Copycat businesses attempting to ride on the coattails of other companies’ success is an “inevitable” part of using Instagram, according to one of the founders of coffee scrub brand Frank Body.
Jess Hatzis, who created the cult body scrub along with co-founders Erika Geraerts, Bree Johnson, Steve Rowley and Alex Boffa two years ago, told SmartCompany that Frank Body has had between “30 or 40” brands attempting to copy its signature coffee body scrub on Instagram during its short lifetime.
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“They are always popping up,” Hatzis says.
“It’s a shame; you pour a lot of love and energy into creating a brand only for someone else to come along and rip it off.”
Frank Body, which is reportedly on track to turn over around $20 million this year, is not alone when it comes to falling victim to copycat businesses online.
Andrea Goulding, the owner of children’s wear label KaPow Kids, told SmartCompany in July she believes larger retailers are “stalking” independent designers via social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest and then copying popular products.
Even supermarket giant Coles has been accused of “piggy-backing” off the success of popular muesli brand, Carman’s.
It’s likely Frank Body’s large Instagram following makes it a prime target for copycat behaviour.
Frank Body’s primary Instagram account, @frank_bod, has more than 660,000 followers, while its secondary account, @frankfeedback, has 71,500 followers.
Hatzis admits she and the other Frank Body founders would spend “a few days” worrying about the copycats “when we were a younger brand” but she says the team have now accepted “it’s the way the world works”.
Instead, Frank Body tries to focus on staying one step ahead of the copycats by getting “bigger and better” and coming up with “new ways to create content ourselves”.
A recent example is Frank Body’s #frankcoffeeart competition, which encourages Frank Body customers to use the body scrubs, and other products in exchange for the chance to win $1000.
“We ask people to create art with the ingredients, such as illustrations,” Hatzis says.
“It gives us content that really stands out.”
Hatzis says as hard as it is for businesses to see their ideas and products copied, the best thing entrepreneurs can do is put their energy into growing their own business.
You have to move on to the next thing,” she says.