Is this Greed or Business?

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dibbles

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I don't know about the lotion thing. I see it as fair game. It's not like BBW is 100% ethical or they would not have had the backlash they did when they came out with a Holo Taco inspired product and NOT consult the owner about it(I forgot her name).
I'm just musing. I don't really know anything about this.
 

GemstonePony

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@Saponificarian Personally I agree with you. It is wrong to have others buy the FOs from a company for the purpose of duping them.

I didn't start making soap, etc. because commercial products caused a reaction to my skin, though, and I do think there are plenty of makers who found an enjoyable hobby/small business to pursue for reasons other than that as well. So, would it be wrong for me to make a lotion with a BBW FO dupe, when I can use the lotion they sell without a problem? Just wondering here - I don't sell, so I'm not profiting from it, and I've just not thought about it before in terms of using a BBW or Lush dupe.
Unless you're also duplicating their lotion, I still don't think it's the same thing. My skin can tolerate BBW lotion as long as I don't use it too frequently. So, I usually end up with Aveeno, which doesn't have many fun fragrances, but works better. It could be argued that if I want fun fragrances, my skin just has to suffer a little, or I can't enjoy them for extended periods of time.
Or, I can buy a duplicate fragrance, put it in something that works for my skin, and have my cake and eat it, too. Which, it could be argued, competes with both companies for different reasons.
ETA: I darken the doors of B&B stores so infrequently that I have no memory of their fragrances/perfumes. I don't tend to buy dupes because non-duplicate fragrances are usually described better.
 
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TheGecko

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Yes, with a patent you couldn't reverse engineer, but under trade secrets you could.
It is not illegal to reverse engineer, doesn’t matter whether there is a patent or not. You just can’t use the item if there is a patent on it.
 

paradisi

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It's immoral and really tacky. Bb's prices being higher than someone likes doesn't make it right, either.

Ripping off Anne Marie's work..her fragrance team's work... stinks.
 

Arimara

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@GemstonePony the day they retires Japanese Cherry Blossom will be the day I search for something to lend the creamy notes I get with its dupe. I love that scent to pieces. I'm also glad NG has a dupe of Cotton Blossom from back when I was in high school or college. That was my daily scent.
 

cerelife

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I don't know why I can't get my response out of dibbles quote!

I don't have any qualms about using FO dupes of BBW or Lush scents.
In the case of BBW I don't like their products but I do like some of the scents. Like most of us, I started making things for myself and I wanted a quality product so price wasn't my first consideration. BBW isn't going to make the same stuff that we do because it just wouldn't be cost-effective for them to do so.
Per Lush: I hate their soap but love some of the scents. I like some of their other products and I do buy those from them.
I would have more of a moral issue purchasing and using dupes of these fragrances if they made top-notch quality products. But this is just my opinion, everyone may not agree.
What bothers me specifically about the scenario Saponificarian presented was that this woman is having people send her FOs from companies who are actively selling these same scents and duplicating them. If someone likes the scent they bought from a vendor like BB, it seems incredibly unfair to NOT continue to purchase the FO from that vendor and instead send it to be duped by someone else and then buy it from them at a lower price point.
 
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rdc1978

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@Saponificarian Personally I agree with you. It is wrong to have others buy the FOs from a company for the purpose of duping them.

I didn't start making soap, etc. because commercial products caused a reaction to my skin, though, and I do think there are plenty of makers who found an enjoyable hobby/small business to pursue for reasons other than that as well. So, would it be wrong for me to make a lotion with a BBW FO dupe, when I can use the lotion they sell without a problem? Just wondering here - I don't sell, so I'm not profiting from it, and I've just not thought about it before in terms of using a BBW or Lush dupe.
I think this is an interesting aspect, but I'd say that, for me, I'd make a totally different product than what BBW is selling. I'm making (mostly) cold process bar soaps with (my attempts) at design work. Most perfumes, IMO, carry a lotion or a bath gel for a lower cost entry product, or as part of a gift set.

