We know that this is not “directly” DS related, but a lot of you asked.
Charlie Banana (Winc Design) did NOT steal the idea, design, etc of Fuzzi Bunz diapers.
Here is a recent letter written by Tereson Dupuy, CEO of Fuzzi Bunz explaining it all, and retracting her original letter to customers. (found here: http://www.theclothdiaperreport.com/2010/06/charlie-banana-new-cloth-diaper-baby.html)
On July 27, 2010 I sent my retailers an e-mail in which I said some awful things about Gaelle Wizenberg, Winc Design, and its Charlie Banana brand diaper. I am writing to say that that e-mail was the result of my letting my emotions get the better of me and the negative aspersions cast on Gaelle, Winc Design and their products are untrue. I am also writing to ask that you help me make amends by not repeating those untrue statements, and passing on a copy of this message to anyone to whom you either forwarded my message or any of the statements that were contained in the message.
The truth is that Gaelle Wizenberg is a kind person with enormous integrity. A year and a half ago when my company was struggling with insufficient volume of diapers to fill orders on a timely basis, Gaelle helped my company find a new manufacturer, get the new manufacturer up and running and in other ways. All compensation that she received from my company in return for her help was earned. While we had differences of opinion, I enjoyed a business relationship with her for about a year and, although it was my idea, I was upset when we ended our relationship after ABC last year.
I knew when we ended our business relationship that it was likely that Gaelle would begin to sell her own baby products, including diapers, through her own company and I knew that she had every right to do so. In fact, I tried unsuccessfully to get her to agree that she would not get into the business. I admit that I was really upset when I learned that her company, Winc Design, was going to launch a diaper product, under the Charlie Banana brand, that has similar features to, but is not the same as, my company’s FuzziBunz product. I was upset about the fact that our business relationship is not what it was and I felt threatened by the possibility of new competition, and, unfortunately, I let my emotions get the better of me and lashed out with my e-mail. Despite what I wrote in my e-mail, the truth is:
· I was wrong to suggest that Winc Design is simply taking our products, including hanging diapers, diaper bags, diaper totes, or wipes, and simply embroidering its logo on them.
· I was wrong to suggest that Winc Design’s products infringe on any of FuzziBunz patent rights or other intellectual property rights.
· I was wrong to suggest that Winc Design will not fully honor all of its product warranties.
· I was wrong to suggest that Gaelle Wizenberg stole my ideas, manipulated me, cheated me or lied to me, as I have no reason to believe that she has done any of those things.
Not surprisingly, my false accusations and statements have hurt Gaelle Wizenberg and Winc Design and I have personally apologized to Gaelle for my actions. She has made it clear to me that she regards such accusations seriously, and, to the extent that she learns that anyone repeats them to anyone, including especially her customers and distributors, she will have no choice but to pursue appropriate legal action to protect herself and her company.
I truly regret having “flown off the handle” by sending such a hurtful e-mail and I hope that you will help me make things right by disregarding it, and passing on this retraction to anyone to whom you forwarded my message or accusations. And please, please do not repeat my unfortunate accusations to anyone because I would hate for you to be sued for doing so. Most importantly, you are free to purchase or sell the Charlie Banana brand diapers and other products.
With Kindest Regards and Regret for Having Created Confusion,
Tereson Dupuy, CEO
A quick google search found her original email to her retailers: (From here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:A3JaYZEh128J:www.ratherbechangingdiapers.com/2010/08/company-ripping-off-fuzzibunz-diapers.html+charlie+banana+diaper+fuzzi+bunz&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a)
It is with a truly heavy heart that I write this email. We have always strived to be a company that operated with high morals, ethics and truly do care about all of our retailers. We don’t attempt to mislead you, we are honest and we (to a fault) expect others to operate the same way in business.
We received an email today from one of our retailers about a “new product” that is being launched called “CHARLIE
BANANA” which is a very VERY similar product to our One Size Diapers made by a company called “Winc Design” that is based in Hong Kong. I would like to ask you to kindly decline the offer to sell this product….and below I will tell you why. I have never asked this before of any of our retailers and will likely never have to ask it again. Please read on for the explanation.
A year and a half ago I was approached by a woman by the name of Gaelle Wizenberg who ran a company called Winc Design. She had “big plans” for FuzziBunz – wanting to achieve “FuzziBunz world domination” as she called it. She wanted to be the exclusive distributor for the product both international and more important to her in the USA! She wanted only the BIG BOX accounts – and did not want to fool with the “little people” as she referred to the other 99.5 of my retailers. My “wahm retailers” were way too small for someone like “her” to deal with so she would “let me keep them” as she put it – whatever – there is strength in numbers, a concept she would never get. She had her eye on the big prize “Target, Walmart, Babies R Us” I allowed her to be the international distributor – although she constantly wanted the USA. And we constantly disagreed as the integrity of the product (NOT being sold in Walmart) was far more important to me than big profits.
Ms Wizenberge was not satisfied with our manufacturing (neither were we for that matter) and helped set up the product for manufacturing in China with a very reputable factory there that could handle the quantities we needed. She called herself now our “MANUFACTURER’S AGENT” and would now take 15% of what we produced for all of the ” HELP” that she was giving. As I trusted her – I agreed so we could set up manufacturing and get the quality and quantity that WE needed for all of our accounts.
Ms Wizenberg continued to inch her way into the FuzziBunz structure – during this time I (Tereson Dupuy) myself and without any help from her invented the now “One Size Diaper” using the replaceable elastic system that is now PATENT PENDING which we WILL defend once it is granted. Although people close to me told me “do not trust her – do not trust her” I listened and insisted she would never take my ideas and make her own (although honestly I thought the same). I ignored my own instincts and those of others for the sake of not wanting to “assume” anything negative. Again, I see the positive and good in people more so than the bad. I should have listened. But she was a manipulator to the highest degree so I bought into “you can trust me Tereson” mantra.
Not soon after we started manufacturing in China we started seeing problems with our PUL delaminating. As our AGENT she should have made good on that. She REFUSED to admit any fault on her part and left us stuck replacing over and over and over again bad PUL – which we continue to do and honor to this day as we DO believe in customer service and making what is wrong right. We decided at that point to go “Factory Direct” using an in house agent to take care of our account there – we have been VERY pleased with that and we eliminated the 15% agent fee and have been able to make our diapers more affordable now for our retailers.
We have also worked directly with the factory to fix the PUL problem – something that we (the factory and I) accomplished.
Shortly after ABC last year – and due to many factors that I will not go into – suffice it to say “irreconcilable differences” we (I) decided to go our different ways. I had a feeling that she would come out with her own “pocket diaper” brand and try to compete with FuzziBunz – however I did not think she would stoop so low as to copy our One Size design.
She is now making a brand IN THE SAME FACTORY that is making FuzziBunz (whole other story) and is using OUR numbered and replaceable elastic system and she is MARKETING THIS TO YOU! as the CHARLIE BANANA brand. You will also see from her a direct knock off of our hanging diaper bags, diaper totes and wipes. The factory is just embroidering her logo on the products instead of mine.
Now, to answer your question no I am not happy with the manufacturer and I am dealing with that in my own way. However the best thing that YOU can do to help is to say NO to CHARLIE BANANA! There is already so much competition amongst diaper companies in the states – but at least I can say that we are all somewhat respectful to one another not to clearly just take the product, take the manufacturer, take the pattern, take the know how, take the material sources and slap another logo on it and contact the accounts of that person and try to sell them the same product. I think Ms Wizenberg underestimates the intelligence, ethics and loyalty of our retailers.
I really am sorry to have to write and send this email. It is sad that everything that people “assumed” and “expected” about this person has come to fruition and even worse! I don’t want you to do business with this person because she blatantly and with no remorse has stolen from me but moreover because she lies, cheats and will never back up any warranty that you may bring her way. You don’t deserve that.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. And I would appreciate moreover, your support in this matter.
With Kindest Regards,
Tereson Dupuy, CEO