Hi All! I apologize in advance for sending such a "downer" email, but I need to let
everybody know about an unfortunate situation that has come about recently.
At the end of September, my former trusted office manager and right hand
woman, Carolyn Gagnon (and her boyfriend, Paul Amos, who was my website
editor), abruptly quit after 9 months of employment with no notice while I
was away on a business trip. They gave no indication that they were unhappy
with their jobs and acted completely normal until the day they both left.
Sadly, I have learned that Carolyn and Paul have recently opened an online
fabric store, CheapThreads.com - http://www.cheapthreads.com , that sells a
lot of the same merchandise from the same vendors as I do and uses design
elements and text that are uncannily similar to (or the same as) Reprodepot.
I apologize in advance for sending such a "downer" email, but I need to let
I found it by chance this past weekend through an online forum that
mentioned Reprodepot and Cheap Threads in the same thread. When I went to
the website I was struck by the eerie similarities in the layout and text,
but when I looked at it further I realized that a lot of the text and layout
was copied from Reprodepot. I looked up the owner of the domain name and to
my dismay, Carolyn Gagnon is listed as the owner.
There are plenty of other websites out there that sell the same products as
I do at a lower price. I don't have a problem with that, since she obviously
has the right to sell fabrics online. What upsets me is the betrayal and the
blatant use of my business model and practices that I have worked more than
8 years to develop and fine tune. She knows everything about my company and
I paid her to learn it! I considered Carolyn and Paul part of my family and
had trusted them implicitly. They were compensated very well for the work
they did for me even though they came to me with no experience whatsoever
for the positions they held. It makes my stomach hurt.
Unfortunately for me, I did not get Carolyn or Paul to sign a non-compete
agreement while she was working for me. (In fact, one of Carolyn's jobs was
to ask every employee to sign one. Yes, I have kicked myself hundreds of
times this week for not just doing it myself.)
Fabrics are my life. I am obsessed with prints and patterns and I am living
my dream. I am sorry for sounding so dramatic, but honestly I feel that what
she is doing is mocking everything I am about and everything that my company
is about. Reprodepot to me is not about being "hip" or "retro", it is about
facilitating creativity and art in a form that provides endless
possibilities. Copying someone's original ideas to try to make a quick buck
goes against everything I believe in.
(Personal note: To make things worse Carolyn is portraying herself (as the
owner(s) of Cheap Threads) as someone who is interested and involved in the
crafting community. Until she started working for me, she knew nothing about
fabrics and sewing and showed very little interest during the term of her
employment. In fact, her complete lack of interest in the fabric industry
and crafting was one of the reasons I hired her!)
I apologize for all the drama, but since I did not have them sign a
non-compete there is nothing I can do to fight back against them. (I have
definitely learned my lesson the hard way.) The only thing I can do now to
protect my business is to let all of the people who I have done business
with know who they are and how they have betrayed my trust.
Here are the links to the Cheap Threads sites:
Thank you very much for reading this email and if you have any questions at
all please don't hesitate to email me or call. My contact info is below.
Sincerely and truly,