Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why I won't buy Hershey's Chocolate this Halloween

M&Ms, Skittles, Starburst, 3 Muskateers,
and Snickers bars are made by M&M Mars
 Baby Ruth, $100,000 Bar, Crunch and
Butterfiner bars are produced by Nestle USA.

While sitting at my desk working on my computer, I heard my phone chime. Text. Better see who it is. It was Rina.

“Mom, when you go to the store, pick me up a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.TM I need them for a school project.”

Notice the little TM ? I’m scared to death NOT to add that. I probably should link it to the complete trademark information owned by Hershey Corporation.

You see, a few years ago, I started selling card stock on my sight. I love our Pure Luxury TM card stock. It’s thick and sturdy and the colors are just luscious!

One of the colors I introduced early on was a color that I called Chocolate Kiss. I did a little research on the color brown and I found a Mary Kay eyeshadow, a L’Oreal nail polish, a Pittsburg paint, a Roux hair dye and about 500 other products with the color name Chocolate Kiss. And you know what? They all looked like my card stock color! Perfect! That would be the describing name so people would know that my card stock was a rich dark chocolate brown.

Not so fast… A few months later I received a letter from an attorney for the Hershey Corporation. I was to immediately cease and desist from using the name “chocolate kiss” to describe my card stock. They told me the word “Kisses” was owned by the Hershey Corporation.
Really? I can’t say kisses? But I thought they were "Hershey’s Kisses?" And who ever heard of getting a trademark for a word that would encompass every possible use. I can understand if I was selling candy… sure, that might create confusion in the market. But card stock? Come on…

And what about the nail polish, lipstick, hair dye, car paint, wall paint, carpet and the 500 other products I found with the color name Chocolate Kiss?

Well, too bad, so sad. We’re coming after YOU!
And that’s what Hershey Corporation did. They made us immediately change the name of our card stock. Then, they wanted to know how much we sold, what our profit was on each sale and told us they would be willing to “settle” and not take us to court is we gave them every penny of our profit.

Honestly, I was in shock. A tiny little company like mine on the verge of being sued by the Hershey Corporation. We contacted our lawyer. He believed that they didn’t really have much of a case, especially after he looked at their trademark. It refers to candy, not card stock, or paint, or nail polish, or hair dye or anything else. Just confections.

But, it would cost a TON of money to fight them. And they didn’t care a bit about money. They had tons of it to spend. We had groceries to buy and children to take care of and employees who needed a job. So we settled. We paid every penny of our profit to the Hershey Corporation. It wasn't very much, but it was enough to hurt a little guy.
Pretty sad, huh? Big business going after a tiny mom and pop over something that wouldn’t change their sales one little bit.

So about that text from Rina? Yeah. I HATED buying that bag of Hershey’s “kisses.” Oh, and I bought a bag of chocolate for myself to balance it out. M&Ms. Since Halloween is right around the corner, I think I know who I’m not supporting. 

My friend Lydia Fielder made this comment on my facebook post:

While I do understand protecting the brand and making sure people don't make money off your brand building work, there needs to come a time in this country when we start using our brains and hearts and handshakes again and stop using our freaking lawyers. The only people who really make a killing are the attorneys. I really am stunned that they wouldn't just politely ask you not to use the name and then if you refused, do something stronger.

I think Lydia nailed it on the head. It is not my intention to hurt their business with this post. (I know I don't have that kind of power anyway!) And I don't begrudge anyone who buys their products. They make great things.

But why is it that these corporations want to come at you this way. Why not say, "Hey, I know you're a small company. Maybe you didn't know that we own the word "kisses." Please change the name of your card stock so we can protect our brand and we don't have to pursue this any further."

Even if I thought they were wrong about the word "kisses," and I do, I still would have changed the name to avoid any issues. The name really wasn't that important to me. It didn't help me sell card stock, it was just a description. All they had to do was ask. Maybe they will just ask the next guy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Release Preview Blog Hop

Good Morning!

We are so excited about our new release and we can't wait to party with you at StampTV later this morning! We have lots of fun contests, challenges and a full length release party presentation video.
All the fun starts at 11:00 AM central time right here- StampTV Release Party Forum

This morning, the illustrators and I are featuring the new stamp sets in our New Release Preview Blog Hop!

My first project features a brand new set by Gina K. Designs called Primitive Blessings AND the brand new set by Tami Mayberry called Take Note.

