The death knell has been sounded, dear readers, for Chilldils. A great idea, which still prevailed even when faced with numerous bumps in the road, a concept that I loved not only because it was my ‘baby’, but also because it was people like YOU who gave it life, has been barred from moving any further.
A company had a manmade-shell gel-pack-filled “pocket”, where Chilldils is cotton, flannel, and flaxseed with a removable sleeve this company did not have in theirs. This company’s product was intended for use with their own toys, which they attempted to publicize back in 2006 via a trade magazine. There was a short piece about the product, which was listed as patent pending. This product was unknown to me when I started Chilldils, and only brought to my attention by the head of this company when Chilldils funding had reached its goal. In his message, he immediately accused me of copyright infringement, and went on to say they would be willing to license the product concept to me – all I needed to do was provide them with the unspecified royalty fees for 25,000 Chilldils up front. I asked for his patent number, but never received a reply or the cease-and-desist that was also threatened to be sent in the same missive within 10 days.
Three months later, upon soliciting public opinion on some Chilldils banners, this gentleman popped up again. They had been “gracious” and “reasonable” and I was “incredibly unprofessional” for not responding (apparently they didn’t receive my initial email) . Some might argue that holding one’s hand out for 25,000 units of unspecified royalty fees to a company that needed to fundraise to even begin operation might be considered neither gracious or reasonable. Those same people might also go on to say that expecting payment for a product one had not even establish one had patented is also a bit out of sorts. That a little skepticism might be in order when faced with a product that had, yes, been announced in 2006 and had not been available in any major online outlets – including the maker’s own store – since that time.
Further, imagine my surprise when this gentleman knew some information about me, personally, that he should not have known, given that I guard it rather closely. It all became very apparent when someone sent me a link shortly after to a place where this many-years dormant product suddenly appeared in the last few days.
You see, dear readers, I used to work for a company. I loved my job beyond imagining, I loved (most of) my co-workers, and I did not, despite many attempts to, like my bosses at all. I worked, from day one, countless hours of unpaid overtime because I was A.) naive and stupid and B.) passionate about seeing the business succeed. I went to places I wasn’t required to, made connections I wasn’t expected to, and passed out business cards like a fiend. I plotted, I planned, I got tapped for helping in all aspects of the business I conceivably could. I thought – and the key word here is thought – I was an irreplaceable member, at the heart of the living, breathing business.
Things changed, as they are wont to do. I realized that rather than having my opinions valued, I was being opened like a spigot whenever anyone needed anything, and still expected to do my own work besides. My pay, along with the pay of everyone else, was reduced due to “economic hardships” that never seemed to (outwardly, anyway) touch the ones that handed them down. The stress of having a constantly-at-war couple in charge, complete with the completely unprofessional screaming fights, flying objects, and slamming doors during the work day, began to wear on me. When I was told an issue that had nothing to do with me or my job would recoup itself via my paycheck, I finally decided the time had come to leave.
I was forced to file with the state to receive money that was owed to me. The owner, someone who is (in my personal opinion) incredibly misogynistic, said something so sexist and offensive to the investigator that she excused herself from the case. Her (male) supervisor called me and explained to me he was taking over the case, expressing his sympathy that I ever had to work under such a person and assuring me that he personally would get me what was owed. I won the case and received my pay. Later, the not-inconsiderable balance of my commission account would be completely erased and my profile deleted in seeming retaliation when I requested to cash it out.
In order to sidestep additional legal snafus, I have neglected to name these companies. Those that you that have been following this saga are familiar with who I am referring to. Maybe the people currently in their employ are happy – I can say that a few prominent sex bloggers and two other non-bloggers that I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with through email most decidedly were not. I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I hope that maybe this will cause people to take another, deeper look at these ubiquitous companies before slapping banners on blogs, penning reviews, and otherwise lending one’s talents to companies that have acted in bad faith for so many peers.