Sigh… it is so unfortunate to see black led businesses fall by the waist side… especially when they don’t even get a full leg to stand on! The natural hair community was so thrilled at the thought of the CWK straight plates that their kickstarted request of 8,000 dollars was met and surpassed with great enthusiasm. The project was fully funded and received over 24,000 dollars by 500 people. It is quite unfortunate to have to report that the production and sales of the CWK plats have been suspended indefinitely. The owner Kelechi Brand has remained fairly silent on the entire issue thus leading to major speculation and very bad PR.
We were not backers of the CWK Straight plates but we were very excited to get our hands on them when they were released to the public. Unfortuantely now all the information we have has been provided by The Natural Haven who was a backer of the project herself and has this to report:
1. Why were contradictory details being given out?
In CWK Update 17 on July 16th 2014, the moulds (molds) were reported as done and sample plates were produced. However, a few weeks later in CWK Update 21 on August 23rd 2014, the information was that the prototype mould needed to be modified and further testing would be necessary
2. Why were shipping details requested if the plates were not fully tested, made and ready for shipping?
Prior to update 21 on August 23rd where the information about mould issues was given, shipping details for investors to claim their rewards were requested by CWK on August 6th 2014. Why ask for shipping details if the plates were not ready for shipping?
3. Why was the CWKgirls own website shop still operational after the CWK Update 24 on Oct 22nd 2014 with the ability for potential customers to purchase items?
CWK Update 24 on Oct 22nd stated that due to someone else claiming to have a patent on a device that sounded like CWK straight plates, the CWK straight plate production would be stopped. However the website CWKgirls.com had a live shop with the ability to purchase items.
I have tried my level best to get Kelechi Bradley the inventor of the CWK straight plates on the record to answer these questions but she has not responded to any of my requests for an interview. She did however respond to the email where I told her that the shop was still operational and that she needed to urgently close it. Her email stated that it would be closed over the weekend (weekend ending Sunday26th Oct). I was then alerted to the fact that the shop was still operational on Tuesday 28th by a blog reader and I wrote again to Kelechi and stated to her that as her shop was still open and there was no chance of anyone getting a product, I felt obligated to inform my readers that she may be running a scam afterall. After this email, the shop was finally disabled with Kelechi giving me assurances that she is processing refunds and over 150 have been done (529 backers in total for the kickstarter plus others on her own website).
Backers were never made aware of patent issues until the final email. If you are not a backer, the information is that someone else has produced a patent application number which was filed two or so months before Kelechi’s own application. This patent is said to relate to:
‘a device for the treatment of a tress of hair including two plates containing multiple apertures, joined on one side by a spine and secured by plurality of interlocking tines containing grooves with the function of providing an adjustable hold on a tress of hair, so as to allow wet hair to dry in an elongated state when held between two plates’
Thank you to the natural hair maven for sharing her insight and information on the CWK plates fiasco! We hope that the creator releases a statement shortly and that all of the backers receive their money back. But most importantly we hope that this doesnt sway people from helping and supporting entrepreneurs and businesses especially those created by black owners.