Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Does Captivated Have Tiger's Blood In It?

I woke up this morning to a comment on my blog and a few emails. Nothing new you say? Well this was totally different, a lot of you wanted to "alert" me to the post that Polishaholic did comparing Captivated to Icing's Tiger's Blood. I don't know if the emails were sent to me as a Hey thought you'd want to know or as someone wanting to stir the pot, but I'll take it as the first one.

My first reaction was WHAT? How could this happen? But let's be honest - I am somewhat certain as to how this happened. I have shared so many things about this business with you all and it is a very tight lipped community, so there is only so much I feel comfortable sharing, because I do after all still have to work in it in order to continue to create polishes. So I will try to be as careful as possible here, because I don't want to call anyone out, especially when I myself can only speculate how this happened. I am not sure I will ever know with 100% certainty, but that won't stop me from trying to find out either.

So here is the basics of it all. You can not trade mark colors. I know I have said this before, and I am sure it won't be the last time I say it. Once a polish color is created, anyone else can have that color too. It's really just that simple. I am working on some "basic" colors to add to my collection as I feel there are just some basic colors that every polish line should have, the nudes, the reds, the corals, the pinks... You get where I am going with that. But there are only so many versions of each color out there. I can add my spin to the color, but in this process I realize that my spin will still most likely have a dupe somewhere. If I let myself get caught up in no dupes to the basics, I would never have any. I can't do that. I can just continue doing what I am doing and hoping for the best.

The more fun and creative colors though take so much more work. There is sometimes a franken, but I always tell the lab to take liberties. I feel like sometimes what they see may be better than what I thought. It happened with Iconic for example. My version of Iconic did not have the gold shimmer in it. The lab added that in and I fell in love and went with that version vs my original version. With My Kind of Cool Aid, I let go of a version that made it's way into another line. Whether I turn a color down or not, someone else can buy it. I thought someone else could only buy it if I turned it down. How wrong I was!

Recently a polish company came out with something we'll call "schmackle".(OK so WE know it's been around since the 80's, but still.) Well of course I called my lab and asked if they could make me some "schmackle" in colors I want. The answer was an immediate NO WAY MA'AM. The company that was bringing "schmackle" back put a protection order(or something - I don't know the exact name) not allowing the labs to create it for anyone else for several months. So the public labs hands are tied and they can't make it in any color for anyone. Now the companies that have their own lab can go ahead and make it and the companies that are overseas or buy from overseas can get their hands on it as well. I know because I looked into it.  But those of us little dogs working with the main public U.S. labs = not happening right now! Of course that led me to the question of - wait I thought we couldn't protect our colors? The answer was: well if you have enough money you can temporarily hold it from anyone else. Darn it, I don't have that kind of money!

When we created Captivated, it was one that was an up in the air color. I asked the lab for a coral polish packed with glitter. I wanted something with maybe some gold glitter thrown in. But I didn't want a straight up glitter polish, and I didn't want something with micro glitter like Living Water, but I wasn't opposed to that option. I gave the lab complete liberty. So in this instance they created some options and sent me swatches. So instead of the sending me one color and me not liking it and opening that color to being sold, I thought I was reducing my risk by asking them to just make enough for a swatch and if I like how it looks on the plastic nail, then they can create it for me. Captivated was one of five coral options they sent me. When I saw it, I knew it was the one. I didn't envision it like that at all, but I knew at that moment it was exactly what I was looking for. I requested them to send me a sample bottle so I could test the formula. Then with some revisions a final sample was sent and approved.

So here I am left to wonder, did they send me Icing's polish? Or did Icing like my polish and buy it? I don't know which came first on this one. I am heartbroken and feel a little played by my lab though. I mean why would you sell the same color to two people at the same time? Sound a little like the whole OPI Catch Me In Your Net vs. Zoya Charla anyone? I know all my colors may be duped eventually. I know I run the risk of it even happening at the same time like with so many major polish brands. It is after all a color. I get that. I know that I may inadvertently dupe another color, because as much as I love nail polish, I don't know every color in existence in the polish world. I actually go through phases where if I am creating I stop looking at other blogs and collections, because I don't want to be influenced.

I, like many of you love finding dupes to colors and know a lot of them exist. I would be nieve to think that none of my colors will never have a twin. I just wish it wasn't so immediate. And of course I wish if there is a dupe to my color, that it would be a more expensive dupe not a cheaper one. Because honestly I can't afford to reduce my prices. As far as my customers are concerned, let the best price win. But the reality is the more I buy, the less I pay. Unfortrunately I am not in the financial position to buy in quantities that would reduce my prices, much less drastically reduce my prices! If I put polishes out for $4.50 a bottle I would lose money. I just can't do it. Icing, I am sure buys the polishes by the truckfull and so they can afford to have a lower price point. I don't have that luxury.

