Let me just start off by saying, I wanted to be the positive Made in the USA blog! Promoting and highlighting the best companies and products made in the USA. Which, I do… But what really fuels me, what really lights my fire, is calling out the knockoffs. The cheap imports, the job takers and design fakers. I didn’t intend to be the “Knockoff Police”. Yet, that’s what I’ve become. And I’m cool with that. Someone has got to say it, might as well be me. I’ve said it before, and unfortunately I have to say it again! STOP SUPPORTING KNOCKOFFS! – and – STOP MAKING KNOCKOFFS!
Just when I was starting to not hate Target again…
Last fall, I lifted my 6 month shopping ban from them knocking off Made in USA company, ModFire. Although ModFire never got paid by Target for their design, the knockoff product was discontinued. It was a small victory. – Since then, I stroll the aisles of Target’s home section, praying I don’t spot a knockoff by their house brand, Threshold. Because after all, Target is supposed to be better than that. They’re supposed to be the store that values good design. I want to love Target, I really do. – But smack! The Target Knockoff Fairy strikes again!
This time it’s aimed at another one of my favorite American made originals, Caravan Pacific. The copy absolutely pales in comparison to the original, as most copies usually do. But that’s not the point. The “look” of the lamp is strikingly similar. So much so, you know that someone brought the Caravan Pacific lamp to Target execs in charge of Threshold and said, “Make this.” It’s not a coincidence. Its not flattery. It’s a blatant copy, and Target needs to pay Shannon Guirl, of Caravan Pacific for the design. Period. – If Target wants to be known as the store that offers good design at reasonable prices, they need to respect designers and pay for it. Instead, they diminish the design, devalue the brand, and flood the marketplace with their crappy inferior copies.
Independent Designers struggle bringing a product to market. They work their asses off designing, prototyping, marketing and selling. They put out thousands of dollars to go to a trade show for product debuts. – This is where they can see if anyone responds and appreciates their hard work. Designers don’t know whether to be excited or scared when they see Target badges walking the show floor. – Are they going to stop in front of my booth and talk amongst themselves from the aisle? (bad sign?) Jot down a few notes and then walk on? (really bad sign?) Actually walk in to the booth and introduce themselves? (good sign?) The buyer then asks, “Can you send me a sample?” (bad sign? good sign?) Do you say Yes? (because, of course! – You want to work with Target!) Or say No? (are they just going to send your sample to China and knock you off?) It’s a risk that most designers are willing to take. Because after all; IT’S TARGET!! You can’t say NO to Target!
Target doesn’t allow theft in their stores. So why do they think it’s OK to steal designs? The Execs sit around a table discussing next seasons designs and say, “Fuck it. We’ll do what we want. We’re Target” It’s an arrogance. Big Box Store mentality. – Not this time. I say Fucket Target. I’m not going to allow this.
Too harsh? Do you need more reason to say Fucket? Target lists the product on their website as “Made in the USA or Imported.” – What the?! It’s either made in the USA or it’s not. Well, it’s not. It’s made in China. They list it as Made in the USA on their website for the search engines. Another way of them siphoning off from American made designers. Fucket Target.
What really irks me, is this happens to the nicest of designers. Brandon from ModFire, and Shannon from Caravan Pacific are seriously two of the most genuine, nicest people I’ve met. I asked Shannon what she thought about this copy? “It seems inevitable, unfortunately. I think my brand will be able to endure over time, it’s just one of the hurdles to being a small maker / manufacturer. I wonder how other designers feel about this?” says Guirl. – So, how DO you feel about this? You’re the consumer.
Just so I’m completely open here, I haven’t reached out to Target for a response to this particular infraction. I did Tweet them, with no response. If they want to respond to this, they can do so in the comments. – Like and Share, if you’re sick of this. Last Spring when Target knocked off ModFire, we flooded social media with #ShameonTarget. It’s time to get loud again. – (They only listen when we shout collectively.) Hashtag #FucketTarget. Are you a designer? Say #FucketTarget. Are you an independent retailer? Say #FucketTarget. Are you a supporter of original design? Say #FucketTarget. Are you somebody who just thinks this practice is wrong? Say #FucketTarget. We’ve got to put an end to this practice at some point. We’re not going to let Target steal from us! (or anyone else!)