rosa pomar + oilily: blatant ripoff?

by kath_red on 25/03/2009

in Community + Creativity, Features

Rosa Pomar, who has been selling her gorgeous handmade soft fabric dolls online for more than five years, contacted me over the weekend to let me know that dolls, very similar to her distinctive trademark dolls, have been seen for sale on the Oilily website as part of a baby bedset collection. Rosa’s dolls are widely known and have been widely featured both online and through magazines. She has put a lot of effort into her handmade at home business and seeing a big company seemingly copying them like this without regard is terrible.

rosa pomar doll

Below is the Oilily version – the similarity in the face is unmistakable, however the quality appears to be infinitely inferior. daddytypes posted about this issue here, and one of the comments implies that Rosa might be copying Oilily, which Rosa has found very offensive and totally unfounded.


Rosa says:

I have just found out that Oilily is currently selling a baby set (girls big supersoft gift set) as part of their Summer 2009 collection that includes an almost EXTACT COPY of my doll. I was always an admirer of Oilily’s style and still can’t believe they’re doing this. Apart from the doll, they are using my design on the set’s package, doll’s tag AND the fabric used for the babies clothes.

What can we do? Well emailing Oilily at might be an action for people to take – to let them know that its not ok to rip off indie [or any] designer’s work. If you have any info you can write directly to Rosa to offer your support rosapomar[at]

Greg at DaddyTypes sums it up:

The idea of a [toy] with flower eyes predates both companies, but Oilily’s bunny has morphed over time, and the latest incarnation is a clone of Pomar’s, from the ears to the face to the fabric to the tag. Interestingly, within a few hours of posting this, I’ve heard from at least two designers who have had unambiguous IP conflicts with Oilily, and both were basically told to shove it; if they want to, they can sue. Pomar’s situation is clear in some ways, complicated in others, but the reality–that she’s a lone creator feeling ripped off by a global corporation, who has little or no chance of restitution–I think that has never been in doubt. You just note it and move on.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lemon Tree Tami March 25, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I hate hearing about yet another large corporation taking advantage of the design talent from indie designers. I think that Rosar Pomar should get an attorney to send a cease & desist letter to Oilily. If it’s too much money she should request donations from the online art/craft community. I for one would be willing to donate money for such a worthy cause.


2 Rosie March 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I too would be willing to support legal action against them with my $. Here is a letter that I sent to the company at the e-mail address you provided. Feel free to copy/modify as you see fit.

Dear Oilily representative,

I am writing on behalf of myself, Rosa Pomar and the international community of artisans to say that we recognize your blatant intellectual property theft and it will not be tolerated. As a business woman I am aware of how negative word of mouth affects a business and rest assured that the international community will be using such a tool against you in defense of Ms. Pomar.

I sincerely hope that you will withdraw this offensive product and pay royalties to Ms. Pomar in an act of contrition. If you are unwilling to take such a course of action then I will support Ms. Pomar and any other artist who you have illegally robbed of their property in a lawsuit against you.



3 amanda March 25, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Wow! This is such an obvious copy of Rosa’s work. Thank you, Kath (and Rosa!) for bringing it to our attention and giving us the tools for action, too!


4 Andi March 25, 2009 at 10:35 pm

A friend went through much the same thing in January with a major supply catalog in our field. She engaged the services of Browning-Smith, P.C. and has had nothing but good things to say about them. Their website and blog have a great deal of information that may be useful to artisans and crafters going through similar situations.


5 steph March 26, 2009 at 12:56 am

This is so disappointing, even though I’m jaded enough from seeing this lack of integrity before. I think the best thing you can do right now is spread the word, which will spread like wildfire among the crafting and indie arts community (which, ironically, is a major fraction of the Oilily consumer base). In turn, anyone else with any integrity will boycott the flagrant copycats. Indeed, Rosa made this her trademark design.


6 sara bizarro March 26, 2009 at 4:55 am

this is absurd and illegal. i hope this company takes that product off the shelves imediatlly!


7 Zelia March 26, 2009 at 6:03 am

Shame, shame on them:(
If you ever saw a Real Rosa P+omar doll, you can tell imediately how badly they’ve done theirs. It seems, they can’t even copy right!


8 ana March 26, 2009 at 6:11 am

what oilily is doing is absurd, in so many levels. why would hurt their fan base by ripping the same artists that use their products?
i hope the backslash teaches them a lesson.


9 gl. March 26, 2009 at 6:21 am

shame on oilily! :(


10 jolene martin March 26, 2009 at 6:48 am

How terrible. You can bet if it was the other way round and Rosa had copied them they would have her in court quick smart. Disgusting behaviour but sadly not at all surprising.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


11 batixa March 26, 2009 at 8:36 am

Oilily describe themselves as:
“As we believe so passionately in the transformative powers of creativity, imagination, and craft, you can be sure our extensive range is always original, eclectic, high quality, and upbeat.”
in their website…
This is shocking!