Regardless, Which came first? The Tiger's Blood or the Captivation?(Kind of like the chicken or the egg if you will.)  I don't know. I don't know if my lab will even admit to me which one did or if they even made Tiger's Blood. Whenever I ask if they made this color or that color, they tell me they can't release that information. But come on, the proof is in the bottle! It is what it is. I guess that definitely makes Captivated Limited Edition though! No point in remaking it if it can be found elsewhere!

Anyway, I know you may not all care, but as open as I have been thus far, I don't think now is the time to not be. If I didn't respond to the emails I received, then I think I would have just gotten more emails. How many times have we all read or written, that we wished companies would just be honest with us. So for those of you interested or who care, there it is.

I will close by saying while it sucks, it is kind of cool to know that I am coming up with colors other people like major companies or major polish brands are wanting/using. It makes me know that I am doing something right! :)

Edited to add: As a result I decided why not have an Icing on the Cake sale? So buy any two Cult Nail polishes and get Captivated for $4.50! :) Use code : Icing at checkout. I'm going to do the sale through Friday June 17th, 2011. I couldn't resist a good reason for a sale!

28 comments:

  1. I am so sorry Maria. :(
    We never will know what happened in the lab but yes you are doing something right, when a major company apparently wanted Captivated too. I will love and treasure my bottle of Captivated and my backup. It's a perfect, squishy glitter - it's cult. <3

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  2. While it sucks, I'd take it a giant compliment! You must be frightening the big guys if they are copying you!

    Thanks for being so open, it's really refreshing not to mention interesting!

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  3. I'm not afraid to say this publicly. I experienced first hand how genuine of a person you are! You are part of the nai polish community and you reach out to give a chance to new members. I'm a sentimental person. To me it is not about just the colour, but the history of how/where I bought it etc. Yes, the icing polish is a dupe but I would pay for the experience... That's why I returned for the first collection and will be back in august-ish for your next one. Keep your head up :)

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  4. Too bad about this all :-( I can understand you're completely bummed about this, so shortly after your release. Fortunateyu ICE is not sold anywhere where I live so for me Captivated is still number one :-)

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  5. It sucks that this happened, but for what it's worth, I still love Captivated and will hopefully get my hands on a backup bottle before you stop selling it. I don't have any Icing stores in my area anyway, so I'm glad I could still get such an awesome shade from you :) . Besides, Icing's polish doesn't come with awesome cotton balls to remove my old mani with ;)

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  6. I have Captivated already, but I've been thinking about getting a back-up bottle for a while. And when I do get one, it'll be from you, not Icing! I agree with all the comments above:] Cult>Icing

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  7. Glad I got captivated. I personally don't purchase many of Icings polishes. But I'm curious if your lab does business with them. That would good to learn. I saw the same post you did and couldn't believe the similarities. I can see how it would happen to you. Sorry that it did... it looks gorgeous. I haven't tried mine yet, but I will.

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  8. I was planning on buying the entire collection later this week (when I get paid) and I still do. You took the time to swatch and photograph the polish, tell me all about it, show it in different lighting, etc. And I know you would never intentionally copy or steal another company's color.

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  9. Thanks so much for this entry! One of the things that sets you apart is how much you let us peek "behind the scenes".

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  10. Appreciate this post, Maria. We love you

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  11. That is stinky. I second a lot of what Marta said. If Captivated was by Chanel and Tigers Blood was by Icing. I'd buy the Icing. What you provide as a brand is so much more thoughtful than what huge companies put out. You let us know your process, your ideas, and as nail polish lovers and bloggers we identify with you. That's what makes your polish so unique and wonderful. Your dedication and your passion for Cult Nails is what makes the value of your polish worthwhile.

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  12. Oh it probably was just a "Hey, you should be aware" thing, because I can't imagine anybody wanting to stir your pot (unless it was to make spaghetti, because spaghetti is delicious). As far as dupes, I'm sad that it's happening to you so quickly, but I don't think it's going to be a huge issue for me. My preference is definitely to buy from a smaller, more personal source when at all possible, and doubly so when it's one as nice as you are.

    As far as competition from Icing, sure they are cheaper, and probably similar in quality, but the entire experience of buying from you, and learning about the whole process is part of the value you provide that doesn't happen with a place like Icing.

    When it comes to dupes, I do tend to shop more by name and brand than by price, unless it's a whole series of colors and a significant price difference. I'm talking Chanel vs WNW type differences. I guess what I'm babbling on about is that I would rather pay more to buy from you over less to buy from some big corporation.

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  13. Thanks for being so open, that's what makes us all part of the Cult!

