heartsandbows494

21 Jun

Hi There, I’ve never done this before so I hope I’m doing it right. There is a shop on Etsy called Hearts & Bows Bath & Body (http://www.etsy.com/shop/heartsandbows494). This girl has copied Flourish Bath & Body almost to a “T” (http://www.etsy.com/shop/flourishbathbody).

It started with packaging that just looked kinda similar. Her shop announcement/profile was pretty similar too, although that’s been changed. Then she stole the wording from Flourish’s listings for multi-packs of lip balm almost word for word. Her soap looks nearly identical to Flourish and she had soap samples listed that looked exactly like Flourish’s too. I can’t be certain of course but I’m pretty sure she’s aware of what she’s doing.

Flourish belongs to a soap forum that I’m also a member of. When a thread got started on our forum about Flourish having an “admirer” a few things started to change in Hearts & Bows shop. It was like she was reading the same forum and suddenly realized what she was doing was just wrong. But then she must’ve had a change of heart ’cause it got worse.

If you compare the shops side by side her product labels are now almost identical. She started out with just lip balm but now has Flourish’s entire line of products copied (well except for a few, which she states in her shop announcement are “coming soon”). Her photos are almost an exact copy, the only difference for the most part being that she lines her products up in the opposite direction. The font on her labels, the colors, the wording…it’s almost all nearly identical.

Flourish is one of the top B&B sellers on Etsy. She’s had a lot of exposure, seen a lot of treasuries and been on the FP quite a few times. She was also a featured seller. The owner (Brooke) has put a lot of hard work and dedication into getting to where she is. Now all of a sudden this little copycat comes along and it’s Hearts & Bows being plastered all over the FP, the treasuries, and in an Etsy Finds e-mail. She was even on Heartsy. I really think people are getting the two shops confused because the copy is nearly identical, especially now with the new labels and photos that were just posted in the last few days.

You can also see more product photos on her FB page. (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hearts-and-Bows-Bath-Body/153060104750262?sk=wall) Take note of the picture posted on 28MAY11 of lip balms in progress. Flourish has an almost identical picture on her own FB page. It’s also amazing that the product Flourish most recently commented on on her FB page was her saltwater soap, and the most recent product Hearts & Bows commented on on her own FB page was her own saltwater perfume. It goes on.

I normally like to give people the benefit of the doubt but seriously, unless they were born with the same brain I just don’t see how this could not be intentional. There was also a thread started about this on the Etsy forums, but of course it got closed by Admin (http://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/site-help/discuss/8559149/). Please could you maybe put this in the blog? I really think a lot of Flourish’s hard work is about to go down the drain because this other person has copied her so well that people seem to be confusing the two. Thanks for anything you can do.

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38 Responses to “heartsandbows494”

  1. megansbeadeddesigns June 21, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    From the thread it looks like Flourish is taking the right steps by talking to her lawyer and reading up on trade dress. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

    On the surface ti doesn’t appear as though anything actually illegal is occurring. The copycat shop is taking her own photos and making her own products, but the direct copying of the text may be a more concrete issue.

  2. Abi June 21, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    To be fair that design is not really original to Flourish. When I first saw her shop a few years ago I thought her lip balm design looked just like the brand Chap Stick: i literally thought to myself, no this girl did not copy Chap Stick’s branding!
    http://www.thezipstick.com/chapSick.gif compared to:

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62482063/vanilla-coconut-lip-balm

    I don’t see any similarities in their soaps besides both being melt and pour. One could argue that this soap:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/69853865/bubbly-champagne-shea-and-glycerine-soap

    Looks just like this one:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62647720/black-currant-and-fig-goats-milk-soap

    Layered melt and pour is nothing new, and not original to one person. How about the sugar scrub cubes:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/FlourishBathBody?section_id=6091655

    Also found by many other sellers:
    http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&q=sugar+cube+scrub&page=3

    Lots of sellers also use this type of packaging for their soaps:
    http://www.etsy.com/transaction/51227890

    For example:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetpetula?section_id=5283777

    The mold Flourish uses for her soap samples is a silicone mold that can be easily found and quite a few soapers use them for their soap samples as well.

