Let’s Get Ethical with our 3rd Annual Oh My! Ethics Theme

3rd Annual Oh My! Ethics Theme, Oh My! Handmade, Gaia Cornwall

Entrepreneurship isn’t always all cupcakes and sparkly unicorns…sometimes without even realizing it we step off the edge of what we know and end up past the “Here there Be Dragons” signs. When we are confronted with these icky sticky situations our natural instinct is to retreat and head for safer ground but being our own bosses demands that we suit up and face the things that threaten our happiness and the safety of our creative community. Nothing makes doing this less terrifying then having company and many friends to help light the way and muddle through the muck together!

Three years ago I started our ethics theme thinking that maybe it would be a little too heavy for our cheerful readers but it ended up being our most popular theme of all! You can check out all the posts we’ve published on ethics by visiting the Entrepreneur Ethics archive.  Turns out that almost all of us have struggled with ethical questions from copyright infringement to crediting images to the ethics of Pinterest. Now for our 3rd Annual Ethics theme we’ll be exploring ethics yet again and sharing our experiences, knowledge, and concerns with kindness and compassion. Not one of us has all the answers and we all mess up and need to make things right, thankfully we have this supportive community to adventure with as we learn and grow.

Our themes are made awesome because of your participation! Please fill up the comments with your questions about entrepreneurship + ethics and we’ll do our very best to address them this month. Tell us-what ethical questions have you struggled with as you build your business? What tricky situations have you had to navigate? What do you want to know about building a business with integrity?  Have a guest post you want to share this month on your own experience-share in the comments & if I can fit it in I’ll email you! 

A big thank you to Gaia Cornwall for creating the graphics for our March theme,  her inspiration for this beautiful design is “strong ethical roots (our community) support thriving trees and gardens (our businesses).” I love the symbology of this and how we can all work together to tend and nurture our ethics by digging deep into the questions that affect us for good and bad. So I will bring the shovels and rakes, you bring some seeds, and we’ll see what beautiful new ideas take root!


  1. allisajacobs says:

    Hello Jess! Ooh, ethics month is one of my favorites! I’ll have to say that a topic I hear about a lot from other makers & creative business folks, and one I’ve had to research quite a bit, is that of copyright infringement. It’s a tough one…. we all want to protect ourselves & fellow artists, but an aspect that has come up more & more is the false claims of infringement – and the damage those can cause. It’s a murky, emotion-filled topic – but I think many makers would benefit from a clearer understanding of copyright laws and that some things, like fashion, are nearly impossible to protect. And, to throw it out there….just because something is similar to another work, it doesn’t equal infringement. Whew.

    Looking forward to all the topics & perspectives this month!

    xo, allisa

  2. Domestica says:

    This one’s not entirely about ethics, but it can’t hurt to talk a little bit about the limits of professional jealousy, how we should deal with those feelings and the damage we can do to ourselves when we express those feelings through gossip, bad-mouthing and general bad attitudes. I’d love to see some discussion about how helping to promote other neighborhood or like-minded shops can help us gain a better understanding of other makers, tamper jealousy and even help us meet new friends + grow our own business.

    I have been guilty of jealousy and fear of competition – it’s hard to think you’re not the only person who ever thought of something cool. I think it’s part of growing a business + it’s natural, but left unattended those fears can really damage your self-worth, confidence and perhaps, reputation. I think a little discussion on dealing with these feelings will help all of us use these fears against themselves to come out more creatively energized, more aware of our own wonderful accomplishments, and perhaps a little more in awe of our neighbors’ own gifts.


  3. I AM THE LAB says:

    I will definitely be sharing more about #DesignRespect this month with the OMHG family. There still seems to be plenty of room to discuss attribution and authenticity.

    I agree that there is a clear line between ‘inspired-by’ and ‘Hi, I’m about to copy you like a crazy clone’. Understanding what that line is and how to know the difference seems to be a struggle for some. And then there’s Pinterest.

    Looking forward to your well-balanced take on ethics & creativity.

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