Monday, November 8, 2010

The Toga Controversy

WARNING: This is going to be a lengthy entry.

Last weekend, I came across an online photo of my customer wearing a Bright Pink Excluzif Maxi Toga she ordered from me.
That particular photo consisted of 4 ladies (including my customer) all decked in toga dresses.
"Must be some awesome Toga party going on here! How fun!" I thought to myself.


Anyway, uh uh, not getting there yet sisters.
Yeah call me biased but if there was sucha thing as Miss Toga Universe, my customer would win hands down.
Let's just say simplicity is the way to go.
My heart was obviously swelling with pride UNTIL I saw the caption of the photo:

'XXXXX' Designs
For Kids of all Ages and Adults of all Sizes;)

(What the tooooootttttt)

My poor Excluzif Toga was showcased in their collection as well. My poor baby.
That's my mom's hard work in there man, and sadly there wasn't any mention of it. Boo Hoo or what?
I was searching high and low for any mention of 'excluzif'.
*Continues to wail*

I was disappointed.
So I smsed my Papa J's close friend who is a lawyer because I really needed his opinion on this matter.

And this was his sms:

"From a business standpoint, to prevent any insinuations of literal or inferred copyright infringement, it is imperative to attach distinctive photo credits as captions, especially if the photo has been posted under the album specifically entitled: XXXXX Designs.
The absence of a photo credit (in a corporate setting) alludes to a potential intent to misguide clients. In order to prevent any misconstruing of actual circumstances which will lead to possible injunction of the defendant's goods, I would suggest either
i) the attachment of photo credits accorded to the claimant
ii) the total removal of actual content."

Uncle Ling, I am terribly sorry to bother you on a weekend but I am immensely thankful for your prompt response, Sir.

Now, kesian right, photoshoot penat penat, then must remove photo so as per advised by Uncle Ling, I opted for option 1.
I posted this to her:

Hey dear! Hmmm. Am pretty sure the 'toga' you wearing is the one you bought from me over at You also mentioned kid's design here sis. Hmmmm..I would appreciate if you could at least have the decency to credit my terrific tailor's work rather than rip it off as your own design in your 'XXXXX Design'. Cheers!

People, come on, this is not slamming or defaming man. This is constructive feedback. If you want to do business, do it properly leh. If this is your way of doing business, let me tell you this: This is an unethical and a manipulative technique. I know it is ouchyyy buy hey, trust me, in the long run, you're gonna thank me for being harsh. You need to start with the right foot, fellow sister. And because you are operating your business on Facebook as seen by your photo albums, it's only right I cleared the air there so that your clients will not be misled into thinking that MY bright pink Excluzif Maxi toga is part of your collection.

I am just disappointed that you have no qualms about using Excluzif Toga as a marketing tool to promote your newly launched toga collection. This is about integrity, sister and I'm just pointing that across to you so that you will be aware of business ethics and not commit the same mistake in the future. This is not some suka suka group posing fiesta okay...because you're making money out of this. Might I repeat:
With the absence of photo credits, your customers will assume that the bright pink one you were wearing is part of your collection.

And you tweeted: ......"How could a mom do this to another mom?"

Babe, who is the victim here?
It's me lor so quit playing the kesian game can?

My reply to your tweet:
How could a mom to this to MY mom?

Blogging about this can already make me tear.
My mom has been working very hard lately because this time around, the orders have been overwhelming. Ladies, thank you for the support.
Imagining my mom cutting out the cloth, sitting for hours on end at the sewing machine and her works not being credited is just extremely depressing. :(
Try and put yourself in my shoes leh.
And babe, you specifically wanted to receive the toga dress before a certain date. My mother made sure she met your requirements. I, on the other hand, met up with you personally to pass the toga just so that you would have ample time to alter your dress should there be a problem. Sometimes, it truly doesn't pay to be nice.

So ladies, sidetrack. I have asked my mom to step down.

Mom, I appreciate all the hard work and it's only fair that you have your well deserved rest now.

Any of you know of any ladies with the gift of sewing, please do drop me an email.

Ok let's continue.

I warned you already what that this is going to be lengthy.
Where was I?

Ah, please jangan salah anggap sister. All I did was to tegur you to make you wake up. Like I have mentioned I'm not sore that I have a toga competitor. Everyone is entitled to do business, be it original or otherwise. It's great to see another Muslimah igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship. However, my only concern was over the fact that my toga was featured in the photograph meant to promote your 'togas'.

That was my issue.
Other than that, I wish you well and pleeeeassssseeee understand my situation.

I was definitely going to let the matter rest UNTIL I saw another person aka nasi tambah reply to that comment thread.
She was one of the 4 ladies in the online photo.
Let's call her Miss Third Runner Up la ah..

Anyway, would like to shout out a big thank you to my friends for not taking sides, for not creating chaos. Really appreciated the dignified silence. :)
And all praises to Allah for not letting me blow my top/lose my mind and giving me time to sort out my thoughts.

So Miss Toga Universe updated:
Biar Org buat kite, Kite jgn buat Org....Jgn buat tuduhun tanpa usul periksa. Kan dah malu sendiri. Allah selalu disamping Org yg Sabar...

Ler...step champion pulak dekni. Dah menang Miss Toga Universe title tak cukup ke cik kak?

