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Companies that stole our products

Hello! My name is Shelly Sahi and I would like to share with you my story. I own a small business called Sahi Cosmetics and recently my company’s rights have been stepped on. I posted a TikTok about Ulta stealing my product and it blew up on TikTok (12 million views and counting). Since then, there has been a lot of misinformation about what a small business can do to fight for their rights.
 
I launched the Sahi Cosmetics Diamond Treatment Lip Balm in April 2018. I used the funds I won from several business competitions to create a truly unique formula that I own rights for. 
 
In the fall of 2018, I was meeting potential investors in the greater Chicago area and I figured I would reach out to an S-VP who was a former Ford employee and Ross School of Business alum (we have both of those in common).  I went to Ulta’s HQ to meet her, present my products, and make a new friend. Going to Ulta’s HQ and receiving such great feedback on my products was one of the best experiences of my life.
 
I brought extra products to give as gifts to the emerging brands team. I was later connected with that team via email and subsequently shipped more of my products to them again at a later time. In the end, Ulta decided not to move forward with selling my products.  
 
I had such a wonderful experience with Ulta even though we didn't end up venturing into a business relationship.  I was completely shocked when I saw Ulta had created a copy of my lip balm with a third party manufacturer.  As you can see in my video, I was visibly shaken.  I was not expecting, in a million years, that Ulta would copy my product that they received several times.  
 
Ulta released this product in Winter of 2019, over a year and a half after I released my product.   
 
My products have been copied before.  In August of 2020, I found out that Beauty Blender copied my Mystic Primer Serum. This is still an ongoing lawsuit: https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/37924042/SAHI_COSMETICS_LLC_v_READEEMING_BEAUTY,_INC_DBA_BEAUTYBLENDER 
 
@shellysahi

Posted this the day after my husbands birthday because I didn't want him to know how sad I was. I'm feeling better today! ##foryou ##storytime ##makeup

♬ original sound - Shelly Sahi
 
I am not the first small business to experience this, and sadly, I am not the last.   I’m leaving my journey on record for other small businesses that need help in this arena.
 
It is important to bring shady business practices into the light.  Shining a light on shady business practices should make them vanish.  Without the public uproar, big brands continue to get away with stealing from indie brands. I have many beauty founders in my network and so many have come to me, telling similar stories of product copying, idea stealing, etc. It happens so often in the beauty space. 
 
I am sharing my story with the hope that: 1) big brands will be hesitant to steal from indie brands because the stories no longer exist in the shadows; and 2) my story will help another small brand stand up for itself and not succumb to the fear and false logic that because a big brand has deep pockets, there is nothing the small brand can do. I will call out, and continue to call out, any company that steps on my rights.  If a company is interested in something I own, why not just reach out and ask for collaboration instead of stealing it?  Wouldn’t this be the better way to go?
 
Please check out the original products, made by our family-run business, Sahi Cosmetics:

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