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The Yonce' Story

Dear readers, I've got a little story to tell you about a young maker named John Pape and the day he thought he had arrived on the big stage.

Flashback to 2012. At that time, I had been making custom jewelry for about 5 or 6 years. My partner, Robin, and I were of the mindset that publicity was everything. We wanted our pieces in all the big magazines and on all the top celebrities. Robin was doing a phenomenal job of getting my pieces in big magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Allure.

Some celebrities were taking notice too. Fergie was photographed wearing one of our skull rings. Miranda Lambert wore some of our pieces for a magazine spread or video or something. I don't remember the exact details.

Then, Robin got THE CALL OF CALLS (or so we thought at the time...LOL). It was Beyonce's stylist, Lisa. And Lisa asked us to make a couple of pieces for Beyonce's next set of videos and her marketing art for her "Beyonce'" album that was going to be released soon. We got so excited that we got started immediately on the project but forgot to iron out the important details, such as credit for the work and how our name would be made known. Lisa asked us to make the pieces for free, so we just assumed that we would get a shout-out for the work SOMEWHERE. Anywhere. McFly!!!!

Flash forward a week, after burning the midnight oil for days at a time, we had a couple of pieces ready for Beyonce' and shipped them off to Lisa. Lisa told us that Beyonce' loved the necklace in particular. It was a nameplate for which Robin had drawn a custom font. The nameplate read: Yonce'. And it was suddenly EVERYWHERE. Here's a Pop Sugar blog post about the necklace:

It was on all of Beyonce's publicity for her new album. Videos. Album art.

Not a peep about who made it, though, so the phones weren't ringing. No one knew who made it for her! We asked Lisa if she could get it known who made the necklace, and she just asked us to be patient. Our patience was epically virtuous. But, alas, unrewarded.

Fast forward to 2017, and Beyonce' decided to start wearing the Yonce' nameplate again. She even put a closeup of herself wearing it on her on Instagram page. Again, not a peep about who made it for her for FREE. LOL! The Instagram post, alone, got something like 1.8 million likes. No buzz for the good guys though.

This blog entry isn't a pity party for me, so please don't take it that way. It's more of a lesson for me and for you. If you make things, and celebrities want to borrow something from you or want you to make something for them for free, make sure you have an agreement in place in writing laying out exactly how you will be credited for your work. Otherwise, you'll have to learn the hard way like I did. God speed, friends!

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