Ouch! Asian sites knocking-off Black designer originals

@rachelstewartjewelry via Instagram
@rachelstewartjewelry via Instagram

After launching her small business, designing and hand-making a popular Black jewelry line. Designer Rachel Stewart claims that she may have to shut down due to the rampant plagiarism of her products by Asian e-commerce sites Alibaba and AliExpress.

In a recent interview with The Root.com, Stewart explains how the blatant rip-offs are affecting her business and forcing her to consider closing up shop.

Can you go into a few details about how you found your items on Alibaba and AliExpress?

I was alerted to it by someone else; I know that sites like these are a hotbed for knockoffs of everything you can imagine. They not only copied the exact design, but stole the product shots I personally took of the pieces and even the models.

How are the copycats affecting you?

The first five years were great. I made enough profit to remain a stay-at-home mom, but as my popularity increased, so did the the copycats. It went from once or twice a year to every week I’m getting emails about some Instagram boutique or event vendor selling my jewelry. So when someone sees my work for less than half my price, who do you think is gonna get paid? Whether the buyer knows it’s a knockoff or not, the fact is I make no money.

Do you think you’ll have to eventually close your online store?

I think I will. At the end of the day, I need to make money to support my family and if that’s not happening, I won’t let my pride stop me from doing what I need to do. I’m still an artist, still a creative, still a maker. That won’t change. Before we complain about the high prices of our local black businesses remember that nobody complains about the high prices of these French labels. People can help by holding indy designers up as the must-have items instead of already established fashion houses that really don’t want your business in the first place.

While Stewart mentioned that she is at a crossroads debating whether to continue her work in peace or to deal with this issue head on, we hope that her story resonates with consumers looking for cheap imitations of her products from sites like Alibaba and AliExpress.

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