On June 15th Hailey Bieber launched her minimalist skincare brand to much fanfare. The burgeoning company partnered with YouTube for its first annual shopping festival the following day, and the feeds of the brand's social media accounts are full of praise and good reviews. Seven days after its commercial launch the model and entrepreneur is facing legal action for trademark infringement.
Rhode, which is Ms Bieber’s middle name, is also the name of a successful ready-to-wear brand currently available at retailers including Net-a-Porter and Matches. Founded in 2014 by Phoebe Vickers and Purna Khatau, their collections have a vintage feel with soulful prints. Dresses retail between 400 and 650 euros, a pricing sweetspot for well-made garments.
Ms Vickers and Ms Khatau said Ms Bieber tried to buy their company name in 2018, but they refused to sell. The pair have spent eight years building a business, and according to Rhode’s litigation council Lisa Simpson, Ms Bieber "did this despite knowing of Rhode and its prior rights.” In a statement to Page Six Ms Simpson iterated: “It’s an unfortunate circumstance. We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but the law on this is clear: you can’t create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name. What Ms. Bieber is doing is harming a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand.”