Aussie designer ‘heartbroken’ after Aldi release VERY similar rugs
Byron Bay local Sharnee Thorpe has taken to Instagram to share her heartbreak, claiming Aldi has taken inspiration from her small business and created their own version of her picnic rugs.
The owner of Wandering Folk shared that she felt she had received a "stab to the heart" when she realised her designs may have been copied.
"After seven years of blood sweat and tears this really does break my heart," Sharnee wrote. "Aldi has released a picnic rug that looks to be ‘Inspired by’ Wandering Folk. Sadly there is nothing we can do except educate everyone on always supporting creatives.
"Big retailers will always seek out boutique brands to follow and I just want to remind you all that the creatives behind brands work so hard to bring their idea to life and it really is like a stab to the heart when you see this happen."
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She continued: "We know we are not alone in this battle, we encourage you to share this video and remember to always #supportcreatives."
Sharnee then thanked her community for their support and showing how much they care for the brand.
The blankets that Aldi is selling were part of their Special Buys in December, with Sharnee's customers sending her photos to ensure she was made aware.
Aldi is selling the rugs for $49.99, while Wandering Folk's sell for $190 with Sharnee telling 7News she spent months sampling and testing the design.
Speaking with the publication she shared that her first instinct was to cry, but quickly hired a lawyer to contact Aldi.
"As soon as we were made aware of the catalogue, we engaged an intellectual property lawyer who sent a letter to Aldi on our behalf informing them that we thought there could be a possible breach of copyright and requesting they send us samples so we could assess them before they were released, but no surprise Aldi didn’t respond," she said.
In a statement supplied to Yahoo Lifestyle, an Aldi spokesperson said: "Boho inspired design is a trend that has been forecast in the textiles industry at large.
"We will investigate this allegation from this business, however we are confident that our product inspiration was derived from broad market trends. There are many different styles of boho-inspired picnic rugs available to consumers, our product was just one of them."
"The worst feeling in the world," one commenter wrote on Instagram. "So sorry to hear this. We know how hard it is to build a brand. The long days, the hard decisions and sacrifices. Sadly for a small brand to pursue through courts is so costly and takes years."
"Was so heartbroken for you when I saw these advertised! So sorry lovely," another said.
"I'm so sorry...this is just so frustrating and heartbreaking. Small business is so tough after the last 2 years," a third added.
Others described it as 'upsetting' and 'devastating' while another wrote, "The quality you deliver and the design is why we buy your beautiful rugs."
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