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    Target Paved Paradise and Then Stole My Shopping Cart

    June 28, 2011


    Edited to add: I sent this email to Target on Tuesday night, June 28. I will post a response if and when I receive one.

    Edited to add #2: Thank you SO much for your orders and your support. I’m going to give some of them to my closest retailer, Anna-Kate’s Closet in Arlington because she’s being hit hard by this as well. If you get your order in her packaging, don’t be surprised!

    Dear Target,

    How cute are these kids? They are both mine. As is the shirt on the left. And, I guess according to common law trademark or another business tort, possibly the saying on the right.

    On Saturday night I found out through a mom board on that a “my mom doesn’t want your advice” tee was being sold for infant girls in your stores. What a clever idea for baby tee! At least that’s what we all thought when my friend Sky came up with the idea when I crowdsourced my pregnancy and kids line for Baby Brewing in 2007 in my large blogging community (back before crowdsourcing was trendy). I debuted MY “My mom doesn’t want your advice” onesie on my indie mompreneur site in January 2008. I even went to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas in 2008 and 2009 and found twenty-five independent mom-and-pop retail shops who bought them to sell in their own stores. Target buyers were at ABC too, but I never had anyone self-identify as a Target buyer. I did have a few interested customers who raved about the tees but declined to give me a business card. I heard from my fellow mompreneurs that “the bigs sometimes do that.”

    Imagine my surprise when I drove to Target on Sunday and found the baby girl tee with my complete saying in the exact same font I use. Had you used a boring font (please, no more Curlz or Lucida Hand), I would have just spoken ill of you to all my friends. When you took the time to copy the fairly rare font I used, I felt the need to speak ill of you to the entire Internet. Chowderhead is not a free font nor is it included in any design software of which I am aware. I chose it because of the look and feel of it as well as my desire to have a unique look to my quality clothing for children. Not surprisingly, the other novelty tees you had for baby girls were the same old tired fonts that everyone else uses for novelty tees. Had you just lifted the hilarious saying and changed the font, only your buyer and I would know that you took it from me. I was torn because my initial thought was it was one lazy move but then I realized it would take some work to track down the font.

    So you took the look and the feel (emotional, certainly not quality) and you updated it with color, underlining to accentuate the SERIOUSNESS OF TONE (I believed that YOUR MOM DID NOT WANT MY ADVICE!!!) and some of the saddest print quality out of China. It’s nearly impossible to screw up screen printing but by golly, you guys gave it the old college try. My $20 onesie certainly cannot compete with your $4.50 one. Sure mine gives jobs to U.S. cotton farmers and workers, manufacturers, shippers and distributors, mom-and-pop shops and one of the hardest working mothers of three boys ages 2, 4 and 6 who screen prints ever single shirt herself on her manual press in the basement, but whatever.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that while there is no honor among thieves, I’m disappointed in you, Target. No one likes a dumb competitor. I would have at least expected an opponent who covers his tracks. Tsk, tsk.

    Kristen Hammond
    Baby Brewing Company
    Mommy Needs a Cocktail

    P.S. Don’t worry. When the storm hit on Twitter, I called off the boycott dogs. Why should the thousands of my community members be punished for your bad behavior? Heck, I don’t think I could ever give up my Target obsession. But just so you know, they would have done it for @mommy4cocktails. Because our online community? We stick together.

    To every single person who tweeted, retweeted, facebooked, bought my tees, emailed me to tell me to keep the faith (including industry insiders), called and asked how you could help or just kept me from heading over the ledge, thank you so much. To my DC Mom (Mafia), thanks for your empathy, advice, calls to trademark attorney friends and RT the hell out of this. You kept me going.

    If I could ask for one more thing from you, Internet, it would be to share this on Twitter or Facebook. I’d be grateful.

    Button courtesy of Johnny from Hero Dog Design.

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    1. amy @teachmama says:

      This whole thing makes me ill, Kristen. It really does. I TOTALLY heart Target, but this is just so crappy what they did–I so hate it. I’m so disappointed in them.

