One of the most popular restaurants in New York City is "by Chloe." It’s a fast growing vegan food chain spearhead by the incredible vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli. She’s was the only vegan chef to ever win on the Food Network’s show, Cupcake Wars and has built an incredible brand as a result. She also has a host of vegan cookbooks and her own "sweet treat" line that I personally love (Sweets by Chloe)!
by Chloe opened its first restaurant in 2015 in New York’s, West Village neighborhood and has very quickly opened up restaurants all over the New York, Rhode Island, Los Angeles and Boston.
Every time I walked through the city I saw another sign saying “Coming Soon” with the by Chloe cheeky black & white brand of vegan burgers and fries. As a vegan, I was thrilled to see vegan food being embraced by the mainstream. However, as a lawyer, I was suspicious.
I kept thinking, “I know she probably has investors, but they are growing way too fast, something must be up.” 11 Locations in 2 years for a creative business owner is a lot. So I just kept watching.
Turns out, her Investors/business partners recently decided to open up restaurants that contain animal products. Yes with the name and brand of a VEGAN chef.
Chef Chloe protested and filed a lawsuit. She didn’t want her name associated with serving animal products and felt it would damage her brand.
The Investors won and fired her. Yep you heard it, from her OWN BRAND!
I can’t imagine the heartache and pain that Chloe must be feeling right now. To have worked so hard to build a name, a business, a movement around yourself doing what you love and have it stolen from underneath you, is a nightmare. Unfortunately it can be a harsh legal reality if you’re not set up right.
This was WHY I became a lawyer working on Intellectual property and business while coaching creative business owners. To be an advocate for people like Chloe...and you.
My work is centered around helping you create a business that has a solid foundation, profitable and aligned with your creative soul. A hugely important part of that foundation is legal...as Chloe has just learned in the most horrible way.
That being said, here’s an article that I wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine on the ways that you can protect your name and brand that go beyond trademarking. I hope that it helps you know what you need to do.
I will continue to write about this. I will continue to consult, advocate and create tools and courses to help you navigate these tumultuous entrepreneurial waters, but my only request is that you PLEASE TAKE the legal part of your business SERIOUSLY. It could be the difference between a wildly successful, lucrative empire or a disaster that leaves you wondering why.
Hit me up after you read the article and let me know what you learned. I can be reached at @jwilliamsesq on Facebook, IG and everywhere on social media AND PLEASE share Chloe’s story. I am boycotting this chain and I hope that you do too.
Love you Fiercely,