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  14. I find your behind the scenes info to be fascinating. Also, I think it is a sign that you are "making" it, when comparison shots are showing up on blogs. It means the interest is there and there are people who care enough about your colors! There will always be people who choose the cheaper route, but then there are others who believe spending a tad more on a color gets you more :)

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  15. From the pictures, I can tell you that Captivated looks more orange, which I'd prefer, and the Icing looks more pink. No worries!!

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  16. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be to have your color used by another company so quickly after your own release. :/ I'll echo what StardustSteph said above, that while I do place some importance on price when I'm deciding between dupes, the reality is that (1) your company has a very different relationship with its clients than does Chanel or OPI (in a good way!) and (2) frankly the difference between $5 for an Icing polish and $10 for a Cult polish isn't a big enough price leap for me to be tempted to stray from supporting your company. I'm not worried about OPI or Chanel going out of business if I buy other brands' dupes, but I do care that Cult Nails continues to exist, even though I only have two of your beauties so far.

    Just as food for thought, from what I know Icing polishes are almost always limited edition, so I imagine that Tigers Blood won't be around forever. So you could potentially keep Captivated in your core line without thinking there would always be a dupe out there. Plus, Icing is a US/Canada-only store, and doesn't sell polishes online, so it has a limited market reach. (I think my nearest Icing store is an hour or two hours' drive away.) So I hope you let more important factors, like how well Captivated continues to sell, be the deciding factor in making it LE or core, not this silly business with Icing.

    Also, I want to say how much I, personally, am fascinated by the peek you've given us into the secret underworld of polish-making. Please please don't stop posting about your process! I loved your blog before you started Cult b/c you had a great voice & gorgeous nails, but I love it even more now that you're sharing the business side of polish with us! xoxo!

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  17. Oh, I'm so sorry this happened. Don't let this discourage you, the Cult nail polishes are awesome! ♥ Oh, and I admire your openness.

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  18. I just bought the Cult Convert Pack yesterday and don't regret it at all. Sure, I may be able to buy the Icing one for only $4.50, but I LIKE supporting the smaller business and helping you grow. I would much rather support you, who is involved with her customers and really listens, versus a huge faceless corporation.

    I think you should keep Captivated because the Icing polish isn't available to those outside of North America and even then the Icing limited edition polishes are notoriously hard to find. I'm not about to go driving around to every Icing in a 50 mile radius to find one polish! Plus, gas is expensive! I'll let the USPS pay for the gas when they deliver my polish from you! I think you should only discontinue Captivated if the sales of it are too low to make it work selling.

    Thank you for posting about this, it makes me love your company even more! I can't wait to get my polishes!

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  19. I would much rather snag your polishes! It sucks what big companies can do, but I love that you have a true passion and it is more than just the bank for Cult Nails.

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  20. I don't have an Icing in NYC, and I love you and Cult Nails and I will keep supporting you ALL the way!!!
    So keep your chin up!
    Love!!!

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  21. Just for the record, my comment on your previous blog post was meant to be in the spirit of, "Hey thought you'd want to know". I had no intention of 'stirring the pot: so the speak. I have followed your blog for a while now and I have great respect and awe for what you are doing with starting your own business from scratch.

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  22. Ugh, I hate that this happened, but I agree that you're apparently doing something right when the big boys are using your colors. I just wish I had the cash to buy from you, because I really do believe in spending your money where you like the people.

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  23. I'm curious what the My Kind of Cool Aid reject ended up being released as. I only know of one color that's very close (RBL Insouciant). Any insight?

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  24. Thanks so much for offering the sale! I'm sure I'll be back for more- can't wait to see the new collection!

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  25. I'm sorry this kind of thing happens, but I will say that yours is the only nail polish brand where I will knowingly buy a higher-priced brand's polish instead of a lower-priced dupe, because I want to support your business. Hopefully there are enough others with the same mindset to keep you going for a long time to come. :)

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  26. I hope you choose to keep Captivated. I think it's a shade that will have major staying power with your brand. Like most everyone else has said, Icing will most likely be limited edition and it is impossible for someone like me to find. Hopefully you can find out what happened to keep it from happening again. I love your colors (I've only seen swatches so far) and I plan on being a customer for a long time.

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  27. What is schmackle which you meantioned in your post above? Ha or is this just an example to tell us what happened? I love your nail polishes and will continue to buy from a real nail polish blogger not some mass company who doesnt care about their customers. Thanks for being so open!!! We all love your nail polishes the best!!!

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  28. That's very interesting. I haven't bought Cult yet but I'm keeping an eye out for a color that will catch my eye.

    I always figured dupes came about because companies were following the same fashion trends and the same colors are popular at the same time. Very interesting to know labs work for different polish companies and sell the colors.

    It does make sense you can't trademark a color because a lot of people use colors all the time. But it is lame big companies would put a stop-hold on the crackle thing.

    I think its awesome the blogging community is supporting your company.

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