    I am not trying to defend Heartsbows or whatever her name is, or trying to tear down Flourish. I just think there is a major lack or originality in the bath and body section. Everyone uses the same suppliers,same scents, same molds, same stamps. And if you are using clip art frames to design your labels don’t be surprised when someone else does the same thing. For example:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/orangethyme?ref=seller_info

    Same type of frame found on countless other lip balms. A lot of bath and body stores line their lip balms up like that. If someone wants their item to be original, or their logo to be original, they should have them custom designed, and make sure they are one of a kind. Many of the sellers are starting to blend together because their pictures and products look the same, whether intentional or not.

    I agree that their stores look very similar, but I can find other stores that look similar to them as well. There are very few unique bath and body companies on Etsy who use a particular branding of picture style that sets them apart from the rest.

  3. Fake June 21, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I’m sorry, but aside from Hearts and Bows old lip balm label and packaging I don’t see too many similarities. Flourish has a much more extensive product line and her soaps are quite different. Her listings are also different – listing the ingredients and a bit of the process, whereas Hearts and Bows does not. Most sellers on Etsy use the same lip balm tubes and roller tubes for perfume, so I’m at a loss to what is being copied here?

  4. Fake June 21, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Furthermore, Flourish claims her lip balms don’t melt in the heat and Hearts and Bows warns that hers will.

  5. Abi June 21, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Any lip balm will melt in the heat if it gets hot enough, unless it is made from beeswax alone.

  6. PIF June 21, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    H&B have new packaging and yeh, it looks better than Flourish’s now so good for H&B developing and growing. I don’t think either of them need to worry. They both seem to be doing well with their shops. There are only so many ways to make a lip balm look good in a picture…

  7. angryjeweler June 21, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    as someone who has bought flourish’s lip balms, i’ve never found any others on etsy that are quite like hers – nice & hard like pure beeswax – they don’t get soft & melty & don’t have glossy slippery feel like other handmade ones i’ve tried. i definitely am a huge fan of her balms. that said, it stinks that someone is copying her, but what are you going to do? there are copycats everywhere. no reason to get all stressed about it.

  8. JAC June 21, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Ahhh the life of retail business. This stuff happens all the time with major designers and retailers. Not a big deal…. With the labels, I would guess that they buy them from the same label maker.
    I am not sure about the descriptions, but I am not sure if there is much that one could do about that.

  9. jill June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    dang, wish I’d emailed while I was making my lip balms, I had my ideas, shade names, and descriptions ripped off constantly. Oh well, it all evens out in the end. Most of the big B&B sellers are using bases for everything, so if you like a balm or soap, etc. by a seller, look around at sites like Wholesale Supplies or Brambleberry, there are many many others, and you’ll see patterns in ingredient lists, bases are extremely cheap.

    (in case you might wonder, I didn’t use a base with my balms.)

  10. RSommers June 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    To be honest I wouldn’t worry too much if I was Flourish. She has a much larger and better looking shop and the items all look fantastic and much better then the other store. I would personally choose Flourish based off of what I’m seeing between the two. It’s true though, not much you can do about copycats. It’s just the way of business. Sucks but true.

  11. snowqueen June 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I remember two different forum call out threads about this, and I feel sorry for heartsandbows that a popular seller and her friends have targeted her like this. The first one was started either the day or a few days after heartsandbows’ Heartsy feature by Flourish herself. Klassy.

  12. jojo June 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    as someone who has bought flourish’s lip balms, i’ve never found any others on etsy that are quite like hers – nice & hard like pure beeswax – they don’t get soft & melty & don’t have glossy slippery feel like other handmade ones i’ve tried. i definitely am a huge fan of her balms>>>

    funny cause I hate lip balm that feels like chapstick, I like smooth, creamy, soft lip balm that feels like it softens and nourishes my skin not like I just rubbed off a layer of skin with a chunk of hard wax.

    thats great that you said this, now I know to buy from the other seller!

  13. Jamie June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I don’t see how this is a copycat at all….I have purchased from HeartandBows and her items are wonderful and she is very nice

  14. PIF June 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    H&B has a great new design for her packaging so this post about her is moot. She’s moved on. Perhaps others need to too?

  15. 2cents June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I’m not sure if Heartsan Bows is a copycat …perhaps, or perhaps there really isn’t much that can be original about lip balm. Let the product speak for itself. What I have issue with is that HeartsandBows’ store name is splashed across the top of this “call out” thread when there really isn’t any proof that she did anything wrong. This can be very damaging to her income potential. I just think that everyone should think it through and have ample proof before posting about a fellow business person.

