Catherine Boakye: Black Entrepreneur Wins Trademark Battle against Fashion Giant Mango

Abu Mubarik August 26, 2022
Catherine Boakye, founder of Mangotree Kids. Photo credit: My London

Catherine Boakye is the founder of Mangotree Kids, a firm committed to providing black children with positive representations of their heritage. She started her business brand after noticing a lack of African-themed products for children in 2001.

Boakye run her business as a side hustle while she juggled raising her children with her job at British Airways which offered her the opportunity to travel around the world. Upon her return, she would bring cultural items for her son to take to school.

Her business took a positive turn as it began gaining attention during the 2020 lockdown. At this point, she knew she had to trademark her business in order to protect it going forward.

However, her application was opposed by fashion giant Mango. She has been in a trademark battle for 17 months with the retail fashion giant.

“I couldn’t believe they had contested as our brands are worlds apart,” Boakye told The Voice in an interview why she had to fight back. “Mine is about empowering our children about their culture and they are a fashion brand and I don’t crossover to their market.”

Boakye notes that several approach to settle the matter with Mango through her lawyer yielded little result. However, in 2021, Mango’s lawyers approached her with their suggested terms which she felt would have been detrimental to her business.

According to her, the retail giant wanted to limit her to doing traditional and cultural costumes which she felt would be detrimental to the growth of her business.

In March this year, the mother of two was informed that she had won her trademark case with  Mango Kids in its entirety and is now free to trademark her business and expand how she always envisioned.

“I was distraught, it was a rollercoaster of emotions – disbelief, fear and anger. Mangotree Kids is like my third child. I had a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of worries,” Catherine recalls her ordeal to MyLondon.

Shedding more light on her business, she noted that her company was registered 2001 but she didn’t trademark it while Mango Kids started in 2008.  She further noted that she had spent the last 20 years building her company was prepared to go defend it which she successful did.

Boakye says she wants her story to inspire other black businesses to “believe in their businesses.”

“You have to be courageous enough and have belief in what you are doing and make sure you trademark from the beginning,” she said. “If you believe in your brand and find yourself in a situation like mine, don’t be intimidated by big names, fight it.”

Last Edited by:Sedem Ofori Updated: September 12, 2022


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