Sister, I should be the one posting this quote instead.
Pssssssst, I am not embarassed my dear. The red faced person should be you,actually.
I just didn't want my emotions to get in the way, that's why my comments 'bordered' on safe.

Okay, back to Miss Third Runner Up...
This was what she posted:

‎"Dear" Ms Nura,

Firstly, do you have patent pending for that "toga" that you sold *Miss Toga Universe*? It sounds like you invented toga. Are you Greek or perhaps, your "terrific tailor"is? Secondly, you bordered on RUDE when you decide to state issues you... have in public (i.e FB)in such a condescending tone ("RIP OFF?!" Oh C'mon!). Now now, we all know who you are. If you had wanted a spotlight, a media platform could be arranged. No reason to put your FULL web-bloggie address and all...........................

I heard ppl can get sued for such acts.Well that's the disappointed me talking. Nonetheless, we should be supporting one another as muslim sisters striving in this competitive business. All these negative undertones, sarcasm and rude remarks are absolutely unnecessary and uncivilized. CHEERS! :)

PS: Did you notice, nobody actually commented on the Toga *Miss Toga Universe* was wearing? :p

Frankly, it was already late at night. I was sure she wanted to ignite the rage in me but I kept my cool (Thank you God!) and replied this:

Dear Miss Third Runner Up,

Miss Toga Universe is truly blessed to have a wonderful and protective friend or cuzzie like you. Yes, although the fashion industry is pretty unrestrained, I am also very much aware that there is patent rights involved. However, the issue here is not that I am upset that I have a toga "competitor". But, it is all about integrity, about showcasing my product to promote 'XXXXX Designs'. That's all, my dear. Cheers!

PS: I am not a Greek. I is Melayu who is trying to maju. *and teaching you how to do it the right way, man!* Peace.

Now, after I clicked on that, somehow, I couldn't control or zap the mental dialogue playing in my head.
I didn't feel relieved because the other side still thinks that there is nothing wrong with the photo.
*Slaps forehead! Tak paham paham!*

I talked to Mr E who was doing his lesson plan and he was obviously pissed and said,"Honey, come on. You always instil upon your fellow pupils and current tutees that if someone is nasty to you, you do not lie down and take it. Practise what you preach babe."

According to Donald Trump, "When you're wronged and you do nothing about it, you aren't 'nice', you're a schmuck."

*Nura J starts to flare her nostrils and roll up the sleeve of her CHILLI RED Excluzif Toga dress*

Now of course I am not going to be baseless, people.

Again, main issue here is solely about the fact that my toga should have been credited in that picture because that picture serves to promote Miss Toga Universe's newly launced tailoring toga business on November 1 2010.

Here, I need to thank my JC literature teachers for teaching me to analyse passages as well as my stint at NIE for teaching me all those comprehension strategies.

So Miss Third Runner Up, cehwah, so you want to sound all knowledgeable huh... talking about patents and suing....You want to play with words, we play.

Time to unpack and analyse your words, sista.

Firstly, do you have patent pending for that "toga" that you sold *Miss Toga Universe*? It sounds like you invented toga. Are you Greek or perhaps, your "terrific tailor"is? Secondly, you bordered on RUDE when you decide to state issues you... have in public (i.e FB) in such a condescending tone ("RIP OFF?!" Oh C'mon!).

Thank you for your comments.

It would be a daunting task for yours truly to address with you the issue of patent rights that provide full and total conceptual ownership, rather than a limited monopoly solely for the incentive to create.

However, if I may highlight, the toga device is a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, specifically created by the Etruscans, and not the Greeks as you have suggested.

Your ascribed values of "rude" and "condescending" with references to particular word choices of mine is duly noted, just as, in general, wearing someone else's piece whilst posing as your own "borders" on being "uncivilized", and possibly "rude" as well, in your own words.

All these negative undertones, sarcasm and rude remarks are absolutely unnecessary and uncivilized.
PS: Did you notice, nobody actually commented on the Toga *Miss Toga Universe* was wearing? :p

Last but not least, your postscript comment that nobody has commented on the pink toga is, again, a low blow that carries "undertones, sarcasm and rude remarks" that "are absolutely unnecessary and uncivilized".

Above all, through that statement, you have, unfortunately, unwittingly implied the admission of the pink toga as one from my collection. Thank you for acknowledging that as MINE! *BEAMS!*

In this case, that seems laughable.

Nevertheless, thank you for the confirmation of my initial concerns of infringing issues and for the testament that I have not defamed anyone.

Ok I'm done.

And alhamdullilah, finally, I can heave a sigh of relief.

To aspiring entrepreneurs, learn from this episode and give credit when due and insyallah, you will go a long way.

To you, really, I wish you well.

If I might add, I suggest you do another photoshoot and just showcase ONLY your collections.

And yes, I saw that you have added caption to the photo:

XXXXX Designs
(except the Bright Pink Toga that Im wearing of cos;)) *ni bukan credit sindir..AGAIN, tak paham paham! Mak nak give up nyahhh!*
For Kids of all Ages and Adults of all Sizes;)

I know I said thanks but then again, in true business ethics, you should have credited excluzif togas.

AGAIN fellow sister, I would like to reiterate that I am not sore that you're my copycat. I am just disappointed that my mom's hard work was not credited.
That's all.

Now that I have addressed this matter, it's time to conquer negative thoughts and feelings such as worry or fear because they destroy focus.
Everything that has happened, ada hikmahnya.
This, I strongly believe.