ENTREPRENEURSHIP & UNEXPECTED RISKS
Vinted Goods is a bag and leather goods company, with its brand launch this past August. Within only 29 days on Kickstarter.com, it has been gaining attention and traction far beyond our expectation. To the Vinted Goods Team, the internet has never felt so alive and filled with possibilities. On the last day, just 10 hours before the funding process ended, the project was taken down, followed by a letter to us from Kickstarter.
We lost contact with our fans.
With the outage of our Kickstarter page, we've been getting letters from our fans and blogs with worries and caring words. Leading to this event, is a story surrounding the nature of learning, entrepreneurship, innovation, and success.
First, the learning and the entrepreneurship.
A year ago, two apparel designers of Vinted Goods, with a passion for building better bags, took an unpaid internship at a bag company with enthusiasm. The owner, their mentor, is a passionate individual who had built a company from the ground up. He inspired our two members to do the same. The friendship grew as the two designers provided their design expertise and at the same time, receiving education from the mentor. At the end of their internship, the mentor gave them words of blessing for future success.
After a few months of exploration, Vinted Goods was formed in January of 2012. Our mission is simple, to make beautiful, affordable bags and leather goods at an affordable price. We combine modern and classic processes and materials in order to make an impact; to innovate. During these past 8 months, we've learned and dealt with many hurdles. However, after launching the Kickstarter, at our final step before manufacturing the products for our fans, we encountered an unexpected challenge.
Second, the success and the challenge,
Well into our Kickstarter funding process, we were blown away at the response of the community and the success of Vinted Goods. Then we received a letter from a law firm; a cease and desist letter from the mentor with threats to sue. We were very surprised. It consisted accusations of infringement from the mentor. He laid claims to a number of our designs such as our website utilizing a top navigation bar, our photo of the designer operating a sewing machine, etc.
We took the matter seriously and consulted with a number of attorneys specialized in Intellectual Property. In short, the claims are as outlandish as we perceived. So we sent a reply, voicing our stand and requesting further clarifications from the mentor.
Then we waited.
Upon the final hours of our project's timeline, the mentor sent a letter to Kickstarter. Kickstarter complied immediately and shut down the project, forwarding us the mentors' claims. Unfortunately, it's not within their policy to notify our fans with an explanation and did not give us the opportunity to do so either.
We have the utmost respect for Kickstarter, the community, and the mentor. Yet, we are truly hurt by the actions of the mentor to squash this start-up. Responsibly, we have consulted well experienced legal assistants specialized in Intellectual Property. They all confirmed our beliefs that the accusations have little legal and logical standing. The Vinted Goods team stand behind their work and are focused on delivering our promises to the fans.
A "Counter Notification" requested by Kickstarter has been sent, in order to repost the project. If approved, it will be posted again within the next 10 days (by 9/27/12), according to Kickstarter.com.
Lastly, our position.
We understand that the world of entrepreneurship involves unexpected risks. Just as every challenge brought up by starting this venture, we have treated them all as learning experiences. Going forward, we continue to have an optimistic spirit and will strive with the same passion.
We write this letter to keep our fans updated and in the know of the situation.
-The Vinted Goods Team