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!
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 Cafemom.com 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 Babybrewing.com 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.
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.