Imagine you created a unique look and fabrication for a line of casual shoes, built a company around it, and two years after launch it clocks a valuation of $1.4 billion — in Wall Street parlance, a unicorn.
Then imagine waking up one day to discover that Amazon has created a nearly identical line of shoes that it sells under a trendy-sounding, in-house brand name — for half as much.
That’s what happened to Allbirds, a line of casual footwear made with Merino wool that became a phenomenon almost out of the gate in 2016. Copying is a sign of success and Allbirds was quick to sue copycats like footwear designer Steve Madden. Allbirds talked about suing Amazon, too, but as co-founder and CEO Joey Zwillinger quipped, “They have twice as many lawyers as we have employees.”
Zwillinger, in a CNBC “Squawk On The Street” interview last year, said the real salt in the wound is that even though Amazon doesn’t sell Allbirds, if you type “Allbirds” in the Amazon search bar you’ll get pages of listings for Amazon’s knock-offs, along with Steve Madden’s and everyone else’s. What you won’t see is any mention of Allbirds.
Continue reading In Fashion Wars, Amazon Copies But It’s The Data That Sells on Forbes
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