Friday, October 03, 2014

unhealthy competition

Recently as I was helping a friend get help for her escalating anxiety disorder, I was reminded of my last anxiety attack.  I would wake up in palpitations and shortness of breaths with a dreaded sinking feeling in my chest. Despite all I've learned in medical school, I felt incapable of accurately deciphering what was happening to my own body. I even had to have my colleague perform an ECG on me much to her amusement given that my age (not yet 30 at the time) skewed way off the epidemiology.

At the time I was immensely troubled by Bisou BonBon competitors who pretty much replicated our product line with their own 'twist' *rolls eyes* namely some distortion to the formulation, name play etc. Even when the idea of filling in a market gap was unbeknownst to me, I was already developing products that were fairly strangers to the local market. I believe this was why ChicPop (market ran by Tongue in Chic back in the good ole days well known in the early years for their well-rounded and quality selection of vendors) gave me a chance to showcase my products. I'm going to give you an example of many. Sure, I'm no creator of lotions and potions but I was quite sure at the time when I made plans for Mozzie-A-GoGo that there was not a locally-accessible insect-repelling balm. I know this because I was looking for one.. that and my customers tell me that they've never seen a product quite like Mozzie-A-GoGo at the time when I first introduced it. People don't realize the amount of labour I put into making a product and how every perspective pertaining to MAGG has been through a thought process right to it's tube packaging because I'm highly aware of the pungent and unrelenting scent of citronella. OK fine you will have to excuse the label as I was, and am still, relatively rubbish with design and thought hundreds of stars encapsulating the product name would make it appear more awesome! I know better now LOL. I digress. Anyhoots a week after (right to this moment) I 'launched' my product, I found similar products appearing on competing shelves with names in the spirit of warding away insects just shy of the word GoGo. That is just snarky. Having invested all the time, money and effort I spent to develop this product only to watch them 'decide' and 'select' which of my products they'd have as their version.. well that.. That enraged me. I welcome competition but this was not the sort of healthy competition I had in mind. I thought that people would return the respect I have for their business. I do mine and you do yours. If I know you're selling bricks, I'll sell cement. 

I was an imbecile. 

Business is not kind. Business is envy. Business is doing what you have to make a profit. Business is taking your product, adding or subtracting an element, giving it a name spin and placing it on their counter as something they've thought of long ago. I was unable to comprehend this concept back then, the ignorant idealist that I was. People attempted to comfort me with thoughts that imitation is the highest form of flattery and I, too, tried to accept this corrupted concept of competition as a way to step up my game but what people don't understand is that it is tiring to constantly have to formulate ways to set myself apart from competitors. Another irk of mine is mimicking the 3 scents I carry in my body scrubs. Could they be anymore original? Now that I'm riled up, how about calling their label organic or natural without understanding the concept of an organic product? I've had people get put off purchasing my products all the time when I reply that my items, albeit natural, is not organic. I'm OK with that because it is the truth and it's alright if this is not what they're looking for. I wish Bisou BonBon could be an organic label but I can't afford it for now. In order to call a product organic, each and every single ingredient used in the product has to have an organic certification coming from a reputable body say USDA. One (or a couple for that matter) organic ingredient(s) makes a label organic NOT. Apart from that let's also hope that those who place gigantic 100% natural signs next to their melt-and-pour soap is well aware that petroleum-based glycerin does NOT make the cut and neither does vegetable glycerin soap bases containing SLES. Abusing the 'natural' / 'organic' terminology is not cool. To stake such claim, it is unethical to plead ignorance. 

I could rant forever but there is no point but to move on as we should from circumstances that pain us (or give us anxiety attacks heh). Either that or go on offensive and beat them at their own game, guns ablazing! 

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