The collection that put our small business into the spotlight, is our beloved Zodiac Collection. One of our most popular and recognised designs and collections as of late, the Zodiac Collection has now become a huge part of S-kin Studio’s brand identity. With all this success also came controversy, with many replicas of our original 12 zodiac pendant and necklace designs seen sold on various online shopping platforms and markets, such as Aliexpress, Facebook Market Place, Depop, Vintage Market Stalls, and more.
We understand that not everyone is aware that our founder, Chi Mai, is the creator of the original Zodiac necklace designs. Therefore, we would like to share the design and manufacturing process, and the legal actions taken to create the Zodiac Collection you may know and love today.
EARLY 2019: DESIGNING OUR ORIGINAL ZODIAC COLLECTION
Chi posted an Instagram story on the S-kin Studio Jewelry Instagram account (@skinstudioj_) asking our followers if they were interested in a Zodiac Collection featuring Hannah’s (of Twinewood Studio) illustrations. The response to that story was overwhelming, with many of our followers excited by the idea of an original Zodiac Collection.
By March 2019, Chi and Hannah completed the first iteration of the Zodiac Pendant Necklaces.
The first iteration of the Zodiac Pendant featured an enamel effect engraving on a large straight-edged rectangle pendant, with the zodiac sign name below in a sans serif font.
From the first CAD illustration, Chi and Hannah made some alterations to the design and asked our Instagram followers again what they prefer the final design to be.
The final Original Zodiac Pendant Necklace design:
- The outlines of the illustration were the only areas engraved
- The text below the illustration is now handwritten, not typed with the sans serif font anymore
- The pendant is a hand-drawn irregular edge and is more of an asymmetrical/organic rectangle
- The size of the pendant is smaller
- An addition of a circle mini pendant with an engraved zodiac sign fixed on the side of the chain
- Made from 18K Gold Fill
The hand-drawn engravings and asymmetrical and organic rectangular-shaped pendant are the key features that differentiate the Original Zodiac Pendant Necklace from the replicas. Each 12 zodiac sign pendants are produced from 12 separate moulds, hence the irregular rectangular pendants are also unique to each zodiac sign.
MID 2019: PRODUCTION OF OUR ORIGINAL ZODIAC COLLECTION
By late June, the manufacturing of the final Zodiac Pendant Necklace designs was underway.
Due to its hand-drawn and organic design, each of the 12 zodiac pendants is produced from 12 individual moulds. These moulds are custom to us and our manufacturer, and are also a costly and time-consuming process. This is why most replicas of our Original Zodiac Pendant designs are made from a standard rectangle pendant or cut out the same way to look irregular. The engravings of the replicas are shallow and thin like an etching, in comparison to our Original Zodiac Pendants with thicker and deeper engraving. But the biggest tell-tale sign is the way the zodiac name is written.
Behind each mini circular side pendant, features our brand name/logo, S-kin Studio. However, it is to note that most of the businesses that sell replicas of our Original Zodiac Pendant Necklaces also use our product, campaign, and social media images and content. This is why knowing these unique key details and processes of our Zodiac Collection is the best way to immediately distinguish the original from the fakes.
Production for the first batch of our final Zodiac Pendant designs was completed by early August 2019. The Zodiac Collection Waitlist was then released soon after.
The Zodiac Collection Campaign was photographed by Lily Hunter, modelled by Ella Barry, and with the creative direction of our founder, Chi Mai.
SEPTEMBER 2019: ORIGINAL ZODIAC COLLECTION LAUNCH
On September 11, the Zodiac Collection was officially live and available to purchase online. The overwhelming and positive support from our devoted customers, who played a big part in the decision-making in the design process, was truly a special and memorable moment for our small business. This collection was the one that helped our small business grow and gain more customers, followers and interest in our jewellery, ethics and brand. Ever since the launch of Zodiac, the Collection is now considered an S-kin Studio staple and is very much a part of our brand identity.
2020: THE FIRST REPLICA & LEGAL ACTION
The first replica of our Original Zodiac Collection designs appeared in early 2021 on Aliexpress. Many listings then soon followed after. Since websites like Aliexpress are notorious for their incredibly inexpensive replicas of original branded products, our founder Chi turned a blind eye in hopes that customers who do seek quality, ethical and sustainable jewellery would eventually find their way to us, the original designers of the Zodiac Pendant Necklaces. It may have been the case for some, but the replica listings soon spread onto other various online shopping platforms, where ignoring was no longer an option.
It wasn’t long until another Jewelry business started selling stolen replica designs of our Original Zodiac Collection. We were made aware of this business through an Instagram direct message from one of our followers. We made this finding known on our Instagram via stories, informing our customers that those products were stolen designs, and are not from the Original Zodiac Collection. This business, which was also small and based in Melbourne, then claimed that these designs were originally theirs and had threatened to sue our small business for defamation due to the Instagram stories we made. Chi took this accusation seriously, and finally proceeded to take legal action.
FEBRUARY 2021: ORIGINAL ZODIAC COLLECTION TRADEMARKED
Due to the legal accusation from the Melbourne jewellery business in 2020, Chi filed for Intellectual Property Trademark for all 12 Zodiac Pendant Designs, alongside the sun and moon illustration on the back in Australia. By February 2021, 11 of the 13 IP submissions were approved.
(Leo and Virgo were unapproved due to the name ‘Leo’ and ‘Virgo’ already being trademarked under the jewellery category. However, since we have the sun and moon illustration trademarked, any Leo and Virgo Zodiac Necklace replica with the sun and moon illustration on the back immediately infringes our trademark)
Our Original Zodiac Necklace has been replicated and sold all over the world, therefore coming after these international businesses is quite difficult, and is a massive financial toll on our small business. This growing list of retailers selling our stolen original designs truly affects our small business, with many claims of us being the perpetrators when we are in fact, the victim of trademark infringement. Unfortunately, this is a common problem many small businesses face, with larger brands and retailers stealing their original designs without consent. We can try our best to inform our customers about these fake listings and hope that they can also spread the word to others.
If you spot a S-kin Studio Zodiac Collection replica being sold online or in-store, please send us an email via email@example.com and also report them to help our small business stop the spread of our stolen designs.