      And I would gladly boycott because I know how hard you work and how awesome your stuff it.


      June 29th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    2. Nicole says:

      Target posted this 10 hours ago: @Mommy4Cocktails Hi Kristen -We respect the intellectual property of others and continue to look into this issue. Thanks for your patience.

      Whether or not they actually do anything about it, who knows?

      June 29th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    3. Momof3 says:

      I’m sure it sucks, but is it just me or does the target version look a lot better? What’s sad is charging $20 for a onesie that you can barely read.

      June 29th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    4. Derk says:

      @Grey, you’re thinking Sears and Kmart. Macy’s and Target are completely unrelated. Also, Nautica is not a Macy’s private label brand, so even if they were one company it still wouldn’t be legitimate. I’d hate for you to be my lawyer…

      June 30th, 2011 at 6:30 am

    5. Robin Plemmons says:

      Hi Kristen! First, I’m really sorry.

      Second, I am pissed that shit like this happens all the time. I’m an artist & am bracing myself for the inevitable douche canoe copier who has no sense of decency. I have friends whose designs have been blatantly ripped off by Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. But nobody ever did anything about it. Then again, they didn’t have lots of furious moms backing them up either. From what I understand, it’s typically started by ONE greedy person within that company who rationalizes the counterfeit goods. And then it just snowballs. It’s just so wrong & they know it. Live with integrity, people! And those who are witnessing shit like this happen around them, SPEAK UP & MAKE A STAND.

      June 30th, 2011 at 7:02 am

    6. Dawn says:

      this is SO morally reprehensible on Target’s part.
      I feel like tearing someone’s throat out … not only Target for being crappy, but some of the so-called legal arguments being set forth on the Jezebel blog (in comments) regarding this.
      I wonder if the nasty comments arent just sour grapes because they dont have the motivation o do something clever themselves.
      What is legal, as I learned in law school, isnt always moral.
      Good luck Kristen!

      June 30th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    7. NotJustAnotherJennifer says:

      I just saw this today, and let the designer know of your plight. It sucks that you are in similar situations:

      June 30th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    8. Megan (Best of Fates) says:

      Wow – I just came over through Late Enough and I can’t believe Target stole from you! That is SO upsetting. I really, really hope they do the right thing, though at this point I don’t even know what that would be!

      June 30th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    9. Melissa @ married my sugar daddy says:

      THIS IS BULLSHI%$@T … what is your recourse? How could they get away with this? How can WE let them?

      June 30th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    10. RamblingsOfAStayAtHomeMom says:

      I am behind you 110%!!

      BTW for those who think one can not trademark a word or phrase…then go and try to tell that to George Lucas, who has the rights to the word “Droid!”

      And Mary…apparently you did not read what I wrote you before assuming.

      June 30th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    11. Michelle S says:

      Positively unbelievable! I just happened to stumble upon this blog and as a graphic artist, I am appalled at this. The fact that they even took the time to copy the font makes is just arrogant. I would imagine that they did not even take the time to hunt down the actual font, all they needed to do was snap a pic of your design, pull it into Adobe Illustrator, do a live trace and done! I believe that many large companies hire contract designers so Target may be just as much a victim as you are. I’m anxious to hear the outcome of this Kristen! Your letter to them was incredibly well written!

      June 30th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    12. sister/wife says:

      um- I saw this shirt (I think it was Circo brand?) years ago at target. I thought it was a kind of obnoxious sentiment then, as I do now.

      if you’re suggesting that Target is trying to pass off a knock off of your “original design” as an official MNAC item- Im sure you’re mistaken.

      most likely, while shopping at target, you saw this design, ( you do shop at target, correct? probably have for years?)
      and when you later went to print a tongue in cheek message on a snap suit (if we’re being fair, Gerber is the only maker/ seller of the “onesie”) your mind reprocessed the phrase, mistaking it for an original.

      I’d calm down about this while you do some research. really.

      July 1st, 2011 at 7:24 am

    13. Renee Schuls-Jacobson says:

      Holy Crimoly! Can they do that! Please keep us abreast of the situation. This is uber-uncool.

