“Imitation is the best form of flattery”
We’d like to think so. But it damn sure don’t feel good >.<
Hi yah かわいい + creative family!
I am swinging thru to document the blatant rip off of community building efforts with DC KawaiiStyle … ROYALLY!
First, let me apologize if this seems catty or petty in any way.
TRUST me, a solid account of what is happening will be needed.
Second, I hope you’re ready to learn a lesson with me! (‘cuz that’s exactly what I plan to turn this into)
What’s The Dill, Pickle?!
Recently, I’ve discovered that the founder of a forming entity in DC has taken image from my overall personal brand + ideas from within DC KawaiiStyle to repurpose as her own.
I can now say this definitively from comparing a few receipts that I will share as points, here, later. And for the purpose of making my actions crystal clear, we won’t address speculation of stealing from my personal brand. (the operative word would be speculation ^.^)
Instead, I would like to say that this is necessary because in founding DC KawaiiStyle, I asked that people TRUST me – trust the vision, trust the process, trust me with your wants/ desires/ feels for more kawaii in DC!
So sitting back, staying quiet and hoping this simply fizzles out may not be the most effective if I truly want community members to know thatI’d go to bat to protect the safe space that we’e created, together ❤
That shared, my only goal for this post right now is
-for DC KawaiiStyle members and other related communities
-to creatives who build from the heart and have not considered protecting their IP
-of help needed by fellow community leaders/ professionals/ peers who may have insight to helpful resources beyond our own and willing to help form the barrier of legal protection that DC KawaiiStyle will need going forward
Snakes in the Grass
A Timeline that Leads to Blatant
Lying, Phishing + Repurpose of Ideas from a Closed Community
This is a LOT of back and forth so I’ve created a simple timeline, but please feel free to compare notes for your own assessment
Please note that I didn’t do my own due diligence on 9/12/ 2018 but including compared info + dates that lead up to my follow-up investigation.
Entity in question messages to request info of upcoming meet-ups
*Imani replies 2 days later*
Entity in question solicits known community member and seems to know nothing of DC KawaiiStyle
Imani replies to entity with info about 2 upcoming meet-ups
*see above text on 8/23*
DCKS @ HK Cafe Truck Meet, advisement of solicitation begins *here*
9/8 Entity in question confirms coming to the casual meet by way of messenger but asks if it is for admins only …
Imani makes announcement to community of actions that have ZERO tolerance, to which entity in question responds
Things like no solicitation of community members and rules for collaborating have never been thoroughly outlined. In THREE years as an umbrella community, we have never had this issue so it’s never been addressed. *kanye shrug*
So the first and most important action step was to address the community – entirely, to make everyone aware that there is ZERO tolerance for such behavior ~
On the post, Inami responds, however this was to no single person since due diligence wasn’t done on my part.
Thinking that this was passive and only directed at her, she rants on her personal FB page …
Imani begins to do FULL due diligence
Due to the questionable findings (see ALL above), I thought it best to block Inami from all DCKS properties.
Something told me to search my brand properties thoroughly and sure enough, she was seated at my connected blog, FB public figure page, art fan page and one of my entrepreneurship pages.
In this day + age of digital life, its not uncommon to show up on multiple platforms of a single person/ brand.
However what I DO find strange is that we’ve never met and beyond quick questions about meet-ups, a conversation in 2016 (her name wasn’t Inami then) for admittance into Metro Lolitas and a brief chat about a meet-up idea + support … she doesn’t strike me as a person who was an authentic fan of my efforts.
Call it a hunch 🤷🏾♀️
As I sat and thought about effective + pro-active damage control, I posted about my observations on personal Facebook …
only to be approached with feedback of ill feelings about similar observation and speculation of the entity’s true intentions while sharing in kawaii life ^.^
Without a doubt, Inami thinks we have something to gain with “Kill Mimi” efforts.
Truth is … putting energy into attacking or falsely accusing someone of something is far more harmful. And I just don’t move that way ~
But what we not gon’ do is act as if any of this is ok – for us as kawaii lovers, black women, and/ or creative entrepreneurs.
I’m notorious for challenging ANYone who looks like me to do better. And I’m even more harsh if you are a proclaimed business person. I expect a certain basic level of fairness.
But if that won’t happen … if you know me then you know that I am no stranger to calling things the way I see them.
I look forward to updating this post with things that I learn to better protect community intellectual property as well as ways to make a digital space a SAFE, warm + welcoming space for everyone there ❤
So please stay tuned and until then, feel free to do your own due diligence for intentionally engagement.
And all that shared-
if you host a community, please be sure to mow your lawns, often clearing out any snakes in the grass.
And do all that you can to keep your community members protected.
Let’s keep in Touch!