Small Business Owner Takes on Retail Giant and Wins

Just before close of business on Jan. 7, Shannon McLaughlin, founder and owner of Ubuntu Baba posted a 2,000-word blog explaining how she felt South African retail giant Woolworths had copied the name, color scheme and design of her company’s signature baby carriers, and was selling them at a third of the price. Ubuntu Baba carriers are handmade from organic hemp in South Africa versus the copycat carriers mass produced in China and made out of polyester. Just like that, the 36-year-old sent a shock wave through big retail in South Africa and showed small businesses around the country that big checkbooks and expensive lawyers can be beaten. The carriers were pulled from Woolworths’ shelves almost immediately, but the situation was only resolved a month later, when Woolworths promised not to keep any profits from the sale of the carriers, give Ubuntu an undisclosed payout, donate a “large portion” of the proceeds to support small business and implement intellectual property training across the company.

SOURCES: OZY

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