Being Original

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST

I love Mommy Necklaces. Some might say I have a problem. But whatever…they’re cute, durable, colorful, and Lucy can play with them all she wants. So yay! And when you can get them 50% on Baby Half Off or Mamabargains, double yay!
So when I heard word on Facebook that someone had stolen the designs and was selling them as their own I had to check it out. The company in question will remain nameless (I’m not about to provide free traffic to their Facebook group…their website is currently down for maintenance, so they say). But even their business name was a rip-off of Mommy Necklaces. You can’t just change one word around and expect the public to believe it was completely original…at least, not when there are so many other things you’ve appeared to copy.
It seems obvious to me that they were able to source beads and breakaway clasps from the exact same supplier Mommy Necklaces use so that they could copy, more or less, the color schemes and designs of MN. They then undercut MN prices. It’s the usual modus operandi of knock-off producers. In this case they even used some of the same, exact product names (and many product names that varied by a single word). Heck, even their product photography (see screen cap below) seemed to be cribbing MN  photo style.
Then their Facebook Wall was flooded by angry MN fans, some of which got far too heated in my opinion. And the founder, owner, and designer for MN posted her thoughts on the whole thing. And I was touched by this woman’s passion for what she does. {Seriously, read her note and tell me you don’t have respect for a lady that works that hard.}
Today I was curious to see if the knock-off company had slunk off quietly (as I’ve seen such people do before). Their website is down for the moment. But their Facebook group is still active. Every single negative wall post has been deleted (even the ones that were respectful). And the following was posted:
theirresponse

{click to view larger}
Hmmm…I’ve got some problems with this (aside from the fact that I just don’t buy it because their products are so clearly similar).
1. Their supposed “inspiration pictures?” Yeah…all I had to do was google the product name (such as “meadow) and they almost all came up on the first page of results (see below). In the case of “mountain” the image was the very first result. The two images I didn’t see on the first page results of a Google image search I ran through TinEye (a photographic plagiarism checker) and got hits indicating these images have been kicking around on the internet for some time now. {click to view larger}
sunset meadow mist mountain tundra vineyard
2. Inspired by Canadian geographic regions? Lady…there are no tropical oceans in Canada. Just sayin’.
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3. This whole “Mommy Necklaces aren’t original” line is disingenuous. Yes, there are many other people selling nursing necklaces. I checked them out myself, before I got my first Mommy Necklace. But the designs don’t look anything like Mommy Necklaces. The purpose may be the same, but the style is not. And it is that unique style that led me to go with MN, and nobody else. In my opinion, MN style is the best. I’ll be wearing my Mommy Necklaces long after the need for a nursing necklace has passed.
4. As for wanting to provide a better option for Canadian moms…well, guess what, I live in Canada. And while there are many products I’ve had to pay exorbitant shipping/duty/etc. fees to acquire, Mommy Necklaces are not one of them. The only time I paid beaucoup bucks for shipping a Mommy Necklace was when I got it rushed. Today I did a dummy check-out on the MN website and, yup, still cheap shipping, even to Canada. It’s $4.00, whether I’m buying one necklace, three necklaces, or ten necklaces! Of course, this individual does claim she’s unfamiliar with MN, so maybe that’s why she’s totally unfamiliar with their shipping prices? I might buy that…if I, for a single minute, believed she was unfamiliar with MN and just happened to create nearly-identical necklaces by coincidence.

It’s clear to me this is not a case of coincidence. And it seems to me that it would be far better to quietly bow out rather than utilize further dishonesty to combat the well-earned criticism. Can I prove she didn’t come up with the same styles and ideas in a vacuum? No, of course not. But the onus is on her to prove otherwise as that scenario would be so very extraordinary. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” as Carl Sagan said. Slapping some random pictures off the ‘net onto your page and calling them your inspiration hardly lends any legitimacy to one’s claims. Frankly, I’m a little insulted that someone thinks I’m gullible enough to believe it.

So what’s my point? My point is that I think what this lady has done sucks and please do not buy knock-off Mommy Necklaces. When you buy a knock-off Mommy Necklace you’re allowing someone to rip-off a hard-working mom, just like you. You’re saying, with your money, that it’s OK to copy other people (a lesson we’d never teach our children). This isn’t some massive company using practically slave labor in another country to produce their goods. This isn’t some huge business that doesn’t have a very sincere love for their products and their clients. The Mommy Necklace ladies are very involved in their fan community. Their customer service is UNBELIEVABLY GOOD, and I say this from experience. This isn’t even a matter of a crafter making themselves a knock-off simply because they can’t afford the real thing, or want more control over the design (though, just FYI, MN does beautiful custom orders). This is someone making knock-offs intending to make a profit from someone else’s hard work.
And that is not, as the Mommy Necklaces tagline states, “jewelry, justified.”

UPDATE:
According to Mommy Necklaces, the IP address of the person from the Knock-off-which-must-not-be-named is an IP address they have logged in their site stats for quite some time now. In other words…this woman has been caught in her lie re: not being familiar with Mommy Necklaces.

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PS: This post is in no way sponsored, approved, or encouraged by Mommy Necklaces. I wrote it of my own volition because I just needed to get the rant out of my system (and I think my husband was tired of hearing me bitch about it).

19 Responses to Being Original

  • OH that’s messed up. So messed up. I recently made a nursing necklace for a friend but you know what? I envisioned it. I created it. Don’t go stealing other people’s designs, people!

  • well, I own 6 mommy necklaces with the matching earrings. and I made two nursing necklaces as well. that are in my own unique style. as a WAHM I take great offense in this story, it is so wrong to plagiarize. I’m sorry this person does not enough imagination to come up with their own ideas.

  • I havent been here in forever, forgot how awesome you are and lOve the new design.

