Earlier this month, due to the abrupt stop in production and shipping of CWK Straight Plates, some have call the Kickstarter campaign that raise 4x times its goal, A Scam. Black Girl Long Hair recently described some of the sketchiness of the campaign after it was time to fulfill pledge gifts. I will admit that if I were a finacial backer, it did seem a little fishy. The lack of transparency and communication on the part of CWK Straight Plates developer, Kelechi Bradley also did not help put the rumors and speculation to rest.
I received this email from Krystal James, Brand Manager of CWK Girls, LLC explaining the situation that lead to the company refunding thousands of dollars to its 529 backers and temporarily stopping production of all CWK Straight Plate products.
The CWK Girls brand is widely known for the CWK Straight Plates, a tool that was designed to straighten natural hair without the use of direct heat. Developer Kelechi Bradley started a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $24,000 and garnered over five hundred backers. Overnight Kelechi and the CWK Girls team were thrust into the natural hair community and thousands of followers instantly had a front row seat to witness every step and misstep that our team made as we navigated the development process.
Over the course of six months, we completed the product renderings, packaging, and several rounds of testing. Just weeks before the CWK Girls team was set to begin the mass production of the product an unknown source came forward claiming that they too had a patent for an almost identical product. Our attorney has been working diligently to investigating the claim; however, due to the nature of patents and the time frame of the filling our attorney cannot yet confirm nor deny the claim. We have tried to initiate further contact with the alleged owner of the patent, but our emails have gone unanswered.
Taking the advice of the CWK Girls attorney, Kelechi temporarily halted the production the Straight Plates and has decided to fully refund all 529 backers. Ultimately, our team did not believe that it was fair for our backers to wait an uncertain amount of time while the issue is being sorted. To add to the matter, our attorney also initially advised Kelechi not to conduct any interviews due the sensitive nature of the claim. This silence caused some backlash from the natural hair bloggers and forums. