Thursday, May 19, 2011

This is what you get when you mess with us

It may seem like we're doing a lot of fighting battles these days against big evil companies out to screw creative businesses of their livelihood and homes.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. But this time we won:

Dodgy rip-off teatowels recalled from the shelves

See this? See this huge pile of boxes of teatowels dramatically arranged at our front door? These were dropped off to us late last week. Recalled from all the shelves of one big, bad and terrible homewares chain who ripped us off.

After getting our lawyer (the very wonderful Sharon Givoni) onto the offending company they agreed to recall the product, but of course took no responsibility for ripping off the design. OH! no... it was the company in India who manufactured them! Who, when we approached them exclaimed:

"oh golly what a coincidence! We came up with this design our very selves! Please, see this power-point document of 'reference material' that we obviously just scraped together at the last minute as proof we didn't copy you!"

Pah! I really hope some designer, SOMEWHERE got into a LOT of trouble for ripping off our design and then sending it back as product to the hometown of the designer. Stupid.

So anyway, as you can see, we have a LOT of these dodgy teatowels to somehow get rid of. We absolutely refuse to sell them or put them back into circulation. Whilst being almost idential to my Birch print you can see where they've done a hack job of it and we don't want people associating this dodgy version with us.

So, we're asking you. What do you suggest we do with these 1000+ teatowels? What good use can they be put to, without damaging our image? We're definitely open to donating them, but who to? The person with the best suggestion will receive (you guessed it!) a bunch of teatowels! Personal use only of course ;)

xx Lara.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Rosie said...

Hi girls, Can you give them to a charity? A shelter (or 100)? A shame to waste them, but I agree that you don't want to be associated with product that is not up to scratch. My other suggestion is the sew them together into a hot air balloon and send it off around the globe.

Amy said...

Aren't the RSPCA and similar always looking for materials to use as bedding?

Or homeless shelters/soup kitchens?

Kim hard said...

Meals on Wheels would probably find good use for themin their kitchens.

Tali said...

what about a big crazy communal bonfire? we can roast spuds! ;)

but of course, charity might be nicer.

Penny (Pocket Carnival) said...

Crazytown! Oh well, win = good.

I'd try and donate to these guys: http://www.feedmelbourne.org.au/

One of my friends used to work with them, they're the guys that collect unused food from businesses, and they cook it into something nice to feed people. They're pretty good.

JoeyNomad said...

Absolutely bloody appalling. You could give them to Streat http://streat.com.au/ I'm sure they would love some free teatowels for their coffee carts!

Cindy said...

What about donations to Qld Flood appeal as bizarre as it sounds. Or old folks homes, I can just imagine the Nana's would love them! Kinder places are usually happy to take fabric for cutting and making of collages too.

Tanya said...

very dodgy, but hooray for your lawyer, that's brilliant work. As for the 1,000 tea towels. Hmmm. Is the fabric any good? Would you bother over dying them? Or, like others suggested, a charity ...or learn to sew classes (schools/ neighbourhood houses) to make bags ??

Meg said...

Cut them into strips and make a carpet... http://pinterest.com/pin/24399613/

That way you can walk all over those tea towels. Poetic justice!

Lien said...

What about shredding them and making them into rag rugs? You can sell those? The strips or kits to make your own rag rugs. Or bias binding. That way, your design has been obscured and you should try to recoup some of your lawyer fees!

Kelly Fiedler said...

Great news!!! So glad you got these cheap and nasty imitations recalled.
I like the idea of making them into bedding for the RSPCA. I'd be happy to sew some pet doona/quilts together and drop them off to the RSPCA in Brissie.
This way they'll keep some lovely animals warm thru winter and won't be out in the public eye where they'll tarnish your image.
Good work gals!!! :-)

Jennie said...

RSPCA (or Lort Street or any large animal hospital/shelter) for use as animal bedding is a brilliant idea. You can probably get rid of the lot in one go.

Anonymous said...

For me, the answer is obvious, sew them all togther into an enormous square-sail and use it on a pirate ship (if, by chance, you have a standing assosciation with a pirate ship, of course). The result will be a stern reminder and a great photo-opp regarding the consequesnce os....Intelectual Piracy!


Alex

Jacqui said...

I'd suggest a woman's refuge and maybe refugee centers? Or groups that help settle refugees, I know they are always looking for kitchen items. I know the teatowels are rip-offs but considering their ultimate source they can't fail to be nice :). Glad you had a good outcome - and a few boxes of teatowels to donate into the bargain!

Kristy said...

As soul satisfying and turning it i the the rug might be a really think donation is the go. Womens refuges are usually looking for useful, everyday items like that. But and of the charities already mention are likely to appreciate them.

Thea said...

I'm glad you found out about the rip-off. I was going to suggest some kind of shredding for painters' rags or something but I like the animal bedding idea. I DON'T need more tea-towels.

Bridgid said...

So glad to hear you had a win on this one - the cheek of some people!! Perhaps you could arrange to give them to a charity such as the Smith Family on the proviso that they are cut and sold as rags? Selling cleaning cloths to industry is an important revenue raiser for some charities.

gusseting said...

congrats on your win! i'm guessing that fareshare could use them:
http://www.fareshare.net.au/

Bec Clarke said...

OH MY GOODNESS, hooray for the forces of good, they won out over the baddies again.
Being so many you could split the donations up.
Is there some homeless shelter kitchens around your area and an animal shelter perhpas.

Deirdre said...

Glad to hear you had an outcome! What about donating to a High School textiles class. I'm a teacher and scrap fabric is always in demand. At least it would be going towards educating the next generation of handmade designers and, of course, a great issue to discuss with the students!!!

yardage girl said...

I reckon some nice little "care packages" from Ink and Spindle to a selection of worthy charities - for animals and humans in need to share the spoils of defeating people who suck! You guys rock. The force is strong with you!

Bianca said...

oh my gosh, do people really still think they can get away with it??? Great work to get your lawyer onto it and fighting the case... YAY FOR THE WIN!!! No-one can rip-off ink & spindle without being noticed. Bah bl**dy copycats...

Anonymous said...

Nice work woman.

Was thinking you could sew them into pillowcases and ship them to Africa or Japan via the Salvos, but you want the least number of people to have access to your design in dodgy format (though I do like the navy blue!). Go the dogs home idea, hopefully the puppies will leave a calling card on them.

Is it worth spoiling the fabric first with cheap dye so they can't be on-sold?

Stoner

Kate said...

Yay! So glad to hear you had a win!

Anonymous said...

How about St Mary's House of Welcome on Brunswick St, Fitzroy ... they feed the homeless breakfast and lunch and generate a fair bit of washing & drying up ... I'm sure they'd appreciate a donation

captain kk said...

how awful! awesome to hear you won though. i think giving them away to the various big charity soup kitchens seems about right. st kilda sacred heart is another amazing organisation. what about recruiting people to sew them together in to picnic blankets & give out to local scouts or something?? hmm.. it's quite the dilemma! or.. using them as base cloths to screen print over the top or on the back of for people to use in some screenprinting classes??

Anonymous said...

Maybe a kitchen restaurant for street kids. I'm sure they could do with any assistance possible.

Valerie said...

Weavers who weave with rags. That way they would be made into something useful, but the design would not be recognizable.

Cally said...

That is OUTRAGEOUS!! Well done girls for fighting it!

Re: What to do with them, I know that Ikea have sent a whole load of mattresses, pillows and other textiles to the temporary care facilities in Japan. I'm sure someone's having to do the washing up and would appreciate doing it with these stylish tea towels (certainly a bad rip off but still pretty :)

Becky O. said...

What about organizations that put together care packages for soldiers and soldiers families?
It would be a shame to shred them.... even though the sight of the plagiarized design must send you over the edge.

crookedlittlehouse said...

You've gotten some great ideas. I'd like to add making strips and knitting with them. I love how fabric looks knitted. Congratulations!

Tong said...

Wow, that's a lot of tea towels! You can donate them to a soup kitchen, women's shelters, or to a local quilt guild or volunteer groups that can stitch them up into tote bags or simple patchwork blankets for shelters/hospitals etc. Or donate them to schools or community centers with sewing programs and teach the kids to make simple bags or whatever out of them!

Anonymous said...

give them to a youth group to cut up and learn to sew with. they can make quilts or placemats and give them away.

amisha said...

i think sewing them together into super-simple quilts would be a good way to go-- you'd get a TON of quilts out of them! if there is a local group that makes charity quilts for kids/ hospitals/ etc i bet they would be happy to take them off your hands!

Caroline said...

I know others have probably already said this, but maybe to Woman's refuges, orphanages, old folks homes ?

Anonymous said...

I think the animal shelter would love to have them. When my dog die, I took his old towels and cloths that we used to clean him up after running in the mud and the people there were so thankful for the donation. I have a soft spot for animals. Good work ladies! Cheryl from the Great White North!

Anonymous said...

