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Wednesday 22 August 2012

Shop under fire: Save Shabby Chic Originals!

Red spot sewing box/foot rest (£35)

The US, already doing a roaring trade in "WTF?!" news this week, has done another corker. A California company called Shabby Chic Brands is trying to prevent Brixton-based Lizzie Daly from using the term for her online company Shabby Chic Originals. They claim to "license the trademark", in fact, which as far as I'm concerned is like trying to trademark "vintage", "distressed", or "bijoux" in terms of total silliness.

It's a general thing, right? You might as well trademark blue.

The bright side to this whole thing was that it alerted me to yet another fabulous business just down the road from me which is also - brilliantly - dead cheap. This is more like rifling through a particularly good charity shop than being mugged by a vintage store. Shipping is fixed at £5.99.

11cm-high heart-shaped place setting (£1)
I am an absolute sucker for a good website, and a total magpie for gilt. I love the way that Lizzie has used gilt frames to highlight each of the items she's selling. This might be the best-presented DS post I've ever done *douze smug points*.

What I love far, far more though, is that everything is incredibly reasonably priced and not £15 for a bloody handwash dispenser. The most expensive thing I saw was a £44 ceramic herb garden (no me neither, but it looks cute and I'm sure someone will want it.)

Spotted candles! Fuschia and white and gold (£5.50 a set of four)
There's an absolute ton of stuff on it to trawl through, with sections for linens, kitchenware, gardening, weddings and loads more. And some great descriptions. Imposingly large wooden candlestick (red) (£15) makes me chuckle for reasons I can't fathom.

Struggling with what to buy your brother for Christmas? (Yes, I know it's months away, but every December I get caught out with having to buy a trillion presents at once). You could get a USB mug warmer (£6) or a combined hip flask and cigar holder (£15).

The Keep Calm meme may have (thankfully) reached terminal velocity, but these kneeling pads would be an incredibly thoughtful present for the gardener in your life. And - brace yourself - they're only £3.50 each. A nice cup of tea please...oh and a biscuit or Keep Calm and Carry On Weeding.

Each listing (and there are very, very many) has a really lovely description - so the £6 small topiary hen (WANT!!11!) comes with a helpful tips on how to turn it from a wire cage into a lovely plant present.

This jam making kit comes with a recipe books, three jars, labels and gingham lids, strawberry seeds and a plant marker. For £8.50. <3
Four very pretty jelly moulds for £2.50. I was watching a video of Bompas & Parr showing how to make violet and prosecco jelly only yesterday and bemoaning the lack of cheap, cute moulds. SUPERB timing.
These herb tins (£8) are gorgeous - they come in a little gift box too. On offer you've got Bay Leaves, Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage and Rosemary.

Even if you're not keen on shabby chic, do have a browse on Shabby Chic Originals. It's easily the most lovingly-kept online store I've come across in ages, and there's so much stuff on there. Good value, great products - damn the man and vive la Brixton.

Thanks to the amazing Brixton Blog for writing about this story. They're a fantastic website if you live near, or have any interest in Brixton.


  1. "It's a general thing, right? You might as well trademark blue. "

    Depressingly, you could trademark blue. Or at least a shade of it:

    As examples, the purple of a Cadbury wrapper and the red of the BBC One logo are both trademarked.

    I know.

    1. own the rights to their magenta pink.

  2. Wow - just, wow. I meant the word blue, it didn't even occur to me that that could be a...a thing.

    Some amazing facting there team!

  3. I'm playing devil's advocate here, but the company in America could well have a case (I know, I know). I think something stops being a generic term when you start using it as a brand name.

  4. True. This is an interesting report on a previous case that suggests the complainant actually came up with the term. So much for being generic! Ultimately, lost the case though:

    1. That was really interesting to me as well - generic terms often come from somewhere and it's something a case of clever marketing, we just don't realise it (some might argue that's the cleverest kind of marketing). Once someone decides the name of their business or product, I think the term means more to them than just a generic phrase and that argument doesn't really stand any more.

      In 20 years, Domestic Sluttery could be a generic term. Of course, I own the trademark for that...


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