using it as a bird feeder (which apparently it works very well).


Potted Circle Pot 16

But nothing quite prepared me for this photo.  You see I was searching through a hashtag, I think it was #moderndesign late one night (because that’s what my zombie obsessed Instagramming mind likes to do these day) and my jaw just fell when I saw this photo.  It was posted by an Australian company, Paterson & Steele, and it was saying how excited they were about their new offerings on their soon-to-be-opened online store.

Now they didn’t say outright that they had designed them, but I freaked out.  These weren’t just similar to our pot, they were EXACT REPLICAS!!!  I immediately posted the photo to my Instagram and barraged theirs (which was shut down immediately).  Then I started messaging people who had commented (you see I took a screen shot…always take a screen shot) and another woman (I’m assuming her friend) told me to back off, I was being rude and that she’d never said she designed them.  She then said that another person on the feed said they had bought the same ones…


Potted Circle Pot 15

Here are the other ones…while lovely, nothing like our Circle Pot…but never mind.   And then she said if I didn’t take down my post immediately which basically accused Paterson & Steele of ripping us off (which I didn’t but I was in full mama bear protecting her young mode), she would report me to the Instagram police.  Okay, fair enough.  She (Paterson & Steele)  hadn’t outright said she had designed them and I was not being fair.  Point well taken.  Maybe I should take it out of social media and talk to her directly.  Which is probably what I should have done in the first place but in my defense I come from very hot blooded roots (which isn’t a defense I know but shut up).


Potted Circle Pot

So I emailed her.  And she was lovely.  She told me that she had bought them from a company in China (wow, what a shocker) and that she felt terrible about what happened and that she wanted to make it right.  That she didn’t want to, and I quote, “face the wrath of your instagram followers again.”  She even proposed paying a royalty which was very kind of her.  We declined.  All we wanted was for her to make sure to credit us as the designers.   And so…


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This ran across my phone just yesterday and I was thrilled.  Win/win, happy ending for all.

But here is my question…do you think this would have been the same outcome without some of that Instagram wrath?   (In her case probably as she seemed like a good person but for some others, I don’t know…)  Should I have emailed her first and barraged her second?  I wonder…

I love Instagram.



5 Responses to “The Instagram Revolution”

  1. I’m not an early adopter. Okay I know, Instagram is hardy new. Still it’s “ONE MORE THING” to keep track of, thus I abstain. Sadly there is some danger garden guy on there so whenever one of my friends posts assuming they can tag me it instead links to him. Frustrating.

    Anyway to your particular situation, how wonderful you were dealing with humans, that makes all the difference. Also loved the shots of the pot in production. The day ours arrived I just stared at it in awe but Andrew had to check it out in detail explaining to me the difficulties and what made it so very hard to produce (in other words he was impressed).

  2. annette says:

    Oh but you would love it, Loree! But it would definitely kill your blogging so probably better that you don’t.

    And yes, I’m glad it all worked out too. Thank goodness for humans.

  3. Bravo! Another win for social media. We all hear how bad it is, but it’s outweighed by stories like yours.

  4. Denise says:

    I am so impressed by Australian design blogs, so it’s no surprise your circle pots caught someone’s eye over there. After all the trauma, now you’ve made a great connection with another design community. I can’t imagine an enraged mama bear handling this any differently. Good for you, Annette!

  5. What a great post Annette – that’s made my day reading that and I’m so glad we worked it all out. Hope everything is going well over the sea there. Xx

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