Just hours after the brand took to Instagram on Tuesday to announce that they would be dropping their first-ever line of scented candles this fall, the Los-Angeles-based candle company revealed in a candid Instagram post that despite the similarities between the brand’s upcoming launch and her line of concrete candles, “this is not a collab” between the two labels.
In fact, DEHV Candle Co founder Jade Eknaian claims that OUAI knocked off her candles after attempting to order items directly from her brand.
“Back in February I noticed someone placed their second order through our website, but what caught my eye was that the order was being shipped directly to a known candle manufacturing facility,” she wrote to her more than 10,000 followers. “Obviously that raised a red flag, and so I did a little research.”
According to Eknaian, it was OUAI’s VP of Product Development that was attempting to buy her candles.
“Right away my stomach dropped, and I manually canceled the order and followed up with an email (second slide) which actually resulted with a personal phone call from the founder, Jen Atkin who was lovely, apologetic, encouraging and reassuring. She even mentioned how much she loves DEHV and personally burns themes in her home, and would love to connect me with her team to possibly send out our candles in one of their mailers. She also offered to post about DEHV in her stories etc,” she shared. “None of this happened, and now I know why!”
But, Atkin did end up posting about DEHV in her Instagram stories (as well as some other candle brands like PaddyWax and Photogenics + Co.) — only it was one hour after she was called out by the brand.
“Some of you may know if you follow me that I am a candle connoisseur and I’ve tried every single candle. I’ve been really trying to switch over to soy and coconut-based waxes. I love the shape and the vibe of a concrete candle and I’ve used all of these brands here,” the OUAI founder shared, highlighting some of her favorite candle brands in the clip. “We really worked hard to create something that felt like it was on brand. It smells like Melrose Place. We also have North Bondi. It’s a natural-based candle wax and you can get it very soon. I just wanted you to know that these are other brands that you can get as well.”
However, it looks like the damage was already done as Instagram users were quick to drag OUAI in the comments section of their post announcing their candle launch.
“Very sad that you stole the product and look of the small woman-owned business @dehvcandleco,” one user wrote.
Another user commented, “Have you all seen how they ripped off these candles from a small woman owned business? It’s bullshit. Buy directly from @dehvcandleco.”
Though for Eknaian, it’s not about canceling OUAI, it’s about accountability. “My goal here is not to ‘bring down’ another brand. What I AM about is supporting small businesses and in this world of social media I am seeing more and more small creative being ripped off by large companies and it is a pretty helpless feeling,” she wrote. “I did not reinvent the wheel with DEHV —it is a hunk of concrete. But I have worked tirelessly to make it what it is, and with not a dime handed to me. So the blatant disrespect and shamelessness is pretty disappointing.”
She continued, sharing a special message for other entrepreneurs: “To my fellow small business owners, makers, and bootstrapping creatives—as soon as your brand starts getting some buzz, keep your eyes peeled. We got this!”
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