Sydney’s Craft Club ‘heartbroken’ by Cotton On’s brand Typo ‘rip off’ cheaper product

A Sydney small business owner has been left reeling after claiming that Cotton On’s brand Typo had “ripped off” her product.

A small business owner has been left “heartbroken” after claiming a big Aussie brand “ripped off” a product she put hundreds of hours into creating, with the retailer selling it for a much cheaper price.

Nakisah Williams set up her brand Craft Club last year and in June launched her rug making kit, which she said received a “mind-blowing” response, selling thousands since it was released.

But the 26-year-old said she was shocked to discover that Typo, a stationary brand owned by Cotton On, had this week launched a rug making kit that she claimed is “near identical in product and packaging and incredibly similar in design”.

She said the form of crafting called latch hooking had been popular back in the 1970s but had died down until recently where she had seen it grow in popularity on TikTok and Instagram.

The Sydneysider claims Craft Club is the first modern brand to bring the crafting style back to life, after releasing the rug making kits in the middle of last year priced at $89.95.

But this week an Instagram follower alerted her to Typo’s new product with the brand’s kit priced $30 lower, selling for $59.99

“They had launched it with a reel on social media showing someone creating the rug kit and I felt very heartbroken because that so clearly looked like our product and with our really distinct brand and styling,” she told news.com.au.

At first she said she didn’t know what to do but then decided to make her heartbreak public on social media.

“I felt a little nervous bringing it up on as social media as it’s always been a really positive place and I wanted to create a community that was warm and uplifting, but a few hours after discovering it and people messaging me, I thought I have to acknowledge it,” she said.

“I wrote a short story post explaining what had happened and how I had noticed the incredible similarities between the design, style and even the box of packaging, and had never seen it anywhere else but Craft Club.

“I shared the TikTok reel and after that I noticed hundreds of people responding to me and responding to Typo saying it was not OK.”

It resulted in Typo turning off comments on social media and deleting the original post on Instagram in the following days, said Ms Williams.

Since then the brand has reached out to Ms Williams via a direct message on Instagram to enter discussions to resolve the issue, but she said the product is still being sold online.

“It’s still on the website and for $59 they are selling it for significantly cheaper to what we can mark our prices and with the cost of inflation its crazy to see a product that is so complicated for that much,” she explained.

“I’ve spent hundreds of hours on the product. Just to make the rug takes maybe 20 plus hours of my time – just to create the one sample and not to mention the testing of designs and samples – and changing sizes so it’s big enough for someone to love but small enough to make, as well as creating tutorials for customers.”

She said she’s “disappointed” and claims huge companies “take advantage” of small business who “don’t have power to stop them in any way”, adding other creators have reached out to share their horror copycat stories.

Ms Williams had pumped around $30,000 of her own savings into the business, she added.

“The story is (a) David versus Goliath situation – we’ve had so much growth in the last year and we are launching in the US and Canada next month as we’ve seen so much demand but it sucks to see a big company taking advantage,” she said.

“It sucks for female founders especially as Typo claim to be really into activism and to empower women, so that kind of hypocrisy sucks.”

Typo did not respond to news.com.au’s questions but on a post on Instagram said: “We’re a bunch of creatives that are working to make life anything but ordinary. We may have a big presence but we’re a small team that wants to have a positive impact on the world.

“Over the past few days we’ve been listening to the feedback from the @craft_club_co and out community. We have reached out to @craft_club_co directly to continue the conversation.”

A number of other female founders have recently complained about copycats.

Back in February, a Byron Bay business owner also expressed her “heartbreak” at Aldi, after the German grocery giant released a new range of picnic rugs that look almost identical to those offered by her lifestyle brand.

Sharnee Thorpe, who launched Wandering Folk in December 2015, said she was on the verge of tears when she noticed Aldi had “taken inspiration” from $190 best-selling printed picnic rugs – which feature hand drawn artworks of vintage-inspired florals – to create its own versions for just $49.99.

A bitter feud between rival vitamin companies JSHealth and Life Botanics has also ramped up after the two brands exchanged words over social media. Jessica Sepel, the founder of the $798 million company, once again accused Life Botanics of copying her brand in several story posts on Instagram.

Read related topics:sydney

.

Leave a Comment