What about Geelong Hospital? Every year during AFL, the hospital is all deck out in blue and white (staff included!!!). I am sure patients/relatives/staffs would be very happy to see such cheerful designs around the ward/kitchen/tea rooms. It would sure be a bright welcome to the day to day whiteness surrounding them.

Malinda said...

Tsunami/flood relief - tons of people lots all of their possessions and the simplest things make a difference, like someone thinking to make sure your kitchen was in order :). I like the idea of charity quilts.

and I have to say, while the rip maybe dodgy, I LOVE the color they chose.

Peter said...

Good work girlies...and buckets of dog poo mixed with shame to the big company that ripped off your gorgeous design. I know some organizations who would LOVE to receive your teatowels and I could deliver them personally. Here goes..."Scarf" - a hospitality training program and restaurant to equip young migrant people with hospitality skills; "Many Rooms" - a service providing a weekly lunch for disadvantaged young people; "Streat" - a hospitality program for at-risk young people; "Kinfolk cafe" - a social enterprise cafe that funds projects in third eorld countries; "Charcoal Lane" - a hospitality training program for Indigenous young people; "Second Bite" - a service that collects leftover food from restaurants and donated it to disadvantaged people....I'm sure more orgs will come to mind!! I could easily organize the drop off if your gorgeous teatowels to these worthy recipients and i know they'd all be super-excited to receive your gorgeous teatowels :-) xxx

Peter said...

He he, the name attached to my blog post is Peter but it's actually Triney!!! Have no idea why it's tagging me as Peter!!

spiraling said...

I think you should find a group of community minded crafters to turn them into patchwork, sew them to doona covers and donate them to flood relief / earthquake relief / whomever needs relief, but screen print a tea towel sized patch that says something along the line of 'I&S were ripped off, but we're turning it into something positive, these are not original or organic linens, but etc, etc' that will be included on the top to inform people that they're not your printing.
That way, you'll still get a tax write off and people will still get comfort.

Hana said...

I second (or third?) the women's refuge idea.

Michelle said...
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Michelle said...

Do some overprinting before selling them for a charity or donating them. It might create some funky results.

melissa said...

I'm so glad they were recalled.

There are lots of good ideas here for reusing them.

Assumng you don't want to spend time sewing them or cutting them into other things then I bet a charity would love them to add to care packages for refugees.

Vintage Sew and So said...

Yay for you guys.
Haha to the baddies.

K├Ąthe said...

They seem like great quilting material? For students? Like instant fat quarters? But for students. Kids. In art education programs.

SanDiegoTexan said...

Zoos or the RSPCA - they can always use the cotton for bedding materials.

Jacque said...

Bonfire!

Kari said...

Hilarious and sad at the same time. I have some of your birch fabric. These towels definitely do not look as nice as your print but I would immediately see the similarity. Ship them back to the impoverished people in India. Then it could come full circle. Perhaps the Indian Red Cross will take them. If they don't take it they might recommend an organization that will. Have the company pay the shipping as part of the restitution.

habitual said...

Some great ideas here..... I don't have an inventive one, but a combo: why not shred them and braid them into small (say, 2'x3') rugs to be used at animal shelters for beds?

I think putting them to good use while obscuring their crude resemblance is key!

tractorgirl said...

I DO like the idea of using them as fabruc for people to hone their sewing skills on. Definitely, turn them into quilts, tote bags, and other useful stuff.
Yay to you for the win!

Satya said...
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Satya said...

sorry double post;
perhaps you can sell some of it outside aussie, like bali maybe

olivia said...

congratulations on the win! so pleased it went in your favour...and rightly so!!! hopefully they learnt their lesson and may you smile knowing that like all stolen creative ideas, they are never as beautiful as the original!
i would be more than happy to sew some together to make some blankets for the homeless or some womens shelters...only thing is that i am in sydney? (thinking i'd probably do 2 sides requiring 9 per side). i also just sent a whole heap of warm bedding to those in japanese evacuation centers. they need blankets! red cross may be able to help for this.
xx

kass said...

I'd bleach them or something first then donate them to ALL of the awesome charities mentioned, near and afar, with a note about what happened.

So glad you won one for the creatives!! Go girls!

Jenni said...

Well done - there are so many copies of wonderful designs out there - I am glad you won that battle.

To utilise them - I have three suggestions which are not unlike many others I am sure: my husband runs a community meal every week as well as giving people acces to food from a food bank - to add teatowels to each of the packages could be helpful.
I teach the children of many newly arrived refugee families who likewise would love a hand.
Finally, what about some of the amazing groups who worked with flood cleanup here in Victoria ( and all other flood affected areas too) to help clean now that the water has finally drained away from the areas near Swan Hill or just to help restock the kitchens of those who lost so much to the flood.
In the meantime, keep up your wonderful work. The real thing is so worth it!

Mandy said...

Oh, you should definitely sew them into a victory flag, and fly it outside Ink and Spindle headquarters :P Perhaps with a 'this could be you - if you rip us off' printed on the front. *evil grin*

Jenny said...

How about the soup kitchens around Australia - they would be greatful for the teatowels!

Congrats on winning this copyright case!

Silvia said...

I think you should sew a little badge on all of them saying: "Proud of our work, we'll never the big guys rip the world off. Ink & Spindle".

Then you can donate them to friends, charities or people that love your work (like me!) as a reminder of this fight very well won.

It'd be a nice reminder to stay on top of the game and never give up. Also the little business can win.

Stitchybritt said...

Hot diggety dog, well done ladies! A blatant copy. Karma comes around.

RuthiV said...

So glad you won your case.
I think donating to the Zoo or RSPCA is worthwhile, they always need rags and because they'd probably be used for quite dirty tasks not generally seen by the public, your image will remain intact.

I'm sure any sort of charity would gladly use them too and I was thinking that they might still need cloth for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill but to post would be very expensive...

Good luck!

Meander said...

Oh I wish you were in the US! There's a great place here called the scrap exchange (a non-profit that sells random stuff for artists to re-create into fabulous things and all the money goes to art and sustainability education) who just had their building condemned this week due to a storm over the weekend collapsing their roof. It would make their year and I'm sure the towels would be re-purposed in novel and creative ways. :( http://www.scrapexchange.org/

norma said...

goodonya girls..........i am part of a group of women who are partners of Vietnam Veteran's,we meet every week for cuppas and cake,the teatowels would be great to brighten up a bit of a male dominated area......

Jenny said...

Hmm, tea towels is a tricky one. If they were towels, I'd say an animal shelter, coz they always need towels and sheets and the like...

Yeah, meals on wheels, or fare share, or second bite. Or St Mary's House of Welcome on Brunswick St in Fitzroy? Or... what about the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, the prison for women?

Well done on your victory against the bad people!

MyLittleBlueDog said...

Congratulations on the 'win'. I normally donate towels to my local vet, they really need a lot of towels... maybe you could bleach them first just to disguise the pattern it certainly wouldn't effect their usefulness.

MegLovesMutts said...

My local animal shelter and animal therapy group are ALWAYS in need of towels for cleaning up dog drool & drying off the little critters. We always need some too for hospice care -- tea towels make great bibs for the patients who can't sit completely upright to eat!!!

Sooo glad you won that legal battle!!!

Anonymous said...

That's terrible. I'm suprised they returned the stock to you though, rather than telling you they would destroy it themselves.
You should post your story on this website,
http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/
and expose the company and help warm other designer/makers and gain some publicity for your own company!
donating would be good, to turn a bad situation into something positive, helping others. might also be a good idea to giveaway a teatowel to the first 100 people that like your facebook page etc, creating interest in your company? (or everyone who has commented on this post! please - would love a free teatowel :)
sketchbook29@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Give the Salvation Army a ring - they will even pick them up so you don't have to do anything to get rid of them.

Luisa said...

I am so mad for you - isn't business hard enough without this sh*t! Glad you found out, but i just wish the company could be named and shamed. Goodluck with finding the perfect and fitting solution, and for making lemonade from lemons!!

Candice said...

perhaps with the help of some volunteer sewers, 2 could be sewn together along the sides (not quite all the way up) and the top edge of each sewn over to create a casing, a little bit of pretty 'rope' (as in your nice soft piping style stuff, bonus is that it is really cheap) and taa daa a whole bunch of pretty, but very practical pillowcase style dresses that can be donated to an overseas orphanage or 6 for the little girls. These ophanages are often so poor.

Jodi said...

oooo yay for showing up big corporations!!!!
can I put my hand up for thirty??
I volunteered to make library bags for our kinder for book week and these would make awesome book bags - unisex too!!!!!
Well done on keeping the spirit of individual designers alive!
Jxx

Lou said...

can you re-print over the top of them ? some kind of creative protest,
Lou

lisabdidi said...

Hmm okkk what about donating them to the SPCA for bedding for the dogs and cats?

Lisa said...

Good on you for actually getting a lawyer involved and taking action. This is rife at the moment, and they're copying the design exactly! They don't even bother to change anything. Great to see you got a resolution.

apathetichousewife said...

I second community groups like new refugees who are setting up homes? A womens refuge? Or community arts? Recycling in some way is also appealling as it involves the fibre not being wasted. Would you consider a label or overprint so that whoever is on the receiving end knows it's story? Even something toungue in cheek "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"?

Anonymous said...

Sooo... who's the winner of this post?

Lyssy May said...

Disgusting but not suprising to see people trying to rip off fabulous designs. I say donate to the Von Trapps to make play clothes! Good on you for pursuing them.

Noga said...

Greetings from Israel! So good that you have won!!!! Justice does exist! I think that you can have some kind of a workshop, and give them to the participants to sew something using these fabrics. This way you may get something without connect it to your name?

Scoops said...

Its crazy how many designers/ companies think its ok to copy some one else's work.

Glue Store a few years ago saw some brooch designs (that I had trademarked) featured in Frankie Magazine and copied them exactly onto a new t shirt range under thier Nude Lucy label. After tracking down the managing director who laughed at me and said 'sue us I don't care'- it would have cost about $30 K to do so. Even though I had my lawyer email them with copyright infringement notice, Glue store continued to sell them in their stores across Australia. These designs were all trademarked under jewellery and clothing, however, as I didn't have the money to take them to court, there was nothing I could do to stop them.

It sounds like you were lucky to even get a hold of the teatowels.

Leanne said...

HI, how about donating them to the flood victims around brisbane or the maryborough/rocky regions. I know they are still taking donations and would proabaly appreciate it.
* Brisbane helping hands
* QC Flood updates
* Grantham floods
They can be found on facebook

manda said...

yay for you! dirty rotten scoundrels..,,.,oh my god i am so sick of all the d.r.s in this world. gotta focus on the shiny happy people i guess... i would give them to the rspca...these tea towels deserve to be pooped all over ;-)

Maria T said...

How about sewing lots of them together to make queen size and single size quilt covers to donate to Queensland flood victims. Bet it will brighten up their day as they get their lives back together OR just send them up for distribution via the council offices.

Juicy Roo said...

LOO PAPER!
And they should at the very very very least pay your legals.

bubbachenille said...

I am apalled ofcourse by this story and am so pleased you followed the whole thing through.
May I suggest cutting into strips, ( I'd suggest tearing the old fashioned way but the quality of the fabric is probably so poor they wouldn't tear very well ! ) and crocheting into rag rugs, they would look great. Very designer chic !

Sonja said...

Our local pony camp is on soon and unfortunately the only dishwasher is the parents (yes im one). As we dry the dishes (far too many to drip dry) we would put them to use. If you think this is to good for knock offs I can give them to the resident showies who would use them to remove the makeup from their horses after they have finished in the show ring. Let me know what you think, can send prepaid satchels ;)

Sonja said...

Our local pony camp is on soon and unfortunately the only dishwasher is the parents (yes im one). As we dry the dishes (far too many to drip dry) we would put them to use. If you think this is to good for knock offs I can give them to the resident showies who would use them to remove the makeup from their horses after they have finished in the show ring. Let me know what you think, can send prepaid satchels ;)

TashMac said...

HI Girls,

Congrats on the win, Hooray one for the little guys!

There have been some fantastic ideas suggested far too many for me to read, so I hope I'm not repeating an idea already suggested. I was thinking perhaps you could cut them up and make them into ribbon and bias. Adorning customers purchases and pressies.

Andrea said...

Send them to a charity somewhere far away from the capitalist first world...i.e some place where you wouldn't make money off your prints in the first place.

jhudleston77 said...

The nerve of some people. I think give them to a charity to make patch quilts for the flood victims as it is getting quite cool here. A beautiful design to brighten up someones day. Well done for stopping them from selling your gorgeous design. I can not imagine how you must have felt when you saw your hard work in such a way!

Anonymous said...

Tell us who's the winner? That's the minimum we deserve, with this comment no. 92.
Com'on!!

maria said...

overdye

and donate as functional towels to a worthy organization close to home

or sew + make into a big colourful yurt

what a waste -- too bad the co. responsible doesn't chip in $$$ to help prevent their responsibility (not yours, really) from going to landfill

memtree said...

congrats on winning the battle :)

FitzK said...

The tea towels should be given back to the earth. Compost them!

You should be able to find a large-scale composting facility close buy, somewhere! They would compost well!

Compost worms would love birch. I would offer mine for the task, but they would probably to a 100 years to eat them.

Karen

Stitching At Stone Cottage said...

what about giving them to community health in each state, so the teatowels can be given to each of their clients at a health check or dieabetes check...thereby encouraging the client to go home and use a kitchen.

Quilt covers said...
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