12 Elizabeth March 26, 2009 at 9:23 am

I’m an obsessive crafter/sewer who moonlights as a copyright lawyer. :-) It would be worth looking at the Ty v. GMA accessories case which seems very similar (GMA copied Ty’s plush toy) although it was in the US and from what I can tell both Rosar and Oilily are in Europe. I would think there are many lawyers who would take Rosar’s case on a contingency basis so that she can have her day in court. With the rapid increase in which people are publishing art on the internet (anything from homemade videos to crafts) there is a real need for clarity and workable enforcement in this area.


13 lorchick March 26, 2009 at 11:01 am

I think we should all take the time to email this company, and spread the word on the net. The squeaky wheel gets the grease – if hundreds and hundreds of complaints and boycotts pour in, they HAVE to do SOMETHING.


14 esther March 26, 2009 at 11:08 am

This so awful! Oilily used to be small once too and original…. too bad!


15 geranium kiss March 26, 2009 at 11:44 am

Thanks so much for posting this information.
I just sent an email. If I had an active blog right now I would post it. Perhaps if enough bloggers post it and request their blogrole to do the same oililly will be inundated with emails explaining that they have just lost another customer- and another- and another- and another.
In the end of course they just won’t care and nothing will be done but it doesn’t hurt for them to know people are aware of it.
I suggested they should at least pay the designer something for all the work they did and give them credit for it.
yeah, right.
I’d post my email but its loooong.

Anyway, if everyone passes it on and they pass it on it shouldn’t be too hard to send off severl hundred- even a thousand or more emails.

Thanks again


16 Elizabeth March 26, 2009 at 12:31 pm

wow. what a disappointment . i’ve always been a fan even thought i can’t afford their stuff. so sad. and so ridiculous.


17 Eerika March 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Ugh, that’s awful!
Shame, shame on Oilily! I hope Rosar will be able to get justice.


18 Shanna March 26, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I emailed Oilily too. I think being ripped off is the fear of any designer with a unique and special product. They shouldn’t be able to take advantage of Rosar this way.


19 jessica m. March 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Terribly sad, and frankly, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. Giant corporations like this know that even if taken to court, most struggling artists will take a settlement and sign a gag order, rather than be dragged through the mud and bankrupted in order to prove their point. As the handmade ‘revolution’ continues, I suspect we’ll be seeing more and more toys, clothes, furniture, recipes, fabric ripped off and sold at stores we used to think were great places.


20 neftos March 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm

it is a sad episode.


21 kath_red March 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm
22 Pumpkinbear March 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

Another thing all of us with blogs can do is post about Rosar–we can talk about the Oilily situation, but also just talk about how awesome Rosar and her stuff are, support her by giving her lots of extra exposure and advertising.


23 Sara March 27, 2009 at 9:29 am

I sent a short, to the point email to Oilily. This is shameful.

Dear Oilily:

I’ve been reading about your blatant stealing of Rosar Pomar’s work. Word is getting around.

Please change your practices and start supporting independent artists and crafters instead of ripping them off. You owe her restitution for stealing her designs. In the future, partner with an artist before mass manufacturing their work.


24 Marta Mendes March 27, 2009 at 9:39 am

it is really a shame and we hope rosa gets justice because it’s sad that big companies get profits from others work, so sad


25 Miss Boule March 27, 2009 at 9:43 am

Thanks for sharing this info, it is very important to support this creator. I am myself doing some puppets (at local and humble level) and I am already very careful regarding this copyright matter.


26 Marga March 27, 2009 at 9:49 am

It’s disgunting and I hope that Rosa take them to court.
Thanks to Rosy for providing a copy of her letter. I used it and added “Why do you do this? Don’t you have good designers to develop totally new concepts instead stealing from independent artists?”
I think Oilily should receiced tons of letters and feel overwhelmed with disgrace and embarrassment.


27 Prunila March 27, 2009 at 10:57 am

Very sad. And Oilily is really ugly compared with her design, they must be blind or loose lots of money with the crisis! Why they don’t ask her to make agood design instead “for them”? cheaper that way?


28 umademim March 27, 2009 at 11:08 am

This is such an obvious copy of Rosa’s work. :(
she has her work and the entire process registated on her blog…since her first doll.


