"People can go where we have already been, but they have no idea where we are going next."
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. In that case, Kyler's Comfy Cup invention got a HUGE compliment. Much to our surprise, we discovered a "Comfy Cup Copycat" selling foam athletic cups on Amazon.
I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel a bit annoyed and fearful at first. What kind of person steals an idea from a kid? Is this going to impact the number of Comfy Cups we are able to sell? But, I am an optimist and I know that what I think about, I bring about. So, I quickly released those fearful and negative thoughts. I took a deep breath, threw my hands into the air and let out a huge exhalation blowing all those negative thoughts away. This was a good opportunity to teach my kids a lesson--when a situation arises that you cannot control, the one thing you can control is your response. I decided to respond to this "imitation situation" with gratitude and love. But, how would my family respond?
That afternoon, I showed Kyler the copycat cup on the computer. I loved his authentic response: "Well, there's not much we can do about that. (long pause....still pausing...anyone who knows Kyler, will understand the depth of this pause...finally...) I guess that is a pretty big compliment though (smiling and chuckling to himself)!"
I do my best to model conscious optimism--teaching my kids to think positively. I often say, "You get to choose, are you going to be a victim or a warrior?" I felt so proud to witness Kyler independently and naturally choose a warrior response. I was equally thrilled when Kyler's dad walked through the door after work that evening and exclaimed, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery!" When faced with adversity, we can throw in the towel and cry or we can focus on the positive and keep moving forward. We are going to keep moving forward. We are going to continue to protect the parts of pee wee players who don't like wearing a hard cup. We are going to continue to sell Kyler's Comfy Cups (and we might just make them better). We are going to continue to treat our customers with respect and provide the best product for the lowest price we can offer. We are going to continue to express a thought of gratitiude for each Comfy Cup shipment we put in the mail. We are going to continue to develop a plan to help support other kid entrepreneuers. We are going to continue to be consciously optimisitic warriors. We are going to continue learning.
We do not regret the decisions we have made. We knew product imitation was a possibility when we made the choice not to patent the Comfy Cup. This Comfy Cup adventure has always been about something WAY more valuable than money. This adventure is about making the world a better place for young boys playing contact sports while getting a first-hand entrepreneurial expereince. Our hope is that Kyler's invention will continue to bring success, good fortune and protected parts to all (and hopefully we can learn a thing or two about business and life along the way).
They can imitate your style, but they can't imitate your creativity.