ARRRR Matey! Design Piracy Act Hopes to Smooth the Seas for Designers

29 Jul 2008

Heather Schuck

Heather Schuck is a passionate entrepreneur who lives up to her "Lil' Firecracker" nickname. While she may joke about her "fun sized" 5'1″ petite frame or her nationally celebrated 4th of July birthday, she's serious about bootstrapping, inspiring mom entrepreneurs, and the power of content marketing.

She is well known for using innovative and cost-effective strategies to secure high profile media placements including mentions on Oprah, The Today Show, Early Show, USA Today, and an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She is an expert in utilizing celebrity product placements as a tool for catapulting sales. Celebrity fans include Demi Moore, Oprah, Britney Spears, Kate Hudson, Angela Bassett, Holly Robinson Peete, Tia Carerre, Lisa Rinna, and Brooke Burke to name a few.

Heather Schuck‘s journey into entrepreneurship is a classic rags to riches tale of overcoming all odds. Despite her lack of fashion or business experience, Heather was able to turn her failed eBay hobby into a multi-million dollar company with distribution in national retailers such as Target, JCPenney, and Sears. As an early adopter and believer in the power of community, Heather Schuck has immersed herself in online outreach such as blogging, social media, and video broadcasts since 2003. Her strong identification with the mom audience and sincere appreciation for supporters led to the launch in 2010. She is also the Host of the web series Fit and FearLESS Files that inspires women to overcome mom guilt and embrace their dreams.

Recognized as a strong advocate for small business, Heather welcomes the opportunity to help fellow entrepreneurs replicate her successes. She has spent the last seven years as a bootstrap entrepreneur and has developed numerous best practices for working smarter-not harder. As a business coach, Heather can train you to utilize her tactics and strategies while providing heartfelt encouragement and support. Areas covered include business strategy, company branding, leveraging celebrity marketing, social media integration, influencer outreach, achieving marketing ROI, media outreach/PR, creating work/life balance, and optimizing your operations for maximum efficiency. If you are losing hope in your small business and need a seasoned expert with credibility and a proven track record of success, click here to hire her. Heather Schuck can be contacted at

“Knockoffs” and “Copycats” are too often part of the hard knocks high fashion deals out to young designers.  Years spent perfecting the fit of a signature cocktail dress can be stolen overnight by a larger, more established company with lower price points.  Your signature cocktail dress is now mass market and you won’t see a dime.  To help change this harsh reality, many of today’s hottest fashion designers, such as Narciso Rodriguez and Nicole Miller, are rallying behind The Design Piracy Prohibition Act.  The legislation, introduced in a bi-partisan effort in the Senate, hopes to give independent designers a fighting chance to protect their works. 

To accomplish this, the Act will extend copyright laws to fashion patterns by allowing fashion designers to register their designs with the U.S. Copyright Office for a small fee.  The registration would protect the design for three years and “copycats” found guilty of pilfering designs would be forced to pay damages for the infringement.   While new to the US, copyright protection of fashion designs is not new to the rest of the world.  Similar legislation is currently being enforced in Japan, India, and several countries throughout Europe where the registration last 25 years.  With the US being the only world fashion leader without protection in place, the Piracy Act is a much needed step towards protecting our $350 billion dollar fashion industry. 

As a fashion designer myself, I’m optimistic about the prospect of copyright protection.  Not only does this mean legal protection of my works, but it will add to the value of my company.  All too often, I’ve been in meetings with potential investors to have someone ask the question, “but somebody could knock you off, right?”  It’s a hard question to answer.  Without this legislation designers have to work extremely hard to find unique ways to manufacture their product, use unique materials, or have a unique use that can be patented.  This is often an impossible task and the designer is then left exposed to “knock-offs”.  The Design Piracy Prohibition Act, which is still in committee in the Senate, would come a long way in protecting a designer’s works.  Is it far enough?  I don’t think so, but at least it’s a start!

What do you think?  Pros-Cons?  Comment below or email me at

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