Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Just what IS a fake Mermaid tail blanket?

A few weeks ago, a family featured on House Hunters International had decided to relocate from Idaho (or Montana or one of the Dakotas) to New Zealand. I can’t remember what the husband’s job was – something to do with machine repair? – but the wife’s big dream was to work as a professional mermaid.

I wasn’t aware of that job, but apparently it entails putting on a mermaid tail and swimming around in an aquarium, smiling at kids. And I do believe she found her dream job. She’s even got a website to prove it.

Most of us, of course, do not aspire to be professional mermaids. For one thing, professionally speaking, there’s just not that much demand for it. Last time I looked, the New England Aquarium had seals and penguins but, alas, no mermaids. So even if you’re really good at holding your breath, don’t hold your breath for a lot of job openings to appear.

But you can get your mermaid on with a mermaid blanket, thanks to Hattie Paze who:

…built a multimillion-dollar business hawking mermaid blankets. Yes, mermaid blankets. Launched in the fall of 2015, her company—Blankie Tails—sold about 136,000 of them in the run-up to its first Christmas. It was a fairy tail success story. (Source: Bloomberg)

Apparently, I need to get out more. Less watching professional mermaids move to New Zealand, more looking at consumer trends. I missed this one entirely.

Not that I would have Blankie Tailswanted one. It actually seems super uncomfortable to me to hang around in a sack that you can’t kick your feet out of. And no way would have spent that much for a Yankee Swap gift. We have our limits to observe!

But I just plain missed this one.

Although I missed it, Allstar Marketing Group – the outfit behind the Snuggie – recognized a good thing when they saw it, and came out with Snuggie Tails, “the fun blanket that brings imagination to life.” Whatever that means. (Silly me, I thought that imagination brought imagination to life. Where’ve I been all these years?) Snuggie Tails, as befitting the Snuggie brand, is cheesier and cheaper than Blankie Tails.

Anyway, with Snuggie out there, not to mention all those crafty copycats on Etsy, Blankie Tails:

has also been forced to wage intellectual-property battles against larger rivals like Allstar.

Silly me. I thought that intellectual property had something to do with intellectual property. Where’ve I been all these years?

“You can work your butt off and have a great idea,” Peze said, “but I don’t care how hard you work: Life isn’t always fair.”

So true…

And now Peze is having to work her butt off on multiple fronts, going after Allstar, which counterclaims that Snuggie is the operative part of their brand, not Tails. And going after Magic Tails, yet another tail vendor. And going after Amazon and Alibaba, for “products believed to be counterfeit.”

Then, although she estimates that her company was losing about $90K a day during prime wacky gift shopping season, Blankie Tails decided to drop their suit against Allstar. (There was a settlement, but both are still selling tails.)

Perhaps that’s because Peze didn’t come up with the original idea to being with. She saw a handmade one on FB and, when she couldn’t find one to buy, decided to get some made and bring them to market. Or, as it turns out, even if you think you may be losing $90K a day, it still costs a boatload to sue.

Looking to understand its chances of winning a jury trial, in-house lawyers for Blankie Tails sought the advice of intellectual-property law firms, which put its probability of winning outright at less than 40 percent, said a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss it. Not bad odds, but not great either. Soon after, settlement talks began, the person said.M

Meanwhile, Allstar is going after Amazon for allowing “fake” mermaid tails to be sold online.

What, pray tell, is a fake mermaid tail?

Even if there is one working at an aquarium in New Zealand, aren’t mermaids kinda sorta like unicorns?

No comments: