A York creator of handmade jewellery will appear on a BBC show on Monday warning of the dangers of counterfeit products.

Emma Farley works in marketing but is also well-known for work to protect hedgehogs, which led her to launch her jewellery business Little Silver Hedgehog.

Emma said of the programme: “I'm telling my David and Goliath story about my best selling hedgehog design (sold to raise funds for my wildlife work) being copied and then sold using all my own images on Shein, AliExpress and Ebay.

“The programme talks about the unethics of big business and how someone always pays the price for cheap fast fashion - whether it's a small maker like me or the people forced to make the fakes for low wages in poor conditions.”


Emma, who now lives in the Wolds near Pocklington, said one of her followers on her Little Silver Hedgehog Facebook page found copies of her products on the Shein website last July. The fakes then appeared on other websites, including AliExpress and Ebay.

Emma told the Press: “They are a virtually identical copy - same size and with blue eyes -  but made in much cheaper materials.”

Several followers reported the matter to Shein, who removed the item. They accepted no responsibility and offered a small amount of compensation, an offer which was withdrawn when they became aware of Emma raising the issue in the media.

York Press: The copy made of a zinc alloy

AliExpress and Ebay also removed items from their website but offered no compensation.

Emma says it is a ‘huge challenge’ for a non-profit like herself, who sells the jewelry to fund and raise awareness of her hedgehog work, to legally prevent such copying.

Other small businesses and designers also have problems with their work being copied.

Emma says she is still trying to pursue compensation from these global websites but it’s “a real David and Goliath battle.”

She added the fakes are the antithesis of everything she stands, of poor quality, warning people to be wary of cheap fast fashion, and instead to buy local and ethical.

AliExpress told the Press that when it became aware of Emma’s copies in October, it contacted her to discuss the case and tell her of the three portals/channels available to rights holders to protect their intellectual property right. There is also a reporting function.

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"The listings identified by the Mrs Farley have been removed and the sellers involved have been notified that the listings were in breach our platform policies. Further action will be taken against the sellers in case of repeated non-compliance and violation of our policies including restriction and removal from our platform.

"AliExpress is committed to intellectual property protection. We maintain a robust notice-and-action system as well as a designated email channel to comply with our obligation as a platform provider,” a spokesperson added.

An eBay spokesperson said: “The sale of counterfeit items is strictly prohibited on eBay, and we proactively block millions of counterfeit items every year. In the rare instance that a counterfeit item is listed, intellectual property rights owners can use our VeRO Program to report listings for us to investigate and take the appropriate action on.

 “When Emma contacted eBay, we asked her to report the listing via our VeRO Program. We received the report on 30th December, and removed the listing by 2nd January.”

Shein did not respond to our request for comment.

Rip Off Britain is due to broadcast the programme with Emma on Monday January 15 at 10.45am.