This happens a lot with photography galleries I have worked with.
Galleries don't want to display artwork that's hanging all over town. They don't want to waste their wall space with pictures that people can buy anywhere. The gallery owner works hard to develop a theme, a look and a clientele for the art she sells.
Gallery owners will ask artists not to display copies of a particular work in any other gallery, usually for 30 days after the piece leaves the gallery.
(i.e. It is sold or taken down.)
Just to prevent artists from recomposing a new print from the same negative, they often have a "look-alike" clause, too.
They don't want me taking a picture of a tall ship that I display in a gallery and flipping it around and otherwise tinkering with the same image to make a "different" copy which really isn't much different at all.
I am guessing the Bear shop owner is asking you for the same thing.
She doesn't want to waste her shelf space displaying Bears that anybody can buy anywhere else. She's asking you not to take the same pattern and tinker with it so that you're displaying the same Bear with only small differences in several different shops.
If the shop owner says that she can get your Bears adopted for a good fee and she doesn't take a high commission, don't worry about things like this.
But, if she promises you the moon and doesn't deliver on her promises, you won't be able to display the same or similar Bear in other shops until after your Bear leaves. (Either adopted or taken home.)
I've got a gallery owner who is giving me the shaft on a deal like this. She wants exclusivity and she promised she could sell my picture quickly.
It's been more than six months since the picture first went on display, now she's complaining that my price is too high. The problem is that she takes a 30% commission. Offering an 11x14 inch framed photographic print (traditional photo, not digital) for $200.00 at 30% commission only leaves me with $140.00. If you consider the cost of the frame and the cost of the film and chemistry, that print costs me a little bit less than $100 to make. So I'm only getting $40 on the deal. If you count up all the time I spent making that picture, that means I'm earning less than minimum wage!
I'm going to give this woman another month or so and if she doesn't produce results or at least some nibbles, I'm going to display copies of that print in other places. I've got two different photos on display in another gallery in town. They've only been there for a week and they've already got two nibbles. When I told the gallery owner my asking price was $200.00 she said, "Do you think that's high enough?"
Plus, this gallery does not ask for exclusivity. (It's a cooperative.)
If one of those two prints sells off the wall in that other gallery, where do you think my loyalty will be?
When we were stocking shops with our bears, Shop exclusives meant that the bears the shop received were specifically designed and made for the shop in question and that the pattern or design (bear) they were buying from us to put in their shop, would not be reproduced or available anywhere else. Agreeing to a shop exclusive design or two just means you cannot make the design you made for that shop under the exclusivity agreement you came to with that shop, for any other shop and/or at all. The design cannot be reproduced basically. It's an OOAK. That was what it meant when we were selling bears to shops anyway.
I personally would recommend finding a shop that was happy to stock whatever you were happy to make, that way you can stay inspired making the designs you'd like to make the way you'd like to make them and not become "swamped" by what the shop owner/s order from you for their shop. Finding a shop that likes to stock what you like to make also is great because you don't have to worry about all your "shop exclusives" looking similar (which happens if you have already developed, intentionally or unintentionally, a "signature" look for your bears).
Hi, thanks for your sharing on similar scenario in other industry. i guess it would be less subjective to judge for the look alike print than bear making. And yes, Gabriele, we do hope our energy on hand craft work will not be limit if we have a happy co-operation in terms and offer. Thank you so much for bringing me attention on the duration of shop exclusivity and the awareness on the signature look :hug: