Tegan Ingoe runs the online business Beach Bandit from Gisborne. She’s trying to make her mark and supply quality, original beach towels, yet keeps coming up against stumbling blocks in the murky world of intellectual property and design.
Soon after she launched Beach Bandit, Cotton On and Kmart released their lines of cheaper round towels, and her business took a hit.
“We’ve had to think about what are the best prices for the company,” she says.
Ingoe found a beautiful yellow designed round towel, and then Kmart released a similar line.
Yet the bigggest shock came in her dealings with her Chinese factory, who knew that she wanted her next design to be green palms.
The factory came back with a banana palm design. They sent the sample to Ingoe and she loved it, and began to take pre-orders.
Then she received an email from a company based in California, saying it was their design (and they had the original drawings for proof). The company threatened legal action if she didn’t remove the towels from her website.
“I was quite upset. I had done a search to ensure this print was not already available and came up with nothing,” she says.
The Chinese company admitted to Ingoe that they had made the towels for the company in California, but the design wasn’t 100 percent the same as they one they provided Ingoe.
Ingoe was forced to remove all pictures affiliated with the design, and all her pre-orders have been refunded or offered her true designs in exchange.
Now, Ingoe thinks she will move in to selling kids’ poncho towels, and is undecided about whether she will continue to deal with companies in China.
She has seen her towels on the Chinese website AliExpress, and doesn’t know how they get away with it.
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the beautiful “Banana Palm” roundie will no longer be available. Trying to establish a small business sux & just when you think you may be getting somewhere something jumps out to bite you. So here’s the deal….. I designed the first two roundies available through Beach Bandit. I then have a factory that makes them for me. This factory knew my next design was to be green palms, whilst in the design process they approached me with this amazing design (which I fell in love with). I did a search to ensure this print was not already available & came up with nothing. It was brought to my knowledge that there is in fact a company that sells the exact design towel. It was the company that approached me. Now I’m sure that this is very upsetting for this company to come across my IG website etc.. Because I know I would be. So if you are still reading this novel & are an avid follower of Beach Bandit I have removed all pictures affiliated with this design besides this one as it doesn’t show the whole product. I must put this behind me & move forward & focus on the next step for BB! All pre orders have either been refunded or offered our true designs in exchange. Apologies to all affected. ?????? #gutted