Thats been my experience at least, more often than not, its been part of a gift set. BBW sells bath gels and lotions. While I won't have a skin reaction using those products, I prefer the lotion bars I make with ingredients that I know work better on my skin. The same with my soaps, its not that I couldn't use an Angel bath gelee, but for one, I can almost guarantee you, its cloying. I like Angel, but a little goes a long way. And as well, while I won't have a skin reaction, it'll probably dry out my skin, and then I'd be forced to use Angel lotion, and I'd just be stinking like Angel all the live long day. LOL. But with my soap, my skin doesn't really get dried out.

I'm not a huge fan of BBW products and thats just me, however, I could see where the line might maybe be blurred if someone was looking to make the exact same product for less. Like if someone was making liquid soap or a body gel with a BBW dupe and was undercutting the price without some added benefit, I could see that being a little more grey.
 

dibbles

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Just to clarify - I think (as I've said before) that what the person in the original post is doing is wrong. Period. I think my comments have been misunderstood. I do understand the differences, and making a different product using a dupe of a fragrance isn't the same thing as what this person is doing.

I like Bramble Berry and use many of their FOs.

Most of the fragrances from BBW don't appeal to me - it was just an example of duping a fragrance that other companies have invested R&D dollars in and selling it. Which I think just about every FO vendor does. I do like the Lush dupes and use them frequently, which should say that don't have a problem with buying and using FO dupes.

I also think that there are fragrance vendors/manufacturers who send samples of FOs they have duped or created to the suppliers we use. Or the suppliers we use order these FOs from these manufacturers. They aren't necessarily all creating their own fragrances in house with a staff trained to do this.

The quality of the product wasn't the point. L'Occitane, for example, makes nice products and their fragrances are also duped. I understand the differences and agree with the points that have been made.
 

rdc1978

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Just to clarify - I think (as I've said before) that what the person in the original post is doing is wrong. Period. I think my comments have been misunderstood. I do understand the differences, and making a different product using a dupe of a fragrance isn't the same thing as what this person is doing.

I like Bramble Berry and use many of their FOs.

Most of the fragrances from BBW don't appeal to me - it was just an example of duping a fragrance that other companies have invested R&D dollars in and selling it. Which I think just about every FO vendor does. I do like the Lush dupes and use them frequently, which should say that don't have a problem with buying and using FO dupes.

I also think that there are fragrance vendors/manufacturers who send samples of FOs they have duped or created to the suppliers we use. Or the suppliers we use order these FOs from these manufacturers. They aren't necessarily all creating their own fragrances in house with a staff trained to do this.

The quality of the product wasn't the point. L'Occitane, for example, makes nice products and their fragrances are also duped. I understand the differences and agree with the points that have been made.
I think I understand. I guess for me would be whether I'm unfairly taking money out of someones pocket. I think thats why I think more about the type of product being sold. Like if I made a bath gelee out of a BBW F/O dupe and sold it at a price that undercut BBW bath gelee, that would feel a little weird.

LOL, until this discussion I never even thought about how f/o came about. Your explanation on the f/o creation is pretty eye opening. To me, developing a f/o seems like such an arduous process, but there are so many available.
 

cerelife

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Just another thought:
My business is very small. But before I decided to create a business I worked hard and had a lot of trial and error in the process of creating what I felt were high quality, top-notch products that I would want to use myself. Then I put a lot of time and thought into my branding and what I wanted people to think of when they saw or heard my company name. After that came my packaging, website, and displays to carry out my ideas and I created a business that makes me happy and proud.
A few years ago, a professor from one of the local colleges kept visiting my tent at a weekly market I used to attend. He came every week and bought a few items each time. After a few months he told me he taught business marketing classes and would like to take pictures of my tent, signage, and products in order to show his students what good branding looks like. I was over the moon and let him take all the pics he wanted! I mean, how flattering that I was doing something so right that it caught the notice of someone who actually teaches people HOW to do this, right??
So this guy uses all those pictures to replicate my products for his own business. Same product line, same packaging, even the same freaking font and words/spacing!!! The only thing he changed was his business name and logo and EVEN those were only slightly altered from my own!!
The only way I found out about this was because several of my regular customers bought some of his products from the local spas he was peddling them to because they thought it was my stuff and started calling me to say they weren't happy with my changes. When I told them I didn't sell at those locations they looked a little closer and saw that these weren't my products. I was furious, but what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What he did wasn't illegal, but it was certainly unethical. Thankfully Karma bit him on his behind because a few of my customers took issue with his tactics and complained to the stores where he was selling his products. None of them carry his products anymore,
I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that he bragged on his website that his extensive background in business and marketing led him to create a unique luxury line of soap and skin-care products that are akin to Tiffany jewelry - "It just makes you feel special. Everything from my luxury products to my signature packaging and gift bags are pure indulgence."
Yeah, that came directly from ME!! He wanted to know (for his students) what led me to create my packaging and labels, and why I spent the money and time to purchase and hand stamp my bags with my business name and logo. I told him: "It's like Tiffany, ya know? It's part of the whole experience and feeling of luxury. You never throw away a Tiffany bag, it's too cool. I want my customers to feel that way about my company." What a snake.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. It doesn't feel good when someone else takes credit for your hard work and ideas.
 

