This week we would like you to meet Leah Watson, a Maryland-based hair creative and owner of Cut Junkie!
What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone. About the age of 13, I realized that I liked art. I loved colors and shapes. I would cut up magazines and books creating head to toe looks.
What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
I love the whole process of creating. I enjoy the vision of what I imagine in my head then seeing the finished product as I had envisioned it.
Can you take us through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
For me, it may start with a word or sometimes it’s a shape, then I instantly go into the creative process, which is usually started on a napkin! My Cut Junkie brand is profitable but I’ve always created brand concepts just for fun too.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
I think the biggest misconception about being a Hair Creative is that everyone in this field is creative. The problem is that a lot of people aren’t taught to create from an authentic place. Instead, they are given instructions such as “hold it this way” or “cut it that way.” To me that’s mimicking, not truly creating!
When did you first become aware of copyright and why?
Several years ago, I was an educator for a shear company. The owner asked me to present a class at an event she was hosting. I agreed because I wanted to be able to put the title of guest speaker on my resume. So I put together a presentation, which the owner recorded during her event. Originally, I told her I didn’t want to be videoed, but later we discussed using the video to promote my work. So, I agreed she could use the footage, thinking it would be a promotion for my skills. However, she turned it into a shear sharpening DVD to promote her business using my full presentation without my consent. Then, I found out it was being sold on her website and she had given herself production rights. I had to obtain a lawyer who sent her cease and desist papers. The owner was very upset with me but agreed to send the remaining DVD copies she had left… all of which were smashed!
Have you experienced copyright infringement and if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?
After the DVD situation, I realized that I needed to protect everything I create.
What do you do when you encounter someone stealing something you’ve invested your intellect, time and money into?
In this age of social media, it’s become harder to protect your intellectual property. But typically, I’ll use a watermark and place it somewhere where on my work where removal would result in distorting the image.
What is the best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
As human beings, one of the most important things we can possess is our integrity. And I always advise fellow creators (and everyone) to have and value Integrity regarding their work and everyone else’s work.
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