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Brand Poaching:​ Black Creatives and the Burden of Authenticity


Brand Poaching!  What it is and why it gets on my one last good nerve. Seriously though, it is often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That’s all well n’ good until someone totally rips your product or idea and fails to give you an ounce of credit. I have noticed this, particularly amongst black beauty brands and creatives.

Here recently, Sephora, Moschino, and Beauty Guru Jeremey Scott collaborated to produce a line of cosmetic items that look eerily similar to “The Crayon Case” a brand owned by Raynell Steward. A black-owned brand might I add.  My question is, why not reach out to collaborate with Raynell Steward?  The photo below from Diet Prada highlights (pun intended) the product similarities.

Brand, Poaching, Makeup, Beauty, Black, Owned, Brands
Photo: Diet_Prada

Add Suave to the list with the release of their new “natural hair” product line geared towards black women. The product looks similar to Shea Moisture a brand owned by Sundial which was 100% black-owned until its purchase by Unilever. Although co-founder Richelieu Dennis remains the CEO.   For years black women complained that there were not enough products that catered to their hair. So what happened, black women started creating their own products and did quite well financially.  

Read Black Women Are the Backbone of Brands

Photo: Suave

Now you have corporate brands creating products with cheap ingredients, passing them off as a comparable brand to what’s currently available and siphoning off established black brand customers in the process.  The sad part is that Suave is a Unilever brand as well!   If Suave was really intentional about making hair care products that catered to black women they would have been done it!

Those large corporations could not see our value then and they don’t now – they only see the money. Black-owned companies have a tendency to reinvest in their respective communities by providing jobs and other opportunities. This not always the case with large white-owned corporate brands.  

My hope is that black-owned brands will resist the urge to sell, but instead link up with other black brands and create a conglomerate. Whereby should they purchase smaller brands, ownership remains 100% black. 

Although? to be fair, white establishments aren’t the only ones guilty. Fashion Nova owned by  Iranian-American, Richard Saghian is notorious for knocking off smaller designers. 

Photo: Lipstick Alley

Huda Beauty were dragged for filth and rightfully so, after copying The Beauty Bakerie – another black-owned brand founded by Cashmere Nicole.  The Talko explains the backlash, “Beauty Bakerie is a lesser-known beauty brand that features cruelty-free cosmetic products and encourages men and women to feel empowered and beautiful. Users believe that the new Huda Easy Bake line and entire advertising campaign is very similar to launches from Beauty Bakerie, which is known for their Flour Setting Powder.”

Have you ever had someone copy your brand or idea?   What are your thoughts on the topic.

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