A Canberran mother who runs a baby-clothing line from her Casey home has been threatened with legal action by retail giant Zara because her business name, Zarabumba, was considered too similar to their own.
Neda Luketic was sewing at home while 38 weeks pregnant when she decided to launch the businesses.
“I had no idea whether I was going to have a boy or girl at that stage,” she said. “It turned out to be a girl who we named Zara and I named my business after her.”
But Zara objected to her choice of business name, and papers from their solicitors fell into her PO Box on Tuesday last week.
“They were demanding I close down my business name and everything to do with it including my website, branding and advertising,” she said.
“I was pretty gutted when I read their demands. I’d been trading under this name for three years and I wouldn’t have thought my business was a challenge to Zara.”
Ms Luketic said the Zara’s solicitors gave her a deadline of Good Friday to respond, although she asked for an extension after seeking legal counsel.
“My lawyers told me you could fight them but it’s going to cost you a hell of a lot of money to see this one out,” she said.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Zara Australia said the notice had been issued ''to avoid ambiguity with customers, as a matter of respect to them and to avoid any brand confusion''.
The company contacted Ms Luketic ''to highlight the possibility of misleading information to customers caused by the name'', the spokeswoman said.
Ms Luketic runs her business from home and relies on social media platforms to generate online sales.
She said it wasn’t financially viable to consider challenging Zara in court and has since decided to comply with their demand to change her business branding and name.
“I’ve already made the changes,” she said. “I just need to get back to them with evidence of the business name closure and of my new business registration.”
Her original website and Facebook page have been closed following Zara’s demands.
Zara acknowledged Ms Luketic had agreed to take ''all measures to solve the confusion''.
In return, the company said it had advised Ms Luketic it was prepared to supply her with links to government departments to help her to register an alternative business name and an alternative domain name.
Zara's spokeswoman said the aim ''was always to resolve the issue amicably and to help her business to move forward in a positive fashion in the future''.
While disappointed by Zara’s actions, Ms Luketic said the challenge may turn out to be beneficial for her business.
“I’ve had a lot of offers for free advertising once people found out about Zara’s action from people in Canberra and across Australia,” she said.
“I never wanted to change my business name but this is a blessing in disguise as it given me additional motivation to keep on going."