A few years ago in California, a professional cartoonist, a designer of golf putters, a surfer, and a self-professed geek got together and formed a company. No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke, it’s the very real story of four guys and one good idea — a story of grassroots entrepreneurship and the struggle of the little guy against the tides of global e-commerce.
These four Californians who couldn’t have been more different bonded together over the simple fact that they were all dads who shared a similar struggle when bathing their babies. They decided that together they would solve this problem, and they set to work developing a specialized pillow that could be inserted into a sink or tub that would hold their babies in place. They called it the Blooming Bath.
They then patented the product, trademarked it, passed it through all of the required materials and safety tests, and eventually took it to market. Almost immediately, sales and major design awards began rolling in, and, for a moment, it appeared as if these four random dads from California had it made:
“When you can take a problem and solve it, that feels great. And when you can take a problem and solve it for a lot of other people, that feels even better. But when you can take a problem and turn the answer into something that’s just so darn adorable – well, there’s just no topping that.”
Perhaps unfortunately, Chinese counterfeiters also found the Blooming Bath adorable — so darn adorable, in fact, that they decided to copy it and sell it themselves on Amazon and Ebay.
. . . .
Now, the original creators of the Blooming Bath are watching their earnings slip and their reputation get dismantled by forces that are beyond their control. Not only are they losing sales but recipients of inferior-quality fake Blooming Baths are often not aware that they received a counterfeit, and mistakenly conclude that the legitimate product is junk — and often letting the world know about it via word of mouth and reviews.
Link to the rest at Forbes
PG notes that counterfeit merchandise predated Amazon and Ebay by a very long time.
The first time he ever visited New York City, long before the Internet was anything, a street vendor offered to sell him a “Rolex” at a very low price.