rdc1978

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Just another thought:
My business is very small. But before I decided to create a business I worked hard and had a lot of trial and error in the process of creating what I felt were high quality, top-notch products that I would want to use myself. Then I put a lot of time and thought into my branding and what I wanted people to think of when they saw or heard my company name. After that came my packaging, website, and displays to carry out my ideas and I created a business that makes me happy and proud.
A few years ago, a professor from one of the local colleges kept visiting my tent at a weekly market I used to attend. He came every week and bought a few items each time. After a few months he told me he taught business marketing classes and would like to take pictures of my tent, signage, and products in order to show his students what good branding looks like. I was over the moon and let him take all the pics he wanted! I mean, how flattering that I was doing something so right that it caught the notice of someone who actually teaches people HOW to do this, right??
So this guy uses all those pictures to replicate my products for his own business. Same product line, same packaging, even the same freaking font and words/spacing!!! The only thing he changed was his business name and logo and EVEN those were only slightly altered from my own!!
The only way I found out about this was because several of my regular customers bought some of his products from the local spas he was peddling them to because they thought it was my stuff and started calling me to say they weren't happy with my changes. When I told them I didn't sell at those locations they looked a little closer and saw that these weren't my products. I was furious, but what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What he did wasn't illegal, but it was certainly unethical. Thankfully Karma bit him on his behind because a few of my customers took issue with his tactics and complained to the stores where he was selling his products. None of them carry his products anymore,
I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that he bragged on his website that his extensive background in business and marketing led him to create a unique luxury line of soap and skin-care products that are akin to Tiffany jewelry - "It just makes you feel special. Everything from my luxury products to my signature packaging and gift bags are pure indulgence."
Yeah, that came directly from ME!! He wanted to know (for his students) what led me to create my packaging and labels, and why I spent the money and time to purchase and hand stamp my bags with my business name and logo. I told him: "It's like Tiffany, ya know? It's part of the whole experience and feeling of luxury. You never throw away a Tiffany bag, it's too cool. I want my customers to feel that way about my company." What a snake.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. It doesn't feel good when someone else takes credit for your hard work and ideas.
What an awful thing to do!

Have you sought TM protection where it could apply? Thats just awful. What a jerk! Him, not you! LOL.
 