      How can I walk into a Target again. Until this is resolved.

      I mean if you had said Walmart, well, I would have expected that kind of behavior from the evil empire, but Target? Really? (*hangs head*)

      I also had a Target experience but very different. Lenore Skenazy posted it. If I can dig it up, maybe I’ll send it to you.

      July 1st, 2011 at 10:03 am

    14. Ted says:

      Reprehensible, for sure, but I have to say the design folks behind the target tee did improve on your line breaks. It has a much better pacing spaced out like that.

      July 1st, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    15. cjy says:

      I have to agree with the folks that are saying you are huffing and puffing about something that is not that original. It is a phrase on a T Shirt which is unregistered. Me thinks you are on the same track as the Etsy designer -vs- Urban Outfitters. She pitched a fit on social media and was able to drum up $60,000 worth of sales on her Etsy site.

      How’s that working out for you?

      July 2nd, 2011 at 9:17 am

    16. Karla T says:

      Wow, this sucks. I am thinking that this would be pretty easy to prove in court and to figure out damages.

      BTW, some of the people that commented are just plain mean. There are plenty of ways to communicate your thoughts without going for the jugular. Freedom of speech is one thing, acting like a jerk is another.

      July 7th, 2011 at 6:43 am

    17. Target Takes Blogger's Advice, Puts it on a Onesie says:

      […] Hammond was surprised and outraged when she discovered that Target was selling a onesie that is almost identical to a t-shirt that she makes and sells herself –  the onesie has the […]

      July 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    18. Time for a Productive Rant says:

      […] couldn’t applaud anyone more than Kristen at Mommy Needs a Cocktail who wrote a pretty compelling case against Target for stealing her shirt design. The blogging community quickly rallied around her and escalated the issue calling for a boycott of […]

      July 28th, 2011 at 5:03 am

    19. Daddy Scratches says:

      Just when I started to believe my anger issues were fairly well under control, I stumble across this and suddenly want to whip up some Molotov cocktails for a little Target practice! (Get it? TARGET practice? Bwaahahaaaha.)
      But seriously: That is BEYOND LAME. I hope you sue their asses back into the Stone Age.

      August 2nd, 2011 at 7:30 am

    20. Cranky Cat Studio says:

      I have run into this issue recently with a person on Etsy that I did not know and a group buy with a bunch of women that I know through my group. Seems CHINA stole every single one of her designs and is selling them wholesale on for $2.49 each. Less than I’m sure she can even buy the supplies to make them.
      There has a been a rash of this lately and that is how I found your post as I was researching some things. Not that I’m sticking up for corporate crap, but maybe target is a victim as well, because maybe China stole your design and Target’s buyers just happen to see it at the wholesale market and think it was cool. Maybe not. Just saying it’s an alternative.
      I have been told that all it takes is for you to send a pic of something you like to a manufacturer in China and they will make it for you and then start wholesaling it them selves. The MOST horrible part about this? They use the picture you sent them as “stock” photos. Most crafts people use their own kids as cheap and willing models… which means your child just became a stock photo for a Chinese manufacturer. Go look at AliExpress and tell me how many of the models you think are theirs and how many are stolen photos….
      I would love to find some way to fight this. Part of the problem is us as Americans demanding lower price goods. I was appalled at the way the women in my group did not give a crap about the fact that the designs were stolen from an independent boutique such as their own and bought stuff to resell. The original designer sells her product at $25-30. The wholesale cost of Made In China – $2.49
      Greedy women selling this item – $12-15

      The original designer looses out on future sales due to counterfeit items being sold cheaper. Greedy women make over $10 in profit with no work on thier own.

      Feel free to e-mail me and I will give you more details if you like. I have another blogger who also wishes to make a change. Perhaps if we all band together we can do something.

      August 31st, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    21. yeah says:

      But this IS the free market, my non-libertarian libertarian friend. You know, the one free of all that pesky government interference?

      Welcome to your brave new world!

      January 16th, 2012 at 7:18 am

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