    On another note it appears that the frames used on many of these labels are the exact same ones used by some of the logo designers….is the label maker a copy cat? Why would it be ok for the label maker to use and sell this image? I don’t see anything wrong with it, just an observation as to how silly some of this really is.

  16. kitten June 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    What Einstein thought posting this thread and submitting this to ECO was a good idea? What a bunch of unprofessional shrews. Are you stalking this poor shop, quoting what she writes on Facebook, trying to saboutage her Heartsy deal? Good Lord!

    http://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/site-help/discuss/8559149/

    In the thread KBShimmer says:

    “”It just sucks to see a great seller, a great brand, so taken advantage of, so ripped off. I swear that admin have even mistaken the too. I see this new shop in Etsy finds in placed where the original shop would have been.””

    I find the above statement pretty outrageous. You think this new shop (and they aren’t really new btw) was in the Finds where Flourish would have been? Really??

    If you think people are buying from heartsnbows, including her shop in treasuries and the Finds and it’s all a big mistake because everyone is confused and really wanted Flourish? You must be inhaling too much soap fumes.

    Oh and by the way, I have bought from you KBShimmer. Word of advice, instead of stalking heartsnbows, perhaps pay attention to your own shop. What you sent me was inferior. In all fairness you did address my issues immediately, but from our conversation it was obvious you knew it was inferior and still choose to send it.

    @ Abi, Flourish’s lip balm DOES look like Chapstick! :O

  17. kitten June 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    @ snowqueen
    I remember two different forum call out threads about this, and I feel sorry for heartsandbows that a popular seller and her friends have targeted her like this. The first one was started either the day or a few days after heartsandbows’ Heartsy feature by Flourish herself. Klassy.
    ______________________________________

    Agreed snowqueen. I think most people are rational and will see this for what it is and this call-out doesn’t affect heartandbows income potential like 2cents mentioned.

  18. ohmeohmy June 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    A bit of a ridiculous call out. I don’t see any similarities. Even if there were, so what? Those labels are used by plenty of sellers.

    I feel bad for hearts and bows. This is becoming as silly as the “tutu wars”.

  19. em June 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    I’m not really seeing the similarities, either. The labels are completely different, and the photos aren’t similar enough to notice. I didn’t really study the two that much, is it the scents that are the same? Flourish also has a much wider variety of items, as mentioned before. There’s a lot of creativity in the B&B section, but there’s also a lot of similarity. It can’t be said for sure whether or not she’s drawing a little too much inspiration, but I really don’t see any incriminating evidence. Sorry : /

    I have always admired Brooke’s shop though! If I could afford to spend $6 on a tube of lip balm I’d be all over it.

  20. adoringhag June 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    ah geez, save ECO for the blatant resellers.

  21. angryjeweler June 22, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    jojo – i’m one of those people constantly picking at and peeling my lips – nervous habit. hers is one that is smooth but doesn’t lick off easily & keeps me from messing with my lips. it’s definitely not chapstick – has a more luxurious feel. but yeah, it’s different & probably not for everyone.

  22. Sara Lombard June 22, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    Same items/pictures – both resellers!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SandysCharmingBeads
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/lisaloren

  23. cynicallyopenminded June 22, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Looks as if H&B is moving to different packaging. I didn’t see many similarities between their photos as well. When I initially saw Flourish’s packaging, I thought ‘Chapstick’, too, like a previous poster. to, this isn’t a real copycat. As for wording, that’s tough. They are describing the same type of listing. If I got pissed every time I saw someone with similar wording to me, then I’d be mad a lot and wasting energy.

  24. etsycallout June 22, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Another email I received:

    “I’m a major perfume oil addict, and I browse a lot on etsy for new perfume oils to try. Lately I noticed a few shops having the same look and feel as one another, but neither have in their profile or store info that they are connected. I’ve even asked right out but they denied it. They’re all “friends” with one another on Facebook…etc, and even have their store categories in the same order as one another. Same products even! Neither store has anything different from one another either! (balm, tints, lotion, soap and perfume..in exact order..pretty much)… Weird. It’s not a big deal, but why can’t they admit it if it’s true? Things that make you go hmmmmm Etsy rules states. ”You MUST disclose every shop name you’re connected to, to customers in your shops”

