(Moved from the General Design Discussion Area, in hopes of more intersting discussion)
I have been thinking a lot about Knock-offs since moving to Asia.
I think companies should be designing there own knock-off. These products would go into markets that the company is not focusing its efforts (ie the developing nations). You have the knock off ready to come out one month after your original product. It comes out at a much lower cost and based around high volumes.
This gets you a few advantages:
- Makes it less attractive for others to knock off since the lower price is already out there.
- Gets you brand equity for no money. In fact you are receiving some profits for brand development. It also means your name is already known when you decide to enter a developing market with your standard product.
- It means your factory (if indeed it is Chinese) will be able to be open about a plan they had anyway.
I am sure there are some holes in this that others will mention here, but do think of this plan overall?
This already happens in the fashion trade - lots of brands do it at every level of the market place.
A friend in the trade recently acquired a license for a famous 1970’s footwear designers’ name. Another friend of mine did the design work - the shoes weren’t cheap - made in Europe and retailing at about $500 and over, and attracted a lot of attention from the likes of Vogue, Elle etc and were soon seen on many celebs feet.
He was then approached by a UK high fashion, but low priced chain store. They asked him ‘when will you do a cheaper line of shoes? Because if you don’t we’ll copy you in China’. They would have done too. I doubt there’d have been any litigation had they done this as copying can be extremely difficult to prove in the fashion trade and the legals costs are rarely worth it. So he knocked his own stuff off cheaply.
I do it too, two of my clients sell to discounters - we take the product and rework it completely for these customers. It stops us from being knocked off because we can sell at the price points of the copyists but we still have the brand name.
To be honest, it’s tough out there, we don’t have a choice - what I’m seeing now is the copyists are starving, becaseu they can’t compete with the brands when they start discounting. The only survivors are the ultra cheap and they are struggling too, as their margins are so tight.
I always thought a lot of companies did that already. Can’t give any specifics off the top of my head but I remembered discussing it in school, from that just accepting it as a standard. Seems like a no-brainer to do. Provide versions of your goods for all price points, cover the spectrum instead of having exclusive customer level, or others will do it for you and make money off of your hard work. Like spreading your investments to cover short term, long term, etc instead of all eggs in one basket.
But if you led your shoe’s make in china… Let’s say an order of 10.000 pare’s then when that order is done and you are gone. They restart the production and make another 10.000…
Doesn’t happen in our factories. The shoe trade is too small and incestuous. They’d be found out. Theres always someone I know working in these factories, even if they don’t work for my client, I’ll probably know them, have worked with them somewhere or simliar, I know that they’d tell me. TBH not heard of it happening to anyone else either.
Also fashion is so market specific - You can’t design the same range for each country, it has to be tailored - if they knocked the shoes off - they’d struggle to selll them outside our market. Our deliveries are always checked by customs - they have to have a letter confirming that the product isn’t counterfeit and customs always check with us. It wouldn’t be worth their while to lose our business.
I just can’t imagine why our factory (that is non stop busy) would do such a thing and risk their entire business. Perhaps it works differently in your trade.