Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cut Throat World of Hair Bows

The Cut Throat World of Hair Bows

You might be choking on your mid-day coffee right now and saying, “Huh?! How in the world could flippin’ hair bows be cut throat? You need to get out more, Ms. Suncoast Scribe.”
I know. It sounds so silly, doesn’t it.
Here’s the thing about this particular cottage industry. There are two major camps.
One camp is comprised of the people who actually make the hair bows and sell them online or in local boutiques. They are selling their handicrafts just like any other cottage industry. It can get mildly catty, as some product sellers will turn in other product sellers on eBay and other tactics to try and shoulder out the competition.
The other camp, though, is comprised of people making a killing (yes, very large amounts of money) selling eBooks about how to tie knots and make bows. Competition between these people is absolutely fierce. A handful of these sellers regularly threaten to sue one another or intended patents and intellectual property issues, even though the ideas in question are centuries old knot tying techniques. One seller employs moles to buy other sellers’ instruction packets so she can compare and contrast them to her own. That is always followed by a flood of threatening e-mails she sends out to anyone who she perceives as competition.
To be fair, some of the eBooks are hundreds of pages long with high quality photographs. The downside is that a good number of those pages are filled with inane variations on one theme. Other eBooks, though, contain only one or a handful of different bow instructions accompanied by blurry photographs (it’s called a macro button, folks) and often published in a Word document.
It’s insane. I know.
Think back to when you were a kid and your own mother made you a hair bow or a little braided ribbon headband. There are people now that want to claim they invented those techniques. It’s not insane. I take that back. It’s asinine.
The latest bit of dram in the online bow making world centers around an instruction seller who developed a little wooden tool to clamp down and hold your bow center while you tie it off. She purports that it makes perfect creases. The product sold for $29.99 and has made her reasonably wealthy. Most people would agree her little wooden tool was unique and helpful.
That all changed when she employed money-saving tactics on her end and began offering an “improved” creasing tool that is quite simply a cheap plastic hair clip that looks like it comes a gross to a box from China. You can buy clips like that in 4-packs for less than $2 at most beauty supply stores. She still wants to charge $29.99 for one.
So, more than a few eagle-eyed individuals realized this tool with a bite was a simply a plastic hair clip and posted simple instructions with photos on how to use the cheap beauty store hair clips. I think that made the seller of the $29.99 tool lose her breakfast. She wasted no time in sending out vague threats about tossing around lawsuits.
I can only assume she was up all night fretting over the tens of thousands of dollars per year she would not make now that people have become wiser about the product.
So there you have it: a bizarre little online world where people want to claim they invented techniques for tying a knot and using plastic hair clips to hold ribbon steady.


  1. This is hilarious! But also indicative of just how catty the online business world has become. You're right. It is asinine.

  2. I LOVE THIS POST!!! So true! I do applaud those making money off of it. Smart idea but I just hate the menatality that you are the inventor. Make your money- Be happy- and dont worry about anyone else. Very good post and thanks for saying what most are too nice to say.