How Woolworths really operates!

What do you think about the new Woolies plagiarism debacle. Leave your comments below.

Touchee Feelee

Fair warning: This isn’t going to be a happy post, because what’s happened has left me very, very sad.

It’s not easy being a designer, and even less easy being a small, independent designer. You’re constantly having to find a balance between paying your bills, and being true to your art. For most designers, being approached by a big retail chain would sound like a dream come true. Right?


I was approached by the buying head of homeware at Woolworths at the beginning of 2013. (For those of you outside SA, Woolworths is the equivalent of Marks & Spencer or Macy’s.)

A meeting was set up to meet the buying head and another homeware buyer, to discuss having some of my Touchee Feelee range form part of Woolworth’s new “artisan” range. I took samples of all my work to the meeting, and was asked if they could hold on…

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5 thoughts on “How Woolworths really operates!

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  1. I think Roets was either genuinely mistaken, or she wrote the blog because she was angry that WW would not agree to her price and wasted her time and resources. The cushion actually has two hummingbirds on it (Roets does not show the other one), both completely different in style to Roets’ bird. Only the pose of the one bird is similar and could have been referenced from any source on the internet, of which there are many. Roets herself directly copied an easily available and copyrighted photograph belonging to Greg Scott, which she acknowledged only after several commentators pointed it out (she subsequently added the attribution to her painting and deleted all the comments refering to it). One should ask the question: why would WW copy Roets’ bird, changing the style, and then commission an artist to design another one? Why not just do the logical thing and commission one artist to design the cushion which would not require a reference to Roets’ work at all? Also, they approached Roets to submit samples of her work for their small artisanal range, which serves as a showcase for talented designers. The cushion in question is part of their W Collection, an entirely different and mass produced range.

    1. You clearly missed the Frankies plagiarism debacle…..even in that debacle the PR response was to suggest that no design ideas were taken from Frankies iconic bottle design.

      Insisting on attacking Eurodia Roets just highlights the obvious bully tactics used by woolies in dealing with people and the media.

    1. Jenny surely you aren’t suggesting that from a brand and general decency perspective that woolies was acting appropriately. And why in the world would they sign off one hummingbird in NOV 12 and start talking to Roets is in February 2013 about a 2014 Hummingbird range.

      The PR is too scripted to be true, all of the comms focus on the design and trying to make Roets out to be plagiarist that we know woolies. ( see Frankie’s case) secondly they avoid the Wikipedia plagiarism and some of the responses seem to concerned with how badly this artist was treated and how much of her time was wasted.

      This kind of PRing of echos hollow and is typical of big brands anyway nobody can force woolies to stop the destroying of brand value with this cheap politicking.

      I wrote an article about woolies and bizcomm would even respond to me about publishing it so im not quite suprised at their need to publicly defend the woolies brand.

      It takes guts to tango with a major corporate and she did for her art and for others who have been plagiarised, marginalized, fleeced by the people who represent woolies.

      Viva Eurodia Roets for standing up for yourself and others

      1. Why would Woolworths commission Euodia Roets after they have already commissioned a different artist?

        – the two artists, Roets, and the Republican Umbrella artist, were commissioned to design for two completely different ranges: Roets for the artisanal range, and the other for the W.Collection range.
        The artisanal is a very small range sold only in a few flagship stores. It is meant to showcase the work of talented designers. The W.Collection is cheaper, mass-produced and can be found in all WW major stores.

        – are you accusing Neil Rodseth of lying?

        – why did Euodia Roets not show a picture of the whole cushion? There are in fact two hummingbirds but she only showed the one which looks similar to hers (pose only) which she copied from Greg Scott’s copyrighted photograph. So who designed the other hummingbird, and why would WW use the artwork of two different designers for one cushion? That just does not make sense.

        – If you read the terms of Wikipaedia you will see that the text is freely available for use as long as there is an attribution. Perhaps WW erred in failing to print an atribution on the cushion, but it is a cushion, not a textbook. Who reads a cushion, especially if part of the text is cut off?

        – I am fully aware of the Frankie’s issue but that is not enough to convince me that WW plagiarised Roets’ hummingbird design. I think in this case she is mistaken.

        – on the Frankies issue, the ASA ruled only that WW should remove the words “Good Old Fashioned” from their labels. If you google images of Ben Shaw’s, Idris Fiery
        Ginger Beer, Francis Hartridge Celebrated, Macario Retro drinks et al you will see that retro-style soft drinks were an international trend long before WW and Frankies introduced their ranges. The styling is all pretty much the same.

        – it is not only BizCommunity who has cast doubt on the validity of Roets’ claim. Here is a link to another article which appeared on the Business Day website:

        – I do agree that she was shamefully treated by WW in the way they communicated with her, if what she says is true. She deserves an apology and compensation.

        – I am neither pro-Woolworths nor anti- Euodia Roets, just not the sort of person who will join what I think is akin to a lynch mob without irrefutable and unambiguous evidence of wrongdoing.

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