While imitation can be considered the highest form of flattery, what happens when an entire business – products, branding and design – are lifted pretty much wholesale?
Caxsandra Tan, better known as popular beauty influencer Caxs, got a rude shock when she stumbled across a cosmetic business that bore an uncanny resemblance to her self-made brand Bycaxs.
In several Instagram stories uploaded on Thursday night (April 8), she blasted another Instagram user Carlmilia for "ripping off [her] hard work". The side-by-side comparison photos of both their posts showed several similarities in terms of styling, video concepts, props, graphic design and even product packaging.
She later went on an Instagram live to vent her frustrations.
"We planned for months and made sure we had everything perfect," Tan ranted, detailing how she and her team had sourced for materials and props all across the island and painstakingly put everything together, even going so far as to build a chandelier from scratch with loose crystals they found.
Tan also revealed that while she actually started ByCaxs way back in 2017, she held it off till 2019 to launch her products as she was adamant about acquiring all the necessary licencing in order to give her customers the peace of mind.
Having jumped over multiple hurdles in terms of planning and execution before she was finally able to start earning a profit in 2020, Tan said she felt disgusted and pissed off by the blatant plagiarism.
"We planned literally everything, and you would just take everything I've done and make it yours.
"You're a f***ing rip-off."
Netizens, including The Sam Willows' Rriley, offered their sympathy and called Carlmilia out for being unethical.
Carlmilia has since locked her Instagram account and removed most of her posts, though not before Tan was able to leave a comment asking: "Are you truly proud of your team?"
The former's business Instagram and Shopee page, however, remains accessible and active.
AsiaOne reached out to Carlmilia but didn't receive a response at the time of writing.