    I mean look at the pictures attached to see the similarities.The products labels, bottles and colorings are TOO familiar for them not to be some how related. And if it’s copycats why would they all be friends, kwim? LOL ”
    There 3 stores are
    http://www.etsy.com/people/FlourishBathBody

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/orangethyme?ref=pr_shop

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/heartsandbows
    Here’s what the balms look like (all 3) for comparsion

    and here’s the 3 stores perfumes

  25. Dee June 22, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I just checked flourish’s fanpage and orangethyme likes it, but I didn’t see heartsandbows. I might just not know how to find it. A lot of people ‘friend’ or ‘like’ everyone on facebook and most people don’t keep track of everyone that likes their fanpage so I don’t see that as sketchy.

    I’ve bought from both heartsandbows494 and flourish and I doubt they’re related. Aside from the packaging design, their products are COMPLETELY different. As someone brought up earlier, their lip balms feel different, and when having the product in your hand, you can see that the paper used to print the labels is completely different.

    With a shop as successful as Flourish, what purpose would there be to open two other accounts and give them similar packaging? It seems like a lot of work! If you believe they’re connected, you can always flag their shop and- if they are related- Etsy will send them a stern email. I got one before for not disclosing an old, deactivated account that belonged to my husband.

  26. megansbeadeddesigns June 22, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    it only natural that a new shop would look to the successful shop in their category for guidelines on who to make it on Etsy. Some seller stake it too far with their lack of creativity (descriptions, profile, etc) but other use them as simply that, GUIDELINES. I think this situation is more of the latter and being turned into something bigger than it really is.

  27. Anon June 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    I’ll stick to chapstick. you can buy it in bulk at the Costco!

  28. PIF June 23, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    I’m a sucker for stylish packaging and H&B gets the win vote from me. I may even go ahead and buy so the call out did her some good!

    No need to criticize ECO for this call out. I love reading about copycats and I think it should be part of the blog even if it turns out this way.

  29. SillySally June 23, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    This was submitted to ECO before H&B changed her packaging and descriptions. If you look through her sold items you can see where she was using packaging that was practically identical to Flourish:

    http://www.etsy.com/transaction/51383687

    http://www.etsy.com/transaction/52167030

    If every listing in her shop looked this way (and let me assure you, it did) you would see what the issue was. Anyone who clicked on her shop would’ve easily had it confused with Flourish. There’s nothing unusual about a new shop showing up in features and treasuries but one that identical to another very successful shop that previously was being featured in those same spots makes you wonder. Clearly H&B either got herself a conscience or got scared off by the “L” word when it was mentioned in the Etsy forums. Either way her new packaging looks nice and the issue is resolved. Thanks ECO!

    I’d also like to add that I find it hilariously hypocritical for someone to call out “a bunch of unprofessional shrews” and then publicly rip into KBShimmer. If you didn’t like how she resolved whatever issue you had with your order then could you not have communicated that with her privately? She either resolved it to your satisfaction or she didn’t. If she didn’t and you took no further action then that’s on you. Either way it has nothing to do with Hearts & Bows BLATANTLY copying Flourish and had no business being mentioned here.

  30. DirtyBetty June 23, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    There’s a big difference between finding one or two similar elements in a shop vs. copying everything from product, to labels, to photos, to text, etc. Big difference. What’s there now isn’t what was there a week or so ago.

  31. kitten June 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    @SillySally/KBShimmer

    The Rules according to KBShimmer

    OK for me to start a public thread on Etsy about Hearts & Bows possibly damaging her reputation and future earning potential.

    NOT OK for someone to mention the headache shopping experience they had in my shop.

    Ok, gotcha. Me thinks you aren’t quite sure what hypocritical means.

  32. kitten June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    @SillySally/DirtyBetty/KBShimmer

    I had already checked Hearts & Bows sold items. Still not seeing copying, blatant or otherwise.

    I think ChapStick might have an issue with Flourish though. lol

  33. Abi June 24, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    DirtyBetty June 23, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    There’s a big difference between finding one or two similar elements in a shop vs. copying everything from product, to labels, to photos, to text, etc. Big difference. What’s there now isn’t what was there a week or so ago.

    *****

    So maybe she did not realize her items looked similar to someone else’s and decided to avoid confusion she changed her entire look. I must say she took the upper hand here. And I dare say her stuff looks even better now.

