I usually get a few customers/fans messaging me about "copycats", others vendors creating items almost identical to mine. In most cases, it's not really a copycat issue, just a matter of people ordering and using the same cool supplies that are available to all of us. We all know where to find the skeleton lady cameos and little rose accents to liven her up a bit (insert: DUH!). Scissor on a chain, they're all over. Even if you're just a browser, you've seen the same style necklaces everywhere, so there's no "copycatting" going on there.
Once that light bulb goes off in my head for something new, I always search my sales sites, like Etsy, for similar items. That way, if someone already has one just like the one I'm thinking of, I change it up so they're totally different. I like custom ordering many pieces so I can add embellishments or charms that no one will have, (until they start getting mass produced or copied). Just adding some rhinestones to someone else's design is NOT making it your own - it has to totally be different.
Lately, messages of copycatting have been much more frequent and by LOTS of different people about one particular "artist"... fans, other artists, and even some of their own "friends" and customers have all been letting me know the scoop on this person. I posted bloody scissors necklaces almost 2 years ago... about 2 months after I did, this person did. I started blood splattering my resin settings... a month later, they did. It never bothered me much until the last couple months tons of people were noticing, most of them letting me know. They would even send me screen shots of stuff put on their Facebook page. They would mention how others were copying their "ideas"... what?! How is it you post your items months after someone else had already created it and not only claim it to be your idea but to say they copied you?!
After some detective work by a couple of pals and fellow artists, we started seeing this person copies ALL of their items from other artists! I think I've only seen one original item out of more than 100 that was actually theirs! Most came straight from Etsy's Team Horror Couture members! *SMH* As if that wasn't bad enough, they try to claim items as their own idea and mark it as copyrighted... sweetie, try researching copyright laws!
Now I wont "name and shame" because that's just kind of tacky and totally classless and I'm not trying to ruin anyone's reputation - but I will point the finger at you because you know exactly who you are. Because you have thousands of Facebook "fans" doesn't mean you've been doing it longer or are original in any way... all it means is you bugged people enough times to market your page and promised free stuff if they got more people to like your page. Check the sales numbers, check the number of hearted fans on Etsy (the ones you can't bribe people to do or pay an agency for), but most of all, check the sales dates... you didn't start making any sales until you were copying other artists' ideas.
I've been doing this a lot longer two years my shop has been open, this isn't my first go-around Etsy. And like many other Etsy members have told me about you, you are watched, judged and lies will only go so far. Growing up with a corporate lawyer taught me a few excellent tips: screen shots are taken and records are kept - dates, photos, wording, it's all saved. Keep hoping customers don't try to research the claims you make, because that's the only way you'll survive.