Archive for February, 2019

An update to my open letter to the CEO of H&M

Since posting my open letter to the CEO of H&M on Monday evening I have been completely overwhelmed by the reception its received and the support that I have been shown. I have also been shocked to be told over and over again at how common an occurrence this is.

Pots 46

Earlier today I received this email from Camilla Henriksson, the Head of Marketing and Communications at H&M Home.

Letter

 

I am really happy to have heard from them. It was the response I was hoping for and more. I think I’ll leave it to  my reply describes best how I feel, 

“Dear Camilla,

Thank you for your reply and for going some way to answering the question in my letter. I can see that you recognised that it wasn’t written or sent lightly and that you have reacted accordingly in your apology and product recall. I can appreciate that this is a big undertaking and for this, I thank you.

I too use the world as inspiration when working on new ideas and I find this to be one of the greatest joys of doing what I get to do. And I also work hard on avoiding treading on anyone’s toes, I think we can both agree, it is a fine line to walk at times and a very well recognised and well-worn one too!

Issuing this letter openly has been an overwhelming experience, the show of support I have received has been extraordinary. But the number of similar stories shared by other small designers seeing their ideas seemingly stolen out from under them and feeling utterly hopeless and helpless to do anything and sadly fearful of the repercussions if they did, was totally unexpected.

It took me a lot of courage to do and I am glad my letter has shone a light on this.

To me the design world is a place where I can feel like we can all work together to try to make things better (in an aesthetic sense) and I hope moving forward we all can and look out for each other with this in mind as we do.

Yours sincerely,

Bridie Hall”

H & Ouch!

An open letter to the CEO of H&M                                                           

Dear Karl-Johan Persson,

It is deeply upsetting to learn that H&M have produced and are selling as its own, a product copied directly from my range of Alphabet Brush Pots.

 

HandOuch

 

I designed these in 2014 and have been making them in London with a small, skilled and dedicated staff since 2015. They have been very popular and sell into a number of the most prestigious interior, design and department stores in London and around the world. Something I have worked immensely hard on and am very proud of.

To see H&M producing a poorly watered-down version to pass of as its own design in the form of a candle votive (votive made in China, candle poured in Vietnam), is not only disappointing from the perspective of witnessing an enormous multi-national company yet again stealing a design from a tiny independent designer and profiting from it.  But it’s method of production also flies in the face of everything I work hard to promote and practice – locally assembled, handmade, sustainable, high quality.

It puts under threat the relationships I have built between my company and my stockists and compromises my reputation with my customers, who will recognise this design as mine and think that I had a part to play in its compromised design and method of mass production. 

As well as being (totally) unethical, by directly copying my design there is an obvious detrimental financial implication to my business as customers and the wider public will be purchasing your copy of my design instead of my original product. (Your company has completely diluted my product’s exclusivity.) The damaging effect upon our own sales may be lasting and is a cause of great stress for a small business like ours.

I have visited the H&M website and read your values and guidelines manifesto ‘The H&M Way’ which is aimed towards your staff, customers, suppliers, shareholders and business partners. Throughout this the words – quality, respect, openness, ethically, straightforwardness, honesty and responsibly, are repeatedly used and that you ‘continually encourage our suppliers and other business partners to do the same.’

I want to ask you; do you not feel that these values and guidelines should not also be extended towards the wider design community and the treatment of their intellectual property?

Yours faithfully,

Bridie Hall

Ancient Roman Urn Greeting Cards

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