The founders of a popular Australian activewear brand have been forced to change their company’s name after receiving legal threats from a similarly-named business.
Butter Butter had risen to popularity since its 2020 launch due to its incredibly soft sports leggings made using recycled fish scales. Some customers had compared the fabric’s texture to body butter, earning the brand its namesake.
But a men’s skate wear brand in Perth called Butter Goods issued the business a cease-and-desist order a year ago over the similar names.
Two weeks ago, Butter Butter rebranded to Locionne (pronounced like lotion), again a reference to the brand’s soft products that have been described as lotion-like.
Michelle Huang and Elle Castellani, the brains behind Locionne and long-time friends from Melbourne, said they decided against fighting the legal demand.
“In the end we decided to rebrand,” Ms Castellani told news.com.au. “It has saved us six figures in legal fees.”
Locionne has been a hit with women across Australia, generating $3.2 million in revenue so far this year compared to just $5000 a month in the early days of 2020.
The pair have known each other for nearly five years and knew they wanted to do business together but it took Ms Castellani being made redundant for them to commit.
“Michelle and I asked each other do we want to let go of our jobs and dive head first, or did we want to do it slowly?” she recalled. “We took the plunge.
“No one had addressed concerns women had with leggings, like camel toes and muffin tops. When we launched, that was the hallmark of our brand.”
They splashed out $50,000, their entire life savings, to find a material that was soft and ideal to address these problems.
“We put all our savings into this, every cent we had at the time. It was definitely a huge risk, there was no back-up plan,” Ms Huang told news.com.au.
“We had everyone around us telling us be careful, this is not a good time to start a business with (the) Covid (pandemic) happening. We stuck by our guns.
“But everyone was working from home, activewear was all they were buying. At the time, eCommerce was a huge thing. When we started it really was the right time.”
The business partners started by storing all the clothes in every spare space available in Ms Huang’s parents’ home, but within a year, sales had picked up so much that they had to hire a warehouse.
Fast forward three years and they’re on track to hit $4 million in revenue and on their best day this year, they made an eye-watering $50,000 in sales.
They now have four staff members working for them and have signed a major deal to expand into the UK.
The Aussie mates also had a warehouse sale in July and they were blown away by the level of interest.
“We opened at 9am, there were girls apparently already huddled like penguins in their jackets from 6am in the morning,” Ms Huang said. “That day it happened to rain the whole day.”
The queue snaked around the corner and went for more than 200m, they said.
They have high hopes their stock will be even more popular on Black Friday on November 24.