>Wednesday Rant

>This isn’t a business blog. I don’t have one for my company, though I really should. And I will. It’s on the list of thirty million things I plan to accomplish in 2011. This isn’t a blog about my kids, either. That’s not something I plan to do in 2011 (or ever). It’s a blog about my life, and my life encompasses those things and more, so you’ll have to bear with the utter lack of theme around here. I write about whatever’s fresh on my mind usually, so that could honestly be just about anything. Today it happens to be about my job.

If you follow me on Twitter (I’m @clippo…but I’m sure you know that) you’ll know that I regularly (and loudly) stand up for causes in which I believe. One such cause is the importance of supporting handmade goods. Now, this blog is too small to even touch upon all the issues I have with the home/handmade industry, but today I’ve got a bee in my bonnet and I want to address it.
A few months ago, a lovely self-labelled “Mompreneur” from Toronto contacted me for information about Clippo products. She was interested in putting our products in her diaper cakes and had heard great things about our Pant Clippos in particular. The Pant Clippo is my baby. It’s not rocket science, it’s not gonna change the world, but it’s a smart little invention and I take great pride in knowing we offered it first. It’s simple: it’s a repurposed Mitten Clippo that attaches to a waistband to pull it in and snug up pants. It’s indisposable around my house. I was happy to send this fellow business woman some samples of our products. She asked how she could place an order, asked for pricing, and never contacted me again.
Wanna know why?
Because she has decided to copy the products we offer and started a company of her own.
Now. I get it. The market is huge and we all borrow ideas, make them our own and carve our niche, right? Right. But the difference is that most of us have the tact and decency not to ask for free samples and rip a person off blatantly. Thankfully her products are not a) aesthetically pleasing, b) as functional or c) at all comparable to ours but the fact remains that in her company bio she claims she and her business partner invented these products to fill a void in the market. Now come on. That’s like all these silly hair clip companies claiming they weren’t able to find anything that worked in their daughter’s hair anywhere. Really? Because all you need to do is open your eyes and there are about fifty thousand hair clip companies offering non-slip clips out there. If you didn’t invent it, don’t claim that you did. It’s silly. It diminishes the work we all do.
So what did I do? I called her on it. I tweeted her & I emailed her directly, telling her I think it’s despicable behaviour to pretend to work to support other mom-owned businesses and then (poorly) rip them off.
It’s this kind of behaviour that needs to be addressed and called forward. If you have the cojones to rip someone off, at least be honest about it. At least make something your own, give credit where it’s due and show some tact.
And if you can’t manage tact when you attempt to undermine the work I do, be prepared to hear from me.
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Alex

21 thoughts on “>Wednesday Rant

  1. >Good lord, what a horrible, low, low, downright low thing to do!?! I wonder if you will get a response from her.

  2. >WOW! That's outrageous. I hope she falls flat on her face and loses her shirt over her business. I'm going to start tweeting this blog link and I hope it shames her in to at least offering you an apology.

  3. >They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I think that was said by the imitators to appease those copied. Their products lack style and substance and I hope they are shamed.

  4. >Wow. That sucks. I'd freak. I mean Freak.
    I'm glad you spoke up. That kid of behavior is despicable, but also foolish: What goes around comes around.

    Pam @writewrds

  5. >I honestly don't mind the copying so much as the way she went about it. And the fact that she's claiming the idea was hers (and her friend's).

    To be honest, while I've met some absolutely incredible mom entrepreneurs, I've also met some of the most indescribably conniving women in the kids' accessories biz. It's almost comical how cutthroat it is!

  6. >Holy smokes. You're handling it nicely.
    I would be a lot less admirable, I think.
    Do you have a patent, and do you have a lawyer?

    And speaking up and calling her out is the ONLY thing to do.

    there are snakes everywhere, hey?
    I'm so sorry that this happened to you.

    I've had similar experiences where ideas that are too close to ones I already use are used by people who are very much in my circle. I have a hard time believing that when you start the same feature I started a month after I started it.. that it's a chance endeavor if we know one another.

    This, however, is just total poppycock, and you deserve better.

  7. >Wow, that's horrible! Good for you for standing up for your product and calling her on it!

    @gordsgal73

  8. >UGH! People suck! Let us know if you get a response!

    PS, my word verification thingy for this comment was "rawsucti." Figured it was somehow appropriate.

  9. >People, like me, who make jewelry using sea/beach glass are finding this kind of thing a lot. With us, we actually go to a beach and find the pieces of glass that are naturally ground by waves and sand. Now, others are taking glass they break themselves and tumble in a rock tumbler (or whatever) and are selling it as genuine sea glass. Come on, just admit yours is a knock off! lol I just SO know where you're coming from!!

  10. >Sorry Alexandria, that blows. I just noticed she is following another of my mompreneur friends – have warned her about this woman's business practices.

    What goes around comes around,when a business is started by cheating and lying it will never succeed.

  11. >Ohhhh, man. I've been there. I didn't have the time or money to deal with it in court at the time, and to this day the only thing that (barely) keeps me from ripping the person's face off is a strong belief that you reap what you sow.

    @dashingly

  12. >I do indeed have a lawyer. 🙂 But the patent process is expensive and not worth it for us, to be honest. It's truly not about the copied idea, really, but more that she had personal dealings with me and then ripped off the idea saying she invented it. Such deceit.

    Oh Carly, you better believe I kept the email. And I have her original emails praising Clippo, too. Here's what I wrote her (all I did was reply to her last email communication with me):

    From: Clippo Info [mailto:info@clippo.ca]
    Sent: March-01-11 10:54 PM
    To: 'A*** L*****'
    Subject: RE: clips

    Hello A***, remember me?

    I noticed you’ve started F****** T*** and are selling products that are essentially the same as ours. It’s interesting to me that your bio states you were unable to find solutions to your dropped baby items anywhere, when in fact you found them at Clippo.

    Now, I realise that the market’s plenty large enough for us, and that you’re not directly competing with Clippo on any scale imaginable, but I wanted to address you directly and let you know I’m well aware of your methods to obtain our product then rip off the ideas and sell them as your own.

    Tsk. Not a very kind way to be a mom in business.

    Good luck in your endeavours,

    Alexandria

  13. >Alex, this is just rotten. But, karma's a bitch. You're very much taking the high road here (not even her name!) This reflects so well on you.

  14. >Well played Alex. You've always been one smart cookie. Way to call her on it. And… for the record "your" Pant Clippos are so magnificent they may just change the world.

  15. >For everyone like you Alex there is 100 just like this person. Sadly that's just the way it is. but here's the thing. She has no passion for the product and is simply looking to turn a quick buck. She will drop it as soon as the next "shinny penny" comes her way. Every industry is full of them including mine. And what have you got that she doesn't? A whole lot of passion and a whole bunch of people that have your back! It's all good.

  16. >The thing that upset me, when you mentioned it on Twitter, is that this woman has set herself up as a supporter of mompreneurs. She's apparently helping mompreneurs network and market. But with her dirty intentions shown with your product it certainly looks like her "help" is just an outlet to seek more product ideas to steal.
    That's just rotten. It's bad enough stealing an idea, but doing it so blatantly and all while declaring yourself a supporter is just subhuman.

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