Peak Design has publicly called out Amazon for “copycatting” its $80 Everyday Sling Bag with a $21 Amazon Basics look-alike, levying its firm accusation at the e-commerce behemoth with a 1.5-minute video titled “A Tale of Two Slings.”
Peak Design says that this is not the first time accusations have been levied against the Amazon Basics brand, but Peak Design decided to take a light-hearted approach and attempts to remind buyers that “you get what you pay for.”
Amazon has a history of looking at popular products on its platform and making its own, cheaper line of products that look and function nearly identically in an attempt to hijack some of those sales. One major example was when Amazon copied the design of shoe manufacturer Allbirds. Allbirds, like Peak Design, has a strong backbone in sustainability that is generally ignored by Amazon Basics branded products.
Joey Zwillinger, Allbirds’ cofounder and co-CE, told Fast Company that they were less bothered by the design copycatting (though they would have preferred they not copy the design at all) but more by how Amazon copied the design without copying the eco-friendly supply chain practices.
“Given what I know about manufacturing, there is no way you can sell a shoe for that low while taking care of all of the environmental and animal welfare considerations and compliance we take into account,” Zwillinger says. “Amazon is stating that it wants to be a green company. It should be taking steps to make their products more sustainable.”
Similarly, Amazon’s blatant copycatting of Peak Design for much lower prices likely results in similar cost-cutting methods that ignores much of what makes Peak Design products unique.
“I’d like to think that the purchaser of a Peak Design bag over the Amazon Basics bag indicates caring at a deeper level,” Peak Design’s CEO Peter Dering says. “It might be caring for the environmental journey that we are on. It might be the little bits of detail and innovation that spark joy to the user. Whatever it is, it means something to some people, and it means less to others. For every customer, this decision is up to them.”
Peak Design says that it could have taken legal action against Amazon — and is still contemplating those avenues — but instead opted to release the tongue-in-cheek video because it believed that a lawsuit would mean less to consumers and employees. Peak Design does believe that Amazon has infringed on their intellectual property, however.
The company likely has a strong case, as Amazon not only copies design aspects but also the name of the product: it’s called the Amazon Basics Everyday Sling.
“Amazon putting the little trapezoidal patch on their bag to mimic our label is both the highest compliment, and a slap in the face,” Dering says. “It deserves something in return, and if that is something we could create to spark additional joy in our lives? In our customer’s lives? Then hell yes. Let the cameras roll.”
The original Peak Design Everyday Sling features a lifetime guarantee and is built using Blue Sign approved, 100% recycled post-consumer materials. In addition, Peak Design is a Certified B-Corporation and a founding member of Certified Climate Neutral, meaning the Everyday Sling is a responsibly manufactured, carbon-neutral product. The company hopes that the corners Amazon cut to make its copycat bag are important enough to consumers to point them away from Amazon Basics and back to the original.