In our latest Member Focus we want to share a fascinating insight into ACID member, Lorna Bateman of Lorna Bateman Embroidery. All the inside stories of our amazingly diverse membership all have one common theme – protecting their intellectual property to achieve growth and putting IP at the heart of their business strategy. Lorna Bateman Embroidery is no exception!
When and why did you first start creating your products/designs?
I began teaching hand embroidery 30 years ago and successfully ran a teaching studio for 12 years, before setting up my retail business on a very small scale back in 2001, creating simple ‘starter’ embroidery kits for students and customers wishing to experiment with hand embroidery. I had sold products like silk ribbon at craft shows and found that, in spite of demonstrating and encouraging people to try their hand at the skill, they were reluctant to go ahead and source the raw product and also were not keen to design a pattern themselves. I strongly believe that a kit can introduce a skill to those interested, who will hopefully carry on stitching as a result and maybe gain enough confidence to draw their own designs.
To this end, I produced small taster packs, which I then sold both online on my website and at retail craft shows. These proved popular and due to requests from the USA, I ended up screen printing my designs onto the fabric. From there, the demand grew, especially once I set up shop on Etsy in 2009. Today I sell all over the world, both on my own website and on Etsy, with the UK and USA being my biggest customers.
Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property (IP) when you started your business?
Having grown up in South Africa where unfortunately, due to sanctions at the time, copyright infringement was rife, I have always been aware of intellectual property rights and have sought to protect both my work and that of others. I was blatantly copied a number of times and felt powerless to remedy this. The same occurred here in the UK and it was at the suggestion of a friend, who was a member of ACID, that I join the organisation.
Which ACID Membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a Member?
I have sought help and advice, both via email and telephone, with regard to infringement. I have not however, as yet, taken the matter further. I feel I benefit from ACID membership in as much as I have the logo on all my patterns and instructions, making customers aware of the fact that my work is copyright protected and also in this way hopefully educating them in this regard. I also display the ACID logo when I have a stand at a show, again to make customers aware. The assumption that people can simply photograph your work without asking any permission is something that irks me immensely so again the ACID no photography sign on display is very useful.
Have you brought anything new to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?
I recently published my first book in July 2019 called ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’, put out by Search Press. Together with this, I launched a new website and many new products relating to the book.
What is the best aspect of ACID Membership for your business?
I have now been a member of ACID for 3 years and the comfort of knowing that they are there for support at any time is immensely reassuring. I have uploaded up some of my designs to the IP Databank and use the logo wherever I can, giving me a sense of ownership of something tangible. Having access to an organization, which is both nationally and internationally recognised at government level, and who fights for the creative community by trying to effect changes within the law regarding IP, is tremendously reassuring.
What advice would you offer to a new designer?
In the textile field it can be a very lonely journey trying to establish yourself as a designer, teacher and writer. Had I known about ACID previously, I would have joined many years ago in order to have the reassurance of back up and a more in-depth knowledge and education with regard IP. If the textile design route is the one you wish to travel down, I can definitely recommend studying up on IP and joining ACID.
ACID values the support of its members to enable it to campaign for design law reform. Do you have any messages for Government/Policy Makers on IP issues?
I would love to see IP laws firmly enshrined within the constitution, with infringement punishable by law, and clear policies set up for designers to be aware of and be able to use if needs be. Small business practice has been actively encouraged by the government and as a small business on whose income I totally depend, I would like to be confident of backup in this area without having to incur huge costs with IP infringement.
Click here to read more about Lorna Bateman Embroidery.