29 patricia March 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

yuk! that’s a horrible copy…and i truly believe what goes around comes around…that being said, when people see rosa’s authentic work and how beautiful it is compared to that rather shoddy copy,i would expect rosa to have a tough time keeping up with orders…as for oililly…times are tough for big biz and they really oughta watch the karma scene cuz from the looks of it so far, sounds like they’re blowing it big time…


30 Blackberry March 27, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Talk to Jinny Beyer and learn what she did to fight her quilt design rip-off!


31 Anna March 28, 2009 at 6:10 am

There is a facebook group now in support of Rosa. Oilily will be able to see how much support there is for her if lots of people sign up to it:


32 Lucia March 28, 2009 at 7:09 am



33 planeter March 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

good thing is i never heard about oilily and well after this i will make sure not to buy anything from this company by checking the label. and in the days i will pass by an oilily shop in case i feel happy and full of patience, i may distribute some flyers explaining people the kind of company they are buying from and basically spread the word.
and come on… that copy is so awful.


34 Donna Maria @ Indie Business March 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Rosar: I am sorry to hear of your plight. While I can’t draw any conclusions about whether their doll is a copy of yours because I’ve never seen either in person, it seems to me that you could use a PR strategy of your own. Maybe create a video summarizing your position, then posting it to YouTube, your blog and elsewhere. See where it goes. You never know who might pick up the story and run with it, including customers of your company and the other company. They just might take notice of that faster than a lawsuit and it won’t cost you any money. I wish you the best!


35 Nita March 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

This is saddening. Rosa’s work is original and her blog is a bright spot in my day. Boo Oilily!


36 Jen R March 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm

What a out getting the word out and having bloggers post about it and post a boycott??? Maybe if they found out they were getting terrible press, they would do something. It could even be a news story.As artisans, we have to protect ourselves and each other.


37 Jeanne B. March 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm

It’s just so wrong.


38 juliecreus March 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm

dear rosa,
this is terrible- i really feel for you. i was an oilily fan for about the last 10 years, mistakenly thinking that they were a leader in originality. now i wonder how many other artists they have ripped off!! i am boycotting oilily indefinitely and asking everyone i know to do the same.
i am writing a letter to oilily, and hope many othrs do the same.
i agree with the previous post that you should launch a campaign on youtube to start with. i also think you should sue, if possible.
oilily stinks!!!!


39 Cara March 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I just read about this through Skout. I think it’s appalling these companies believe they can get away with it because they are ‘only’ ripping off small competitors. I will be writing to them to let them know how I feel, and spreading the word about this as well.


40 Stash March 30, 2009 at 11:46 am

Oilily just lost another fan. If Oilily can’t come up with original ideas, then they shouldn’t be in the business of selling themselves as creative and unique. This is a big enough issue between small artists but for a large company, it seems even more shameful and callous.


41 graygoosie March 31, 2009 at 2:10 am

I now someone who had a picture stolen from flickr and used as Anthropolgie’s catalog cover shot for their Christmas email. ugh!


42 geek+nerd March 31, 2009 at 11:20 am

This is terrible, and it’s clear from the photo that the quality of Rosa’s dolls was lost in translation. Stuff like this makes me feel ill. You’d think that a large company like that would have a creative team that could come up with something original. Sheesh.


43 susie March 31, 2009 at 2:13 pm

there is a website that shows this kind of stuff happens all the time. You should post it there.


44 Joana March 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm

:O! I am really sad about this… I was a huge fan (and buyer) of Oilily clothes. I never thought they would do such a thing. They have lost a client.


45 Su March 31, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I don’t think we shoul “just note it and move on” as Greg suggest it. This kind of situation should be taken to consequences.


46 maria April 10, 2009 at 4:26 am

juste to say boycott oilily, it’s a shame what is hapenning, it’s obvious that is a copy of rosa pomar


47 Bárbara WM Ferreira April 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm



48 Patti November 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I feel for her but it happened to me too. I was creating original designs for children – boutique type clothing and selling on Ebay a few years ago. I created a really cute ruffled skirt using tulle net enclosed by ribbon in three coordinating colors which were sewn on the “outside” of the skirt – I was the first to do it. Anyway, about 2 months later I see my design being used by Baby Lulu. It happens. Can I prove she stole my idea? No. Rather than be angry, I just took it as a compliment.

There really are no true original ideas – we see things and they seep into our subconscious and we create. The only way to keep your ideas safe is to copyright them – then you might have a chance but it’s a long involved process.


49 Vicki May 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm

This is a blantant ripoff – though clearly an inferior copy. Doesn’t do much for the artist to know that – I know. As a designer myself, I constantly fear this indignity. A friend of mine tried this approach: Small company says to large company – say something like this- “clearly you like my work. How about if we collaborate on the next project and share the profits?” It may be the only way to get any closure on it. Shame on them. I’m emailing them now.


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