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Saturday, December 8, 2007

I just noticed that Macy’s seems to have a knockoff of jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer‘s leaf necklace.

The original leaf necklace by Jennifer Meyer

I thought the Macy’s leaf (below) WAS the Meyer leaf at first, but I think I see subtle differences, plus the price is too low and it’s in 14K, not 18K.

Macy’s leaf

I met Jennifer briefly at a party and she was very sweet. She’s the daughter of Ron Meyer, the head of Universal Studios, as well as Tobey Maguire’s babymama-turned-wife. Her pieces are sold at Kaviar and Kind, the same L.A. store that sells my work.

One of my manufacturers and I like to speculate on which of my pieces will get knocked off first. We tell each other we’re not going to sweat it because we have a million other ideas and we will just move on. Or sue the bitch’s ass. One or the other. I pray I make some money on the piece first, though. It would be very depressing if I made no money but some Far East manufacturer took my idea and made tons of money.

Speaking of money, my horoscope yesterday said: “The big lessons of the day are patience and perseverance. Of course you’d rather be learning lessons like how to spend all the money that seems to fall down from the sky wherever you walk.” Thanks for rubbing it in, obnoxious astrologer person!

Well, I’m off to see if Ron Meyer will adopt me. Bye!

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34 Responses to “Great Minds Think Alike … About a Leaf”

  1. fashion evolution says:

    My guess for your first knock off is the skull ring. Oh and is it bad that I like the Macy knock-off version more?! Even though its f-ed up that they stole it.

  2. WendyB says:

    The Macy’s leaf definitely has a blingier look, so if you’re looking for diamonds you’d get more bang for your buck out of that one. Hers is more my style, where you’re deliberately toning down the diamonds by keeping a lot of metal around them. Also, I think the Macy’s version is rhodium plated where the diamonds are set (Rhodium is a precious white metal that is used to make white gold really white. Most white gold has a subtle yellow color underneath.) Diamonds always look brighter in white metal. I must say I find it offensive that they didn’t even bother to make the leaf straight or curve it in the other direction!

  3. junation says:

    Pretty blatant copy. I’m disappointed in Macys.

  4. KreativeMix says:

    Yours is fabulous!!

  5. coco says:

    i love the leaf design
    very cute

  6. Blue Floppy Hat says:

    I like the original version, though I’m not fond of yellow gold. I do wonder what Ms Meyer is going to do, though- I’d love her to sue the ass off Macy’s for copyright infringement.

  7. This Lady says:

    LOL. i thought the Macy’s version was the real one. It looks more “real”. But i prefer the chain on the first one.

    Why do they have to copy designs? Why?? Don’t ppl know how hard we work to do original concepts??

  8. Miss Woo says:

    Blah rip offs. The original is way nicer and more understated.

  9. Suze says:

    See if he’ll adopt me too would ya? He could get both me and you for the bargain price of…well I don’t know. Just tell him you’ll be the daughter that will cook and clean and I’ll be the lazy, rebellious one. Deal?

  10. Wendiva says:

    leaves are totally hot! i just bought a pair of earrings like that in tokyo. they’re one of my favs already! and ron better adopts ya!

    ~Wendiva
    http://wendiva.blogspot.com

  11. Aretha says:

    I love the necklace, so perfect and simple

  12. Suzanna Mars says:

    WB, thanks for this bit of jewelry plagiarism. As you know, you can’t go into Macy’s (or Top Shop or wherever) without running into the knock-offs.

    You do raise an interesting distinction, though, and one that I hadn’t thought about. I think in apparel the plagiarism is expected, sort of like the cost of doing business, with some rather nebulous and fluid guidelines, unspoken, of course.

    Your jewelry is a different matter; because of the small size of your business it becomes so much more personal. The “crime” seems larger and more damaging, and is more related to something like literary or musical plagiarism.

    And here are two things to mull over:
    1. Do you think that the copycats treat the original design as “found art”?
    2. Do you think that the Macy’s customer (for example) would be your customer? How much of a cross-relationship would there be? Is it even predictable?

    (Macy’s, by the way, seems hellbent on continuing its long slide into J. C. Penney-ization, most visibly in its suburban stores.)

  13. KiKi says:

    I like them both but I’m not a big gold fan.

  14. ismoyo says:

    Copycats can make my blood boil. Where is the creativity?
    I like the original version better anyway. Love that chain too.
    The other day i found a site all dedicated to expose those copycats. It happens way too often.
    http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com

  15. shoeaddict says:

    I love, love, love JM’s. I need to go look at her stuff. I posted all the (4) (ha) members of my Entourage and linked to you. ;) You are a doll!!!

