Woolworths shamelessly copies local designer... Again

Nerfherder

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Apr 21, 2008
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#21
She lost nothing. As a small time business women she doesn't have all the expenseses of renting big stores and has now received plenty of free marketing. She is in a better position then what she was and should easily be able to sell her baby carrier for cheaper than woollies. A big store copying her design is a big win for her.
Its a PR disaster for Woolies. They hate this kind of thing, it will get ugly on Twitter and make them look evil.


Personally I hate that they would do something like this to a local business
 

Daruk

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#24
Personally I hate that they would do something like this to a local business
And the fact that it's not the first or even the second time they've done it. Not sure who's to blame here - some product scout who is claiming kudos from management without telling the full story?
 

rietrot

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#25
How could she possibly sell hers cheaper than woolworths?
It's a piece of fabric. You don't need special machinery or a Chinese child to manufacture it. Seems like hers was a rip-off in any case. Woollies is normally quite expensive and if they can still sell it for R450 it probably only cost R100 to make.
 

konfab

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#26
Pity that she does not have a patent, but it is a clear copy and ethically unfair. Clever social media campaign though. Woolworths are going to be under pressure to make it right. Wonder who assisted with social media campaign.
You can't really patent something like this.
 

konfab

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#28
It's a piece of fabric. You don't need special machinery or a Chinese child to manufacture it. Seems like hers was a rip-off in any case. Woollies is normally quite expensive and if they can still sell it for R450 it probably only cost R100 to make.
I don't think is is that, at least according to the blog post, she said she has spent quite a bit of time developing it to make it work well.

Honestly, this was a stupid thing for Woolworths to do. Their customers are rich enough to care about something like this and actually do something about it. All my kudos go to her for getting the social media mob in her favor.
 

konfab

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#29
Patents have to be highly specific. There is countless prior art in the field of baby carriers. Which means that she would need to patent a very specific part of it.

For example this:
There is no other baby carrier in the world with a waistband pattern like my Stage 1 and Stage 2 carriers. My Father and I designed them from scratch in 2015. It took us weeks just to get that waistband right, and it’s arguably part of the reason why our baby carriers are so loved by many, because they are very gentle on a Mother’s healing c-section scar, yet still supportive enough for her to carry her baby from the very early newborn days.
Could probably be patentable.
 

konfab

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#30
So, in answering C4Cat's post I did some digging...

Ergobaby:

https://ergobaby.com/


Ubuntu Baba



Then there is an interesting post from the creator of the Ubuntu Baba:

Every babywearing mama will have their favourite baby carrier. For me, it started with the stretchy wrap. When my little guy hit 7kg’s I felt like I needed a little more support, so I upgraded to an Ergobaby Performance carrier – unfortunately these are very difficult to find in South Africa. I was lucky enough to find my Ergobaby carrier secondhand on gumtree and for a few months Leo absolutely loved it.


I’ve tried so many different baby carriers and wraps since Leo was born, and there are certain things I enjoy from certain ones and certain things I don’t. My idea was to take everything I enjoyed and combine it into one perfect baby carrier, so these days we’re sporting our Ubuntu Baba hemp and organic cotton baby carrier, a true combination of everything we love.
http://babywearing.co.za/types-of-carriers/
Archive link
http://archive.ph/a3BhG
 

Foxhound5366

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#31
Interesting find konfab ... it does raise the thorny issue about at what stage competitor benchmarking becomes plagiarism. I had a university professor who always proclaimed that original thought was impossible, and said that all we're doing now is combining ideas that have come before in different ways.

I do think that the visual evidence of the direct copies from Woolworths are pretty damning, as is the fact that they had copies delivered to their Head Office (that's super cheeky). Good for them taking the product down: maybe it was just a junior product developer who they're hopefully disciplining in return for all this bad PR. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Woolies' CEO who sanctioned direct plagiarism, it could only be somebody lower down.
 

Daruk

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#32
It's a piece of fabric. You don't need special machinery or a Chinese child to manufacture it. Seems like hers was a rip-off in any case. Woollies is normally quite expensive and if they can still sell it for R450 it probably only cost R100 to make.
I'll send you R100 if you post your attempt. Seriously. I doubt you'll even cover your labour costs at R100. What are you paying your machinists? Just apply your mind and a little old school maths.
 