    Anywho, I was also enraged when I saw this on FB. I have been a huge fan for 2 years and tell everyone I know about their awesomeness. Thanks for putting this out there. I would never support that company and hopefully other moms will stick to the team mommy necklaces!

  • Anonymous says:

    SO well said! BRAVOOOO!! MN’s put their blood sweat tears into each necklace and then fill it with love! that is why I want to wear them and only them! there is ONLY one MN and will always be only 1 MN..no matter how many people try to copy it…thank you for wonderful words !

  • smyke says:

    SOOOO well put…you hit the nail on the head several times! It always amazes me how ‘some people’ sleep at night after the way they have treated others. Karma (I hope) will be a bitch!

  • I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I feel really really really bad for MN right now… and on the other hand I really really really want to believe that this was an honest coincidence. But I’m not stupid. le sigh.

    I just found your blog now via MN’s recent facebook update. I swear on my ovaries (and those are still VERY important to me!) that I had never once come across your blog before this. I say this because my [very new] blog’s name is somewhat like yours, as is the whole theme of my blog. Though mine’s not nearly as cool. So I don’t condone copying other people’s work, and just wanted to point that out in case you felt ripped off.

    You have a wonderful blog full of great articles (I’m reading another one right now) and inspiring ideas. I only hope to be as good at it as you are. Keep on being great! <3

    Lady D

  • What a great post. You said this so well. I was disgusted when I read her note today. They are clearly a knockoff and not nearly as pretty. I would never, ever buy them!

  • Annie says:

    Oh my goodness! I love this, great job! I have sooo many necklaces….I haven’t even told my hubby how many :) I couldn’t believe this when I saw it on FB, this lady is crazy, just outright lying about it. I love mommy necklaces and I am proud to support such a local business (I live very close to them). Anyway, great job!

  • Wow! Ladies, thanks for all the comments and the love for MN! It’s so inspiring to see how devoted their fans are. I think that’s a real testament to their customer service and caring that their fans love them so dearly!

    Kim, someone needs to put “Team Mommy Necklaces” on a shirt! lol

    Lady D, no worries! One of my favorite bloggy friends is Domestic Debacle: http://www.domesticdebacle.com/ (I even did some digital illustration for her blog) It’s a common name theme because domestic life is a common experience for us “Mommy Bloggers!”

  • I agree. MN worked hard to market, design, and create their special unique, beautiful necklaces that allow us mommies (nursing or not) to wear jewelry that is safe around our little ones. I love giving these as gifts to my new mom friends and I think anyone who tries to ride the coattails of a hardworking mom and claim that she managed to come up with the exact same idea, using the exact same beads and color schemes and exact same clasp is trying too hard to cover up. Sure she’s allowed to, nothing legally wrong with what she did, but ethically it’s just plain ugly.

  • askedforit14 says:

    I’m an avid supporter of Mommy Necklaces too, giving many away as shower gifts. I had also looked up sevearl “Nursing Necklaces” before I settled on Mommy Necklaces. The others lookes so much like a prize from a 25c machine. I LOVE the feminine style of the Mommy Necklace. I love how it makes me feel pretty when I wake up feeling crappy. (And I’m not the first mommy to say that, glad I’m not the only feeling that way!) As long as the Mommy Necklace team is in business, I’m buying!

  • Anonymous says:

    You know what, yes i completely support MN and find her necklaces to be unbelievably amazing and the customer service and the “family feel” to everyone that buys her product to be equally amazing. This is also a business. Everyone that left insulting responses on the opposing product were being childish and completely disrespectful. It is the job of the company owners to discuss this matter. Do we bang down the doors of a pizza shop or gas station that builds on the same street as another. grow up! Do they have a patent on the idea? either way its the business owners issue. It is not our job to be the street gang banging down doors. I do appreciate you giving awareness to the subject and covering all available information so thank you.

  • Trish J says:

    I’ve been a fan for MN for a while and just recently began my purchasing frenzy. I was appalled by the copy-cat; not just at her blatant rip-off, but at her stubborn insistence that she’d done nothing wrong. It was so insulting. Maybe it’s the marketer in me, but I would never buy a product from someone who had so little respect for my intelligence.

  • Melanie says:

    Well, I totally agree with you. Since the time I have learned about Mommy necklaces, I have been a fan of Raelynn and her passion for what she does. Without her knowing she is a model to other moms. I really admire her going after her dream of having a family and creating beautiful jewelry with passion. Sure, some people will buy from the other company but what can you do! MN has enough loyal fans thanks to Raelynn(and her beading goddesses) and her implication with her fans through her Facebook fan page that she will not be on the losing end of this ordeal. :)I LOVE MOMMY NECKLACES! :)

  • R says:

    Love the post – I’ve got almost 20 MN’s under my belt – er, around my neck… although not all at the same time (except for a couple times for pictures proving my addiction) ;) I think you did a great job – and I LOVE how many people showed their support for the MN Crew – we love these ladies!!

  • Sorry to hear this. At least the fans are demanding that the person give it up.

    We had friends that made custom tea and they sold an utensil that you put your tea into so it can seep. I forget the name of the item. Well, one of their customers bought one, figured out how to order them, made an order and began selling them on his site for a dollar less. My friends could not compete on price, so they shut their site down. They had awesome tea, so don’t ask me what I’d like to do to that person. Anyway, to add insult to injury this lovely human returned the item he ordered. Some people.

  • ugh, that’s awful!! Early on when I first started making bags, I was accused of not only stealing another designer’s designs, but copying her photographic technique. It was horrible, and I responded to her accusations with my defenses and took my stuff down so as not to make it appear as though I -was- copying her, though I wasn’t. I can’t even imagine the thought process of intentionally going out and ripping off another creator, and to go even further and LIE about it!? The mind boggles.

NO BULLY ZONE

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