Needless to say, we are beyond disappointed to find a cheap knockoff of our Troika mirror on urbanoutfitters.com and in their storefronts. The quality of Urban Outfitters' Pyramid mirror is an insult to our original Troika that we’ve been crafting and fine tuning since early 2013. We find it hard to believe that the design and dimensions (including the ledge for keepsakes) is a coincidence.
Urban Outfitters is not only infringing upon our Troika mirror design, but their made-in-china knockoff is sabotaging small business and the local economy to which the Troika contributes. More on that later.
These public outcries against Urban Outfitters continue to happen time and time again. A quick Google search for “Urban Outfitters steals designs” returns over 300,000 results! Is Urban Outfitters scouring the pages of Etsy and trolling through trade shows to find new designs to steal? Probably not, but their overseas wholesalers most likely are. Both parties understand that these strategic infringements continue to occur and yet they don’t appear to be doing anything about it.
They claim to support independent designers and some even make a point to carve out a corner in their stores to feature a selection of locally made products. One can’t help but wonder if this is just a marketing ploy to soften the blow of the negative press they’ve received. If they really were trying to champion support for designers and makers, wouldn’t these blatant infringements cease?
I don’t mean to discount the maker movement being featured in big box retail stores. In fact, we’re currently participating in one and it’s been a great experience for us. However, it shouldn’t be treated as the ultimate solution to a larger systemic problem.
When we begin working on a new concept, we start with some research to ensure that our idea hasn’t already been realized by another designer. After searching online, there have been occasions where we find a product that is too similar to what we were envisioning. Naturally there’s an “aw shucks” moment, but inevitably it challenges us to push our design even farther which is a welcome part of the process.
So why can’t big box retailers adopt some of this same due diligence? Retailers, specifically ones that have been consistently accused of design infringement, should be proactively researching the market before they carry new products from overseas wholesalers. We're simply asking Urban Outfitters for "proactive authentication" to eliminate the undermining of independent designers and makers.
Until then, the most any of us can hope for is that the accused big box retailer will agree to pull the counterfeit product from their shelves, assuming we all make enough noise. We have our voice and more importantly your voice. How many infringements will it take before our voices become more powerful than their profit margin?
If you’ve made it this far, then we sincerely thank you for your time. Whether you’re a customer, colleague, friend, fellow maker, family member or simply consider yourself to be a conscious consumer, we ask that you show a deeper, more impactful show of support and help us fight against infringement by participating in this important conversation.
We need you to bolster our voice so it doesn’t potentially fall on deaf ears. We’ve provided some social friendly images, hashtags and links for you to share as you see fit.
SPREAD THE WORD
Hashtags: #savethetroika#fightinfringement #troikamirror #urbanoutfitters
Please tag us (@wearemfeo) in your posts so we can see all your support.
Also tag @urbanoutfitters if you'd really like to help us get their attention.
We’ll be posting additional blogs in the coming days, including a post on all the local businesses that help us make our Troika mirror. We think it’s important to share the negative trickle-down effect on our local economy when our work is stolen from us.
Thanks for your support.
Aaron & Claire
Co-founders | M.F.E.O.®
We're so happy to announce that Urban Outfitters pulled their Troika counterfeit from their website shortly after we shared our story, Had it only been our post, they would have not likely responded. But because many of you choose to share our story, the volume was to loud for Urban Outfitters to ignore. Thank you so much for supporting our cause!