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The fashion world is no stranger to knock offs and counterfeits. For years brands like Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Nike have battled the whack-a-mole game of taking down counterfeits that infringe on their trademarks. The growing popularity of Aliexpress has made that more and more difficult. While Aliexpress has cracked down on obvious trademark infringement, there is a growing exploitation of the grey area of snatching designs and producing copycat products. Online boutiques are popping up left and right. Your Facebook Feed is full of ads for products that look legitimate, but are being shipped from China (this was a HUGE problem with Fake Fingerlings over the holidays). The images that they use are often the same as the original brand and they claim a big savings. The posts are heavily sponsored, widely shared and commented on. Now smaller, high end brands are falling victim to these copycats. What's even worse is that there are marketplace-type sites like Jane.com that feature the items as “deals” on their sites. While this post is about a particular popular Boden Unicorn Dress, the practice itself if becoming more widespread and threatening more brands than ever.
Why Buy Authentic Boden?
There are a number of different arguments for buying or not buying a knock off brand. Previously, it took several months or more for Boden‘s designs to be copied an distributed. Now, current season items are appearing almost as soon as the brand is loading their own releases. Personally, I buy Boden because I love the quality, originality in design and creativity of the brand. I will not buy copycats for the following reasons:
- You don't know the conditions under which the garment was made. Many brands, like Boden, abide by an Ethical Manufacturing Code. They pledge to pay fair wages, invest in communities and ensure that children are not exploited in the manufacturing of their products. You can review Boden's policy here. The knockoffs do not have transparent manufacturing processes. I personally would prefer that my children's clothes are not made by children.
- Wide availability of copycat designs stifles brand creativity. What incentive does any brand to invest in and staff a creative department if their designs are being stolen and duplicated in near real time?
- You don't even know what you are going to get. In the case I will show below, the seller is using Boden's stock photos to represent the product, but they aren't selling Boden product. All of the sellers use the same stock photos. Buyers have reported receiving a wide variety of designs, some of which look nothing like the stock photo.
- I can resell Boden when my kids have outgrown in Facebook groups like Mini Boden Resell and Boden Love. When I buy on sale and resell, the cost of owning is actually cheaper than shelling out $18 for a knock off (check out our post here on how to resell). Be sure to join our Facebook group Kidz Steals & Deals for deals on Boden and many other premium children's brands!
What to Watch for When Considering Buying Boden Knockoff Designs?
If stealing designs isn't bad enough, the sellers often tend to be disingenuous in their product offering.
- First, they often market their product as a deal. They show a false “retail” price and a large discount off of that price. As you can see below, this dress marketed on Jane.com is “marked down” to $14.99. What a steal! Not really. Turns out you could grab your own from this Aliexpress seller for about $8, including shipping! Less than half of what the seller on Jane is requesting (when you consider their $3.99 shipping charge). Heck, even the Firearm Knockoff on Amazon is only $14.99 (and has free returns if it's crappy). (Note: Firearm is using their own product images – a smaller, beadier-eyed version).
- Second, don't be fooled by the stock photos of the item. In this particular case, Boden's stock images are photoshopped and used by both Aliexpress Sellers and in the Jane listing. If you look at the model images at the top of the post, the unicorn in the knock off is much smaller scale and has weird beady eyes. Some version of that is what you should expect to receive.
What does Jane.com have to say about the use of inaccurate photos?
I did reach out to Jane regarding the item and images and received the response below. They allow their sellers to use lie flat images from the original designer, even when the original design is not what is for sale. Overall they feel the listing is fine because several sellers are selling this dress, not just Boden. Huh? The everyone else is doing it defense? Boden only sells their own original designs. All images shown on the Jane.com listing should be of the actual product, not the product they are copying.
Overall, I am extremely disappointed with Jane.com and their defense of the cheap Boden knockoffs. While I have shopped and featured their deals in the past, I will no longer shop the site or share their deals. After some more quick research, I found that MANY of the items offered are easily found on Aliexpress for a fraction of the price. So maybe you'll see more Ali deals from me.