The country first took note of Mel and Peet Viljoen in the Real Housewives van Pretoria. But since their business, Tammy Taylor SA was featured on Carte Blanche, the couple can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight or court. Now they are speaking out, shedding light on their legal troubles in an interview with eNCA.
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TAMMY TAYLOR SA’S MEL, PEET VILJOEN SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
After being continuously dragged for how they do business, Mel and Peet Viljoen, the owners of Tammy Taylor SA spoke to eNCA to set the record straight.
During the televised interview, the couple confirmed they are currently in a legal dispute. The dispute is regarding their use of the Tammy Taylor trademarks but they said they are not doing anything wrong.
Peet and Mel were however adamant. Despite popular belief, they had not taken the international brand and made it their own.
“Tammy Taylor is a is a distributor of nail products in America. But they only supply salons with products, they do not do nails,” Peet explains.
The couple initially bought their nail products from Tammy, But the idea to open various salons they claim as their own.
But, when Tammy visited South Africa and “saw that the franchisees are now 50, a 100 and going strong, she insisted on a slice of the cake,” Peet says.
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THE LEGAL INFRINGEMENTS EXPLAINED
“You can use the words ‘Tammy’ and ‘Taylor,’ but you can’t use it in the way that we registered it, and you can’t use it with the logo. So in America, it’s just coincidental. Tammy’s name is not Taylor. It is something else, her surname,” Peet says.
“Her version of the of the trademark is written in a very funny font that you can’t read, but that’s registered at her Trademark Office. So in South. Africa, Mel and I realised that you can’t read the name on a billboard, so we changed it into a much easier readable name, and we registered that in South Africa,” he added.
But why then all the fuss and legal dispute?
According to Peet, they initially only had a distribution agreement with the US brand. But Tammy allegedly also insisted on a license agreement, which she couldn’t do because she did not invent the product.
Many of the products Peet and Mel claim to have developed alongside Tammy. The product range has reportedly grown from just a few colours to 300 and 400 colors with matching gels and gel polishes.
According to Peet, they are fighting back and have brought an interdict against the American company to keep their trademark in South Africa. “It was never borrowed to us, and neither were the franchising rights that was designed by Mel and Me from day one,” he says.
WHAT ABOUT THE REBRANDED BOTTLES AND FRANCHISEE DISPUTES?
Mel quickly clarifies any confusion about the so-called fake Tammy Taylor products packaged in rebranded bottles.
And she claims it was all propaganda.
“The truth was never considered. I was never asked about the products. I never had the opportunity to say we are buying from the exact same lab as where it was originally made and that the trademark and the concept were born here in South Africa,” she explained.
According to Mel, Tammy Taylor South Africa is creating products along with international chemists.
“South Africa doesn’t have the technology nor the scale of economics to make acrylic powders. So we are buying from the exact same labs that Tammy buys in America,” Peet adds.
But they both confirm that quality control across their franchises is essential.
“Over time, some franchisees lack discipline. There’s always a cheaper version [product] out there, and that’s where the quality sometimes lacks. And then I get unpopular because I have to write your letter to say that this is your first, second, or last warning,” Peet says.
And what about the Carte Blanche episode where a franchisee claimed she never got what she was owed?
“She was found out by the media in a blatant lie,” Peet says
And the interview with Mel was also only a portion of the full four-hour-long interview that was recorded. Mel recorded the interview herself and shared a clip thereof on Instagram.
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