Reusable straw manufacturer, FinalStraw’s CEO Emma Cohen is fighting with unique problem – fake, cheap products from competitors, mainly from China.
Starting off as an eco-friendly product, FinalStraw grew hastily after being crowd-funded on Kickstarter and gaining visibility on “Shark Tank,” the popular TV show. This rise prompted a few to manufacture their own reusable straws. Fake as they were, Cohen’s idea brought more disaster than help.
Amedio Ferraro is an intellectual property attorney who has come across such cases where a population indulges in replicating trending products. Certainly this isn’t a unique problem. This is not only tampering with their larger goal in mind of supplying eco-friendly products, but it is also affecting their profit margins, and with it, the business model.
FinalStraw raised $1.9 million on Kickstarter, however, the enthusiasm died down when duplicates of her product appeared in the market, just weeks after this momentous achievement.
Cohen shows little faith in US patents, and says that they are only strong enough as the enforcer. The company is being questioned by customers who accidentally bought the replica of FinalStraw, putting the company’s name in jeopardy.
The war with duplicate products was taken to the doorsteps of Alibaba, where some of these replicas were seen. The e-commerce platform assisted the company to eradicate these fake products from the platform. Other instances show ads of Cohen associated with a different company. Influencer marketers were seen being paid by companies to carry out such a racket.
Ads for fake products have also become an issue in the current market scenario. Joey Hickson, a social media populist has also commented on ads of this nature. The lack of regulations has resulted in such a disaster for the company, costing them millions to fight this crime.
Coming to a platform like Kickstarter to pitch an idea does not only require one to have a mind-boggling product but also a thorough and planned defense against duplicity, says Qin, a Chinese product designer commenting on the FinalStraw chronicle.