    Perhaps we should alert Chapstick about Flourish’s own design stealing, the look of her lip balm can’t be a coincidence:

    http://www.chapstick.com/contact.aspx

    Complain about someone copying you, yet shining a spotlight on your own lack of design skills. Ironic isn’t it?

    Moving on….. It is ridiculous to say that someone mistook Hearts for Flourish when they were making treasuries. First, that implies that the treasury maker is too stupid to read a username. And second, it implies that Flourish is owed some type of entitlement to be in so many treasuries. Her stuff is nice but not superior to everyone else. There are a lot of bath and body companies who deserve to be in treasuries, yet we see the same recycled sellers in them time and time again. It gets boring. Kudos to the treasury makers for finding others to fill the spot.

    And goodness KBShimmer, talk about brown nosing. Its like she is Flourish’s own mini army. Man (or should I say woman) your own shop and stop worrying about what other folks are doing.

  34. Rainy June 24, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Yeah, I’m not so sure I see any issues here, either.

    Looks like H&B has some really nice products…will definitely add her to my faves and wish her well.

    I’m so into this site, and I really like the copycat posts here on ECO–some are really deserving of the call out–but not this one.

    Moving on…

  35. Danny July 14, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    This happened to an unfortunate seller on ebay. SHe was a phenomenal cat artist that did beautiful portraits on black paper. They sold like crazy. Unfortunately she soon got a “copy cat.” Every time she came up with a new innovative idea for her cats her copycat (who wasn’t even half as good an artist in my opinion) would do the same and buyers for some reason started getting confused. The copycat also worked faster and soon would fill up pages with similar looking cats so the original cat artist was soon lost. When a bunch of us called her out the copycat denied copying and started putting “The Original Black Cat Artist” in her listings. We banned her from all of the groups and a lot of us also blocked her buyers. Ebay did nothing of course.

    I think it is harder to be original when it comes to lip balm and while I saw some similarities I don’t think it is enough to cause confusion for most…just my opinion. I still don’t think people should have gotten confused with the cat artists either when the original was SOOOOO much better than the copycat.

  36. Flourish July 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I’m not sure who submitted this, but I want to say that while I appreciate that someone was upset on my behalf, I’m really not down with the calling out. I have discussed the issue with some in private, but I never wanted to publicly disparage this other shop regardless of the issues I may have had with them. I did make an ill-advised post about this on the Etsy forums quite awhile ago. While I did not name names or explicitly call out, it was neither mature nor professional to post about it and I regret doing so.

    Regarding the Chapstick logo- someone mentioned that to me recently, actually! While they are not identical, I can certainly see that there is a similarity in that they are both white script on a black rectangle. All I can say in my defense is that it’s been many many years since I’ve bought a tube of Chapstick, and when I designed my logo several years ago I wasn’t planning on offering lip balm! It wasn’t something I looked at when I was working on my design, so it is definitely a coincidence.

    For those who don’t think my products or packaging are original enough (logo aside!)- I’m a little sad to hear that, because originality and distinctiveness has always been one of my primary goals for my products. I do feel that my products stood out quite a bit in the Etsy marketplace when I opened shop in 2008. I know I researched the market pretty extensively when I was in the planning stages. I suppose I may have been on the bleeding edge of some trends in bath and body- or perhaps I just wasn’t as thorough as I thought I was.

    To the person who suggested that my shop and two others must be related in some way because we have a similar design aesthetic and offer some of the same type of products… I don’t really know what to say! I find the accusation to be pretty ludicrous. I’m not really sure what’s being suggested exactly, so perhaps they can clarify. Am I supposedly running three different shops in three different parts of the country, offering similar products to compete with… myself? For some reason? Or am I supposed to be a big corporation masquerading as multiple handcrafters? I don’t really understand.

    As for the original issue of copying- it’s been resolved, it was already resolved when this was posted, both parties involved have moved on, and there’s really nothing more that needs to be said. It’s a non-issue, as far as I’m concerned. Her new labels look very nice and I wish her the best of luck and continued success with her business.

  37. TCHTCH October 2, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    This is an age old argument but is rampant in this business. Do you think the grocery store chains threaten to sue because some other store looks the same? When you are all working with the exact same products there’s only so much originality. It’s not an original product – there is NOTHING original out there anymore. Get over it. It’s soap, not a cure for cancer.

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