I used the background technique from Tuesday's StampTV video and then, I used the frame and single line stamp from Take Note to help frame out the focal image and greeting from Primitive Blessings.
A closer view shows the two copper brads placed on either side of the straight line image from Take Note. The frame and line stamps from Take Note will not leave my desk top! It's such a fun way to define a focal image and greeting!
The Primitive Blessings stamp set is a great set to make boxed cards to give as gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Cards like these sell very well at craft fairs too!  The greetings and quotes are heartfelt and the images have that crafty folk-art feel that many people love so much!
My second card is the perfect card to send to my daughter who is away at school. Why don't teenagers ever pick up the phone? If you're like me and have a student or other family member or friend who isn't easy to get a hold of, make them a card like this!
You say Goodby and I say Ello is a fun, whimsical stamp set by Becky Oehlers that will get you in touch with friends and family in many different languages! I used the English stamps for my daughter but I will definitely be making her an Italian card soon!
I am in love with this little telephone booth! I think it would be adorable embossed in shiny red!
I added a brad to create a little handle and to create some dimension. Look how nice a clean that image stamps with all of that beautiful detail at the top!
The fabulous group of international greetings in this set can easily be mixed and matched with other image stamps in your collection too, so you can make tons of card for all of your international friends and your friends close to home!
Ready for more? Check out what the illustrators have created with their new stamp sets and then head over to StampTV at 11:00 to watch the full length video presentation and see what I created with the other new sets too! StampTV Release Party Presentation
Start hopping here:
Tami Mayberry
Theresa Momber
Beth Silaika

Enjoy today's presentation and make it a great day!
Gina K.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You're Invited!

(If you can't see the video in your feed or email, click through to the blog to see it there.)

Here is an invitation for you to our September Release Party!

We hope to see you there! But even if you can't make it, all of the fun will stay posted throughout the entire weekend so you have plenty of time to look and play! (But if you can come, please do! It's always SO much fun!!)

Gina K.

The new One free with 3- coming Thursday!

Each month, we release a new set that is free with any order that includes three other stamp sets valued at $19.95 or more. (Three stamp set duos equals ONE regular stamp set toward this promotion.)

This month, I have created the new One free with 3 set called Seasonal Labels. Some of the images can be used with dies and punches and there will be a Silhouette Cut file available for this set as well!

This set will be the perfect addition to you holiday card making toolbox. And the frames can be used with other greetings in your collection as well. So this set will be useful all year long. 
Stay tuned for an invitation to our release party with all of the details. We look forward to hanging out with you and showing you our new collection.
More to come~ Stay tuned!
Gina K.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sneak Peeks 5 & 6

I have two more fun sneak peeks for you today!

First, Tami Mayberry has created a fabulous new stamp set that I am going to use a LOT. I am bound and determined to start scrapbooking again now that school is back in session and this set is going to help me in a BIG way! And I can also create some of my own cards for Project Life using many of the stamps in this set.


And today's second sneak peek is a fun set for all of you who love primitive style art and folk art. With heartfelt greetings and quotes, with a little bit of humor mixed in, this set is perfect for cardmaking and gift giving!

Tomorrow, I will show you a sneak peek of the new One free with 3! It will be one of your most useful sets this holiday season!
More to come~
Gina K.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sneak Peeks 3 & 4

Happy Monday!
Our release party is coming this Thursday and today we have two more sneak peeks for you!

First, the new Christmas Stamp set by Theresa Momber will help you make gorgeous cards this holiday season! So many beautifully hand-drawn options in this set will help you get a jump start on your holiday card making.


And Becky Oehlers will take your card making international! This fun and whimsical stamp set has greetings in a several different languages as well as some adorable images to go along with them!

Stay tuned for more fun sneak peeks tomorrow! And, in case you missed it,  check out Saturday's beautiful sneak peek of Melanie Muenchinger's new set here- Sneak Peek Day 2
Gina K.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sneak Peek Day 2

Everyone LOVES Melanie Muenchinger's Basket series and she has created some amazing stamps to fill those beautiful baskets! Now, Melanie takes you WAY beyond baskets with more exciting containers to use with your basket filling stamps!

More to come~
Gina K.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September Sneak Peeks Have Begun!

Sneak Peek 1

Beth Silaika is starting off the sneak peeks this month with a Wickedly cute stamp set! These images will make fun Halloween treats for the kids at school or daycare, or you can use them to jazz up a few bags of candy to surprise your co-workers! Plus, the solid images will allow you to play with some fun techniques!


More to come! Stay tuned...
Gina K.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Winter Wishes Snowman Card- No Cameo? No problem!

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday, I posted a brand new StampTV Video featuring one of our new Stamp Sets duos, Snowman Wishes and the new Patterned Paper Pack, Winter Whimsy.


To watch the video, click here: Winter Wishes Card Project

The above card features a fun layout showcasing the little snowman standing next to a window. The window was created using the Silhouette Cameo. The snowman was cut using the Cameo, however, it is very easy to cut him with scissors as well.

I know that some of you don't have the Cameo or a window die. So today, I wanted to show you another way to create this card using card stock, patterned paper and your paper cutter.

Here are some step-by-step instructions to make a window of your own.

Step 1

White panel- 4 5/8" X 2 1/2"
Red panel- 4 1/2" X 2 3/8"
4 Snowflake panels- 1" X 2"
Step 2

Step 3
Step 4
Close up
Try making an autumn card by using autumn leaves paper in your window and some pretty pumpkins or a fun scarecrow for your accent piece. I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial. The Cameo is a fabulous machine that I highly recommend, however, most of my cards can be closely reproduced using your paper cutter, punches or dies.
Make it a great day and happy stamping!
Gina K.