knock-off \ˈnäk-ˌȯf\ noun
a copy that sells for less than the original; broadly : a copy or imitation of someone or something popular
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Well, we’ve been knocked off. Boots & Barkley, the store brand of pet products at Target, just released their new corrugated cardboard scratching post. Look familiar? It’s a direct copy of the original Scratch Tower created by my company, Moderncat Studio. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’m not feeling the love.
Target did a nice job, I have to say. They copied our original concept, created by the design team at Juggernaut Design and sold exclusively through Moderncat Studio, which uses compressed pieces of die-cut cardboard to make a vertical, freestanding scratching tower. They use essentially the same structure with a base, inner rod, and knob on top to hold the pieces in place. The Target knock-off is a bit taller and it disassembles to fit in a nice little box. And it’s just $19.99 with $9.99 refills, a far cry from the Scratch Tower at $95 and refills at $20.
Still, I’m not crying my eyes out. The reason I created Moderncat Studio was to experiment with new designs for cat products that would encourage the mass product manufacturers to step it up in the design department, knowing that they will always be cheaper. That said, there’s a big difference between inspiring the mass market and being knocked off by one of its major players! Come on people!
For those of you unfamiliar with product manufacturing, I’d like to point out a few things. At Moderncat Studio, everything is handcrafted in small batches — we only make a few at a time and we CARE about each item that goes out the door. Yes, I could sell the Scratch Tower for $19.99, if I had it made in China, used a low-quality cardboard, paid less attention to details — had it made in China. Did I mention CHINA?
Something else I noticed. As you can see above, some of the cardboard pieces on the knock-off are smashed. While I’m constructing every Scratch Tower if I come across a smashed piece of cardboard, it goes in the project bin to become something else. I suppose the Target team figures “Who cares? Your cat is just going to claw it up!” Well, I care!
To be quite honest, if I couldn’t afford the original Scratch Tower, I’d go right out to Target and buy this one. And why not? It’s important for the kitties to have something they like — and if it’s a cool design, too, well even better. HOWEVER, if you can afford the real thing, and/or if ethical manufacturing is important to you, then that’s a different story.
As always, we here at Moderncat thank you for your support.