Laval artist claims handmade work copied, sold at dollar store

A Laval artist said she was surprised to find made-in-China copies of her handmade nightlights being sold at the dollar store for 20 times less than what she's selling them for.

Karine Foisy said one of her Facebook followers tipped her off about finding a $2 plastic owl nightlight in a Dollar Store that looked a lot like the animal-themed glass nightlights Foisy has been making and selling for the past four years. Foisy said besides the different colour of the branch the owl is sitting on, it's her owl, no question about it.

"The owl is the same. I recognize my art because I designed it four years ago in my workshop. And when I saw the sheep, it's not a coincidence," said Foisy, who said she saw her sheep nightlight copied and sold there as well.

After some online research, Foisy said she saw more copies being sold on Amazon. 

Foisy has been designing and crafting her $44 glass nightlights featuring colouful cartoon animals since 2013, with a staff that's grown to eight part-time workers. Her products are sold under her company Veille sur toi online, at arts and crafts shows and specialty shops.

And while her work is registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office...

"Today it's very easy to get a picture and just make a copy of a product and no, I can't get off Facebook because this is why I can live on my art," said Foisy in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

Dollarama did not respond to CJAD 800 News's request for comment. Foisy said she contacted the Dollarama Store which told her they'd stop ordering it.

But other than that, Foisy said there's not much artists like herself can do against giant corporations since they don't have anyone protecting their work like musicians and authors do.

"If I want to go forward with legal procedures, for example, that would involve a lot of resources for me and a lot of energy also," said Foisy.

"I was very frustrated because I know there's nothing much I can do about that. It's like a combat between David and Goliath."