I do have an opinion on this. Take this for what it's worth, it is only my own opinion.
I am ashamed to say that I have copied in the past. I would find ways to justify it to myself. I used to sell designs to an estables bow business. When things got rocky, I decided to go out on my own and start my own line. I didn't set out or intenc to copy. I was just so used to seeing that style of hair accessoires and certain types of methods used, that is what was on my mind so that is what I re-created. I used to make excuses to myself, like she didn't pay me for this design, so I can take that one, if she asks I will tell her that I didn't know that she was selling these, etc. This is NOT like me. I am a very honest person and I learned a big lesson from this. I had my stuff in a boutique that was buying from me wholesale. She went in to the boutique, not sure what was said but you can fill in the blanks, and the boutique dropped me.
At first I was so mad, and thought that it was so unjust, then as time went on, I realized that it was fair, and it was just, and that I deserved it. Copying definately brought me bad business carma. I stopped selling for over 2 years. I was so disappointed in my self. Not only becuase what I did was dishonest, but because I have a creative mind, and I have the ability to make something that is truly great and unique.
I have since started a whole new line, new name, new business ID, the whole works. I refuse to copy designs. I think that inspiration is fine, but I want people to be able to tell my work when they see it. I have found that an origianl and unique design sells HANDS DOWN better than copied and over used product ideas. I think that getting inspiration from other peoples ideas is great, but copying is not right. You can do, if you wish bad business carma for yourself. This is also why I am willing to share sources, give advice, give out supplier info. I really think that if someone wants to copy me, they can try, but then again, bad business carma
I am not at all directing the whole bad business carma to you. You are very kind, always willing to help out, share a source, etc. If anyone deserves to use anothers idea, it would be you. If I knew how to make what you were looking for I would tell you
Ok, long soap box novel, but hopefully somebody can learn from MY mistakes and save themselves a lot of money and embarrassment. Thank you.