  16. WendyB says:

    Peeps, I linked Jennifer’s name to one of her alternative leaf designs at Barney’s. You’ll see it’s a blingier one but Macy’s is selling theirs for about a quarter of the price.
    Suzanna, it definitely is an interesting problem (when it’s happening to someone else it’s interesting..it’s tragic when it’s happening to you). Everyone is inspired by everyone else all the time, but I think it is one thing to say, “Platform booties are a good idea! Let me have my child slaves in India start working on my own unique $20 version right away.” It’s another thing to lift the damn photo from Christian Louboutin and stick the photo on your website and put Steve Madden on it. Anyone can do a leaf if leaves are hot..but why can’t they do their own leaf? It’s not so much that you worry about one retailer having the same thing. It’s never just one. You worry about hundreds of wholesalers and retailers selling your design at different pricepoints, so that there’s no compelling reason for anyone to buy your design (which, as a smaller manufacturer who cares about quality. is always going to be more expensive and have a smaller profit margin than Hong Kong produced crap made of tin). I believe it was Lizzie Scheck who designed the diamond pave horseshoe worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City. She might have had a chance to make money on it before they appeared all over the place. Now, that’s not “designed” as much as the leaf or one of my pieces, so there’s nothing to copyright there. But still, I would be bummed if I had the clever idea first and then had to see it copied so much that (a) I didn’t get the sales and (b) the design was overexposed and less desirable. Companies who can afford to be aggressive in protecting their rights, like Tiffany and LVMH, are totally right to do so but it is a huge effort. The rest of us can’t afford to even try. Another point about taking inspiration from others…I think I’m more open about that than anyone… I tell people upfront that I am inspired by medieval, antique and vintage pieces. Of course I’m going to be, because of the queens. Just look at my Boleyn necklace! That inspiration is stated in the name. Also, look again at how different it is than the original!!!! It’s possible to take an idea and make it your own. I don’t take vintage pieces apart and make molds from the originals. If a old piece gives me inspiration, I take the idea but make it my own.

  17. WendyB says:

    Ismoyo, thanks for the great link.

  18. lady jicky says:

    Wendy this is off topic but – go over to Rivera Dogs – they have a PEKE !

  19. WendyB says:

    Thanks for the alert! What a gorgeous pooch!

  20. Suzanna Mars says:

    WB, you have every right to be concerned, esp. because your designs tend not to be so mass-market.

    We’ve seen what happens with apparel plagiarism. Sometimes it’s ignored, other times it results in warnings or lawsuits. I think the rapid dissemination of information on the Net has exacerbated this problem, don’t you? Meantime, it appears that each case is treated differently.

    ABS dresses, anyone?

  21. WendyB says:

    I remember when ABS was all anyone had to worry about. That dude’s been left in the dust in the ripoff race! ABS seems so quaint now. Teh Interweb definitely has made things worse. I’m just sort of resigned now. If you’re a small business, you have to make the most of any exposure and move on to new work when you get ripped off, I guess.

  22. WendyB says:

    I should add that the ideal situation is when you get to knock YOURSELF off and do a cheaper line/s. But we don’t all get that opportunity! It takes money that the smaller designers don’t have, so you have to hope you get an offer you can’t refuse before Hong Kong rips you off.

  23. pistols at dawn says:

    I worked with Jennifer’s sister, Sarah, and she was incredibly sweet and kind. I had no idea that she was Hollywood royalty until she introduced me to her friend, Joel Silver. Then I figured it out.

  24. WendyB says:

    PAD, ask the royalty to help a sister out. I would like to get some of my stuff in a Universal movie too.

  25. Imelda says:

    I think they both look great!

  26. riz says:

    This is a prime example where you can tell original from copy. Isit just me or is Macy’s stock getting worse and worse – ok well i guess i live outside of NYC, so…

  27. ParisBreakfasts says:

    what a bad copy – totally lacking in the grace and innovation of the original :(
    As in the high school ball chain or whatevertheycallit..
    and the leaf is so off
    UGH

  28. ParisBreakfasts says:

    Wendala!
    Ya shoulda married a copyright lawyer for Gawd’s sake!

  29. Shaz says:

    that leaf is very cute, and that would shit me off big time if someone was copying my designs without even trying to act like their not by changing the angle or even the size…hmmm very shifty

  30. Rhianna Knapp
    Twitter: sugarpusslondon
    says:

    Loving your website Wendy (the layout is fab too) – we’ll be linking & twittering it soon :) As for the leaf necklace – I think I prefer the first one (but with the Macy’s chain!)

  31. birdie says:

    ” I don’t take vintage pieces apart and make molds from the originals.”

    OH YOU KNOW WHO DOES!?!??! *gossip* Apparently a certain Marc Jacobs is well known in the fashion designer world, for going into his costume closet reference area, grabbing a GORGEOUS 40’s dress, dissecting it for a pattern, and calling the pattern his own – because he deconstructed it and then put it together in a different fabric. And changed some buttons.

    A little tidbit I learned from my designer…. I wonder how many people would be less than pleased that he’s pirating vintage designs instead of reworking them, and making them his own.

  32. WendyB
    Twitter: WendyBrandes
    says:

    Birdie, I believe Marc does it…but I also believe a majority of designers do it. With all the product they have to turn out….there’s a VERY big Italian designer whom I know for a fact did it with a particular Ossie Clark dress. On the other hand, some of Ossie’s pieces are so “inspired” by ’30s looks that I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it too. Therefore, if Ossie is rolling over in his grave, he should quit it!

    You know I wear a lot of vintage, so I am friendly with a lot of vintage dealers. They tell me that some of their biggest customers are other designers who buy for inspiration and/or pattern-making.

  33. birdie says:

    It makes me hurt a little inside to think that someone somewhere is cutting apart flapper gowns. *cries*

  34. WendyB
    Twitter: WendyBrandes
    says:

    Actually, some things from the 20s are in such bad shape they might as well be cut apart. I’ve seen some dresses where the fabric just kind of rots away. Seen some chiffon Ossies too were it’s like the chiffon has …disappeared!