A copycat gave me this million-dollar idea

Making lemonade out of lemons...how I turned a copycat experience into a million dollar idea. RobertaWest.com

Okay, it might not be exactly a million-dollar idea yet…but I am sure it is a lot better than spending time moping over stolen work.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of copycats throughout my short years in business, and honestly it doesn’t bother me…Having my work copied sort of validated what I was doing in some fashion - and that was exciting.

The first time it ever happened was pretty wild…someone I had never heard of before emailed me to point out a FULL WEBSITE adorned with all the photos from my office shoot published on Inspired by This.

Curious about that website? I am not publicly shaming that person (actually 2 planners from somewhere in Utah I guess) …after all, we are talking about rising above here! You can see the ‘stolen’ photos published on Inspired by This.

Back to the story…so I was beyond pissed, but so proud of how I handled it…just a classy email asking to take them down in 24hrs. It worked, and no more harm was done.

This last time was different! When I saw my shop’s copy written word for word in a very similar shop, my blood boiled. Honestly, I suck at copy but I had spend hours at night putting together this short description of my ‘WHY’ and I thought was the most authentic and relatable piece of copy I’d ever created. This is what I wrote:

Mission for Shop Romanticist

Mission for Shop Romanticist

So for this person to copy my vision, my why, it didn’t feel flattering…it felt like taking a part of me that I had poured in for my clients.


My not so proud moment

I do believe in leverage, so I found a Facebook group this person belonged to, posted there about what was happening, and asked for people’s feedback in how to deal with it. I wanted this person to know that what they did was not OK, that everybody there had been through it and felt the same way I did. To be honest, I did want to blast her on every single social media outlet I have, but what good would that do? How would that be any good for me or my business?

Never be afraid to ask someone before you use their work...it is the nice thing to do!  PC: Gabriella Riggieri

Never be afraid to ask someone before you use their work...it is the nice thing to do!

PC: Gabriella Riggieri


To be honest, the worst part of it was that the people who copied my work didn’t ever think to reach out to me.

If they had just sent me an email or slid into my DMs asking for help, I would’ve been thrilled to help them find their own way–

completely for free. I would have shared my whole process, and worked to achieve their own goals and realize their own unique vision.

My personal theory is that copying comes from a lack of confidence, so if there was anything I could do to help them feel a little steadier on their own two feet instead of leaning on others’ work, I would do it.

Because let’s get real–I know how hard it can be when you first start out. Believe me, I dealt with my fair share of failed launches and broken processes before making it to where I am today. And I firmly believe that there is room for all of us at the top. So now that me and my little business have grown a bit more and learned these lessons the hard way…I want to share what I know!

Instead of getting mad at all the copying, I’m taking the opposite approach, and sharing the love. I’m putting together a course to walk you through my entire process (+ some things I think I can do better too) so you can open your shop with confidence, focused on your own strengths.

I want you to sell more than me, grow faster than I did, and create your own unique mark in this creative world.


This is my lifeline to all those copiers out there, but it’s also for anyone with a small business, anyone interested in (or just dreaming of) running an e-shop, or anyone who’s simply interested in the behind-the-scenes of what we do over here at The Romanticist Studios and Shop Romanticist. Stay tuned, this will be a good one!

Wishing you endless creativity and NO copycats, ;-)