GemstonePony

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Just another thought:
My business is very small. But before I decided to create a business I worked hard and had a lot of trial and error in the process of creating what I felt were high quality, top-notch products that I would want to use myself. Then I put a lot of time and thought into my branding and what I wanted people to think of when they saw or heard my company name. After that came my packaging, website, and displays to carry out my ideas and I created a business that makes me happy and proud.
A few years ago, a professor from one of the local colleges kept visiting my tent at a weekly market I used to attend. He came every week and bought a few items each time. After a few months he told me he taught business marketing classes and would like to take pictures of my tent, signage, and products in order to show his students what good branding looks like. I was over the moon and let him take all the pics he wanted! I mean, how flattering that I was doing something so right that it caught the notice of someone who actually teaches people HOW to do this, right??
So this guy uses all those pictures to replicate my products for his own business. Same product line, same packaging, even the same freaking font and words/spacing!!! The only thing he changed was his business name and logo and EVEN those were only slightly altered from my own!!
The only way I found out about this was because several of my regular customers bought some of his products from the local spas he was peddling them to because they thought it was my stuff and started calling me to say they weren't happy with my changes. When I told them I didn't sell at those locations they looked a little closer and saw that these weren't my products. I was furious, but what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What he did wasn't illegal, but it was certainly unethical. Thankfully Karma bit him on his behind because a few of my customers took issue with his tactics and complained to the stores where he was selling his products. None of them carry his products anymore,
I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that he bragged on his website that his extensive background in business and marketing led him to create a unique luxury line of soap and skin-care products that are akin to Tiffany jewelry - "It just makes you feel special. Everything from my luxury products to my signature packaging and gift bags are pure indulgence."
Yeah, that came directly from ME!! He wanted to know (for his students) what led me to create my packaging and labels, and why I spent the money and time to purchase and hand stamp my bags with my business name and logo. I told him: "It's like Tiffany, ya know? It's part of the whole experience and feeling of luxury. You never throw away a Tiffany bag, it's too cool. I want my customers to feel that way about my company." What a snake.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. It doesn't feel good when someone else takes credit for your hard work and ideas.
That is so horrible! And to think he teaches other people, too!
 

Stephd31

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Just another thought:
My business is very small. But before I decided to create a business I worked hard and had a lot of trial and error in the process of creating what I felt were high quality, top-notch products that I would want to use myself. Then I put a lot of time and thought into my branding and what I wanted people to think of when they saw or heard my company name. After that came my packaging, website, and displays to carry out my ideas and I created a business that makes me happy and proud.
A few years ago, a professor from one of the local colleges kept visiting my tent at a weekly market I used to attend. He came every week and bought a few items each time. After a few months he told me he taught business marketing classes and would like to take pictures of my tent, signage, and products in order to show his students what good branding looks like. I was over the moon and let him take all the pics he wanted! I mean, how flattering that I was doing something so right that it caught the notice of someone who actually teaches people HOW to do this, right??
So this guy uses all those pictures to replicate my products for his own business. Same product line, same packaging, even the same freaking font and words/spacing!!! The only thing he changed was his business name and logo and EVEN those were only slightly altered from my own!!
The only way I found out about this was because several of my regular customers bought some of his products from the local spas he was peddling them to because they thought it was my stuff and started calling me to say they weren't happy with my changes. When I told them I didn't sell at those locations they looked a little closer and saw that these weren't my products. I was furious, but what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What he did wasn't illegal, but it was certainly unethical. Thankfully Karma bit him on his behind because a few of my customers took issue with his tactics and complained to the stores where he was selling his products. None of them carry his products anymore,
I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that he bragged on his website that his extensive background in business and marketing led him to create a unique luxury line of soap and skin-care products that are akin to Tiffany jewelry - "It just makes you feel special. Everything from my luxury products to my signature packaging and gift bags are pure indulgence."
Yeah, that came directly from ME!! He wanted to know (for his students) what led me to create my packaging and labels, and why I spent the money and time to purchase and hand stamp my bags with my business name and logo. I told him: "It's like Tiffany, ya know? It's part of the whole experience and feeling of luxury. You never throw away a Tiffany bag, it's too cool. I want my customers to feel that way about my company." What a snake.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. It doesn't feel good when someone else takes credit for your hard work and ideas.
Wow, that is extremely unethical. You should definitely look into trademarking if you haven't already. I don't know much about it personally, but I know the Indie Business Network has a class (possibly free for members) on trademarking. Your story makes me wonder if the guy was even a professor at all.
 

Cheeky Goat

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I think it’s a little icky to me as AnnMarie is a soap maker, and started as a small biz owner making soap herself. So buying FO to duplicate feels slimy.

I’m less bothered by the BBW or Lush dupes, as they aren’t selling the oil, and as others have noted, folks react to their products. It’s a good ethics question though.
 

Zany_in_CO

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@cerelife "What a snake." :hairpulling: All I can say is, "It" happens! When it comes to retail sales, the good stuff gets copied and sold by reputable vendors.

Your story reminded me of something that happened to me recently. I got snookered at Costco when I picked up a box of my favorite Vita Coco Coconut Water. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it was a KIRKLAND brand. Shamefully similar packaging, same ingredients with one iota of difference. GAH :hairpulling:

Caveat emptor, (Latin: “let the buyer beware”), in the law of commercial transactions, principle that the buyer purchases at his own risk in the absence of an express warranty in the contract.

One could say the professor knew his business law... and took advantage of it. Tsk tsk.
 

Arimara

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One could say the professor knew his business law... and took advantage of it. Tsk tsk.
It sucks he didn't remember those ethics classes I'm sure he had to take if he was a professor. He messed himself up trying to undermine a longtime vendor of good reputation to make a quick buck. I just hope any newbies thinking they're good enough to sell sees this and gets a good lesson as to why building a good rapport with customers is important.
 

cerelife

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Thanks, y'all!
I'm normally one of the most laid-back people ever and it doesn't bother me when I find out someone attempted to copy something that I felt was original to me. I mean we are ALL constantly inspired by each other and that's a good thing, and usually it's flattering that someone liked an idea enough to copy it, right? But this guy went WAYYY too far.
And he definitely IS a professor!! When all this was going on I looked him up on the college website and there he was -the jerk.
One of my customers (who worked in admin at the same college - our market was only a block away) reported him for unethical behavior. I never found out if anything came of this, but I do know that he took down his website a few weeks later.
 

Arimara

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Thanks, y'all!
I'm normally one of the most laid-back people ever and it doesn't bother me when I find out someone attempted to copy something that I felt was original to me. I mean we are ALL constantly inspired by each other and that's a good thing, and usually it's flattering that someone liked an idea enough to copy it, right? But this guy went WAYYY too far.
And he definitely IS a professor!! When all this was going on I looked him up on the college website and there he was -the jerk.
One of my customers (who worked in admin at the same college - our market was only a block away) reported him for unethical behavior. I never found out if anything came of this, but I do know that he took down his website a few weeks later.
I would think he lost credibility at the least. It's deserved and I hope he's not a family man on top of that.
 

Vicki C

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Just another thought:
My business is very small. But before I decided to create a business I worked hard and had a lot of trial and error in the process of creating what I felt were high quality, top-notch products that I would want to use myself. Then I put a lot of time and thought into my branding and what I wanted people to think of when they saw or heard my company name. After that came my packaging, website, and displays to carry out my ideas and I created a business that makes me happy and proud.
A few years ago, a professor from one of the local colleges kept visiting my tent at a weekly market I used to attend. He came every week and bought a few items each time. After a few months he told me he taught business marketing classes and would like to take pictures of my tent, signage, and products in order to show his students what good branding looks like. I was over the moon and let him take all the pics he wanted! I mean, how flattering that I was doing something so right that it caught the notice of someone who actually teaches people HOW to do this, right??
So this guy uses all those pictures to replicate my products for his own business. Same product line, same packaging, even the same freaking font and words/spacing!!! The only thing he changed was his business name and logo and EVEN those were only slightly altered from my own!!
The only way I found out about this was because several of my regular customers bought some of his products from the local spas he was peddling them to because they thought it was my stuff and started calling me to say they weren't happy with my changes. When I told them I didn't sell at those locations they looked a little closer and saw that these weren't my products. I was furious, but what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What he did wasn't illegal, but it was certainly unethical. Thankfully Karma bit him on his behind because a few of my customers took issue with his tactics and complained to the stores where he was selling his products. None of them carry his products anymore,
I think one of the things that bothered me the most was that he bragged on his website that his extensive background in business and marketing led him to create a unique luxury line of soap and skin-care products that are akin to Tiffany jewelry - "It just makes you feel special. Everything from my luxury products to my signature packaging and gift bags are pure indulgence."
Yeah, that came directly from ME!! He wanted to know (for his students) what led me to create my packaging and labels, and why I spent the money and time to purchase and hand stamp my bags with my business name and logo. I told him: "It's like Tiffany, ya know? It's part of the whole experience and feeling of luxury. You never throw away a Tiffany bag, it's too cool. I want my customers to feel that way about my company." What a snake.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. It doesn't feel good when someone else takes credit for your hard work and ideas.
Was he really a professor? That just sound like a scammy line to let him take photos.
 

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