My Idea Will Be Stolen If I Market – Part 1

That’s one of the top 10 “lies” I hear regularly from entrepreneurs. The answer is: it depends.

In New York City, large fashion companies often knowingly exploit entrepreneurs who come to them with ideas. The city is aware of this situation and, in fact, they were the ones that warned me about it.

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

Sitting at home nursing your idea is not going to make you famous or rich. Only exposure can do that. So Market!!! By building a brand, you are building market share for yourself and your product. Sure you’re letting the competition see your product. It’s not that you can prevent theft, but by establishing a brand and market presence you are at least in the competitive arena and are there first. If you don’t, then you can be completely ripped off and your idea becomes someone else’s brand. Whether you are a brick and mortar store, an online shop, or a line of clothing, get your ideas up and branded. Someone might steal your idea, but meanwhile you’ve established a leadership position with the product.


I know this is not a start up’s success story. But my point holds for a company of any size. GE attributes incremental sales of $10 billion a year just to the power of its brand. Generic soft white light bulbs are sold next to the GE brand. The products have the same performance specs on their packages.

But, 9 out of 10 people buy the GE product and pay 25% more. That’s the power of branding.

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

Drawing Dog Portraits

Drawing Dog Portraits for the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life

There are hundreds of public service ads and commercials asking for donations to 9-11, Katrina, the tsunami and tornado victims, to orphaned children, abandoned pets, and more. Especially in this economy it’s difficult to always give cash, but many of us have special talents, so we can contribute in our own way.

Seven years ago I approached the American Cancer Society and offered to sketch pets at their Bark for Life, charging $20 a sketch and donating all the money collected to them. Each year since I’ve organized a group of illustrators and cartoonists associated with the Society of Illustrators to sketch with me. We’ve donated between $700 and $1600 a year, depending on how many artists participate. This past Sunday we drew 38 dog portraits in 3 hours, raising $760 for the ACS. It was a fun time… our models don’t hold very still, but it’s so much fun.

Joan Chiverton teaches SXD 635: Quick Sketching for the Pet-Product Business and SXG 140: Storyboard Techniques Studio for Costume Design.


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