It’s time to open up.
Why we were quiet at first.
A chat these last days brought this all up again. We never spoke about it publicly. In the last few days, we reflect on why we never did it. We were afraid. Afraid that a huge company threatens us. hejhej-mats copied?
Getting into a legal fight with such a company, their money and their resources would mean the end for a small business like ours.
Our attorney told us to better not say anything at all. So we kept silent. This was the hardest thing because we felt so powerless and somehow forced of what we were allowed to say.
We felt the impulse to talk about all this so often and today we want to do so. We won’t say names, we will just tell you our experiences because we think it’s just crazy how often this happens – not only in the yoga industry but everywhere.
Let’s talk about it.
All of this happened about one year ago, but it also already happened before and after. We have been copied by an incredible huge brand and by small brands. Some people tried to copy our whole hejhej-mat, bought it, and sent it to a partner we work with with the question of how to produce such a yoga mat. We got several emails already with questions like:
we want to create a closed-loop yoga mat, how did you do it? Where do you produce? How could I find the suppliers?
When we respectfully wrote that we will not share our whole years of development and hard work, we got the answer that it’s all for the sake of sustainability. It’s so crazy to use the term sustainability as an excuse to copy ideas. It’s not sustainable to just copy a brand. We have developed a yoga mat that is closed-loop, the world does not need several same products. We don’t understand why people don‘t invest their time into creating new products when there is no sustainable option on the market yet?
This would be sustainable and what we need.
It was the idea of a closed-loop yoga mat that was copied, it was the design, it was the wording. And we can’t express words for the way we felt in those moments. We have put all – and we really mean all – the resources we had into creating a closed-loop yoga mat.
If someone just steals your ideas, it feels like the end of the world. Especially if this happens by huge brands with the craziest amount of money they can put into marketing. In these moments we felt so small and we really were afraid that our brand won’t make it.
We had existential fear.
Sustainability and transparency
What made us angry the most is the fact that so often customers got deluded. The copies can not compete with our products and all the sustainability criteria we use. Sometimes brands just used a really small percentage of recycling material – of course, you can only find this when reading the small letters on the product page. The sprinkled optic can mislead customers and brands create trust with only some short claims. When wanting to read more about the product, there was no further information to find.
How can it be that a company only writes a few words about a product and that’s it? We think that this is the worst and unfortunately this is the most common case: copying an idea with way lower sustainability criteria and little to no transparency.
We often got feedback from people we spoke to that we should try to see it as a compliment. But we actually can’t understand how you can see this as a compliment: it’s simply just stealing.
What you can do
Support the small and sustainable brands and if you see copied products, use your consumer power to make people aware of the copy. Write the brands that copy and help the brand that got copied to raise awareness. Because quite often the brand itself does not talk about it publicly because they are afraid of the power of huge companies – just like this was in our case.
Thank you so much, for taking the time of reading and for all your support!