C4Cat

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#34
So basically ripped off other people's stuff.
Not wrong or unusual.
Improved it and made it her own! I've often said in the past that I thought the concept of intellectual property should be done away with, as everything is a rehash of things that have come before - especially in fields like design, art and music. If Woolworths had tried to make it their own in some way, to differentiate it or offer something a little different I would have no problem with it, but they literally copied it pretty much almost exactly, even down to the colours and the names of the items.
 

ArtyLoop

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#35
Lots of interesting opinions here.
Unfortunately how would you feel if your product is your bread and butter and you make it here, and then some greedy corporate comes along and has it cloned in China and sells it for a dime.

F**k Woolworths, there's a reason why I don't shop there.
 

3lOH55A

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Oct 15, 2008
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#36
Stage 1/2/3 are also used in car seats, so I don't see the issue there.

Ultimately, if you don't want your product to be copied, patent it. Don't think it's easy to patent something like this though. Doesn't it serve an utilitarian purpose, like a backpack?
 

Snyper564

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Joined
Oct 1, 2008
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2,218
#37
So basically ripped off other people's stuff.
Not wrong or unusual.
Interesting is it not

It All Began With A Simple Idea
Back in 2002, a mother living on Maui was not satisfied with the baby carrying options available to her. Looking to keep her new son close to her body, she tried several different carriers, some of which worked fairly well, but nothing that satisfied her needs for comfort and ergonomics. With a background in design, she set out to create something that was both comfortable and easy for parents to use. Beginning with a parent's love for her child and her desire to keep him close, the ergonomic, comfortable design of the Ergobaby Baby Carrier was born.
With that humble design, Karin Frost revolutionized how we carry babies. Her soft structured carrier (SSC) design has become the gold standard. Our carriers give you the freedom to enjoy life's big and small adventures, all while keeping baby close. Ergobaby Carriers are ergonomically designed to cradle your baby in a natural sitting position and to evenly distribute baby's weight between your hips and shoulders. Ergobaby Carriers are the ultimate in comfort and ergonomics, allowing you to carry your baby from those early days to toddler (12-45 lbs).*
With over 30 carriers in five different categories -- Original, Omni 360, All Position 360, Cool Air Mesh, and Adapt (no insert needed!), plus Swaddlers for newborns, Ergobaby is a leading, premium baby consumer products company that creates innovative solutions to meet the needs of today's parents.
Ergobaby is headquartered in Los Angeles and is sold in more than 700 retailers, in the United States and in over 50 countries internationally.
Love Carries On with Ergobaby

Types of Baby Carriers


Leo riding in his Ubuntu Baba hemp & organic cotton baby carrier
Every babywearing mama will have their favourite baby carrier. For me, it started with the stretchy wrap. When my little guy hit 7kg’s I felt like I needed a little more support, so I upgraded to an Ergobaby Performance carrier – unfortunately these are very difficult to find in South Africa. I was lucky enough to find my Ergobaby carrier secondhand on gumtree and for a few months Leo absolutely loved it.
However, as soon as the South African summer hit, things started to get a little sweaty in there with all the padding and I just couldn’t find the perfect baby carrier to suit our needs so I decided to design my own.
I’ve tried so many different baby carriers and wraps since Leo was born, and there are certain things I enjoy from certain ones and certain things I don’t. My idea was to take everything I enjoyed and combine it into one perfect baby carrier, so these days we’re sporting our Ubuntu Baba hemp and organic cotton baby carrier, a true combination of everything we love.
 

Lupus

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Joined
Apr 25, 2006
Messages
12,726
#38
In all honestly I'd have bought the one for R450, R1300+ is a bit much for a baby carrier.
 

Lupus

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Apr 25, 2006
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12,726
#40
People who pay R5000 for a kettle and toaster will pay R1300+
Yup but the fact that Woolies is charging R450, means I'd be like where does this chick get off selling the same product for R1300 :).
But then again I've seen what baby things cost and it's like wtf... 90% of the time you don't even use them anyway.
 
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