Executive Briefings

Found on Instagram, Sold on Alibaba: Even the Smallest Brands Are Now Victims of Counterfeiting

Team Dream is a small business by most any measure. The quirky cycling apparel brand has just five employees. It produces only about 100 pieces of each garment and operates out of a converted gas station in San Marino, where a closet-sized nook doubles as both a fulfillment center and R&D lab.

Found on Instagram, Sold on Alibaba: Even the Smallest Brands Are Now the Victims of Counterfeiting

Its founder, Sean Talkington, has taken in no outside investment and only applied for his first credit card a few years ago because his bank told him he needed one to operate a retail store.

"We're a blip," Talkington said.

So it came as a shock one day to learn that Team Dream clothing was being counterfeited and sold on a major Chinese e-commerce site.

Piracy was a problem that befell big brands such as Nike and Adidas, Talkington thought, not upstarts like Team Dream, which has no advertising budget and got its start selling clothes out of a 1970 Volkswagen bus.

But there it was, a cheaper facsimile of Team Dream's U.S.-made $135 "Thin Stripe Long Sleeve" jersey for sale on Taobao, China's premier online shopping site owned by Alibaba, for about half the price.

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Its founder, Sean Talkington, has taken in no outside investment and only applied for his first credit card a few years ago because his bank told him he needed one to operate a retail store.

"We're a blip," Talkington said.

So it came as a shock one day to learn that Team Dream clothing was being counterfeited and sold on a major Chinese e-commerce site.

Piracy was a problem that befell big brands such as Nike and Adidas, Talkington thought, not upstarts like Team Dream, which has no advertising budget and got its start selling clothes out of a 1970 Volkswagen bus.

But there it was, a cheaper facsimile of Team Dream's U.S.-made $135 "Thin Stripe Long Sleeve" jersey for sale on Taobao, China's premier online shopping site owned by Alibaba, for about half the price.

Read Full Article

Found on Instagram, Sold on Alibaba: Even the Smallest Brands Are Now the Victims of Counterfeiting