They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
However, when imitation is being used to intentionally mislead for profit,
it’s not flattery – it’s unfair.
We should be flattered that we have built a company worth imitating, but we are disappointed by the unethical practices of some of our competitors.
Every so often, and unfortunately at an ever-increasing rate, we get an email from a customer commenting on the quality of one of “our” products that they purchased from another company. For instance, last year, one email we received said:
“I was really disappointed in your soaps that I purchased from [Company X].
Are they cheaper because they are your seconds?”
Several months later, we received an email from a customer asking . . .
“Is [Company X] selling your products under their name? If not, their products are so similar they
must be copying you. Unless they are affiliated with your
company, this is absolutely wrong. I just thought I would let you all know.”
Since there are no companies selling our products under a different name, we investigated these, and others inquiries. What we found was quite disturbing.
- One company was selling their own soaps, but using our pictures and descriptions on their website.
- Another company literally copied entire pages of our website.
- Still another used all of their own pictures and descriptions, but copied our product line with a little different twist on the names.
- We even found a company who copied our testimonials and changed the names and locations of the customers.
We do not look for websites that copy ours, our loyal customers tell us.
“I sent you a note a few months back about [Company X]. Now it seems kind of
funny because I was upset that you had copied so much of their stuff. After your
response I have been watching their website. I hope you are watching too because
it seems like each time you create something new, [Company X] COINCIDENTLY
comes up with a VERY SIMILAR product within a month.”
Recently we received another email asking why [Company X] was selling "our" organic products at a cheaper price. Again the company was not selling our products, they were just very similar. Furthermore, although some of the products in question were made with organic ingredients, the company was not a USDA Certified Organic manufacturer.
According to the USDA, if you are not certified, you must not use the word “organic” or make any organic claim on the labels or displays (like websites). Unfortunately, since there is no “organic police,” these infractions go unchecked.
Certified organic products may cost more, but the USDA certification provides a guarantee to consumers that they are actually getting what they pay for. The certification process is very expensive and involves a great deal of paperwork and a lot of time. When we use the word “organic” you can be assured that it meets the criteria established by the National Organic Program of The United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on our certification process please read, Why Did We Become A Certified Organic Company?
Chagrin Valley Soap began with a single batch of soap and a dream to create skin care products from simple, wholesome, natural ingredients. I have nurtured this company from its beginning days in my kitchen and watched my dream come true as our reputation grew by word of mouth -- from family to friends and then through the internet.
There are many ethical soap and skin care companies following the rules and creating really great products. I don’t understand why a few companies must resort to flagrantly copying the creativity of others.
So, if the website does not say Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, and the packaging does not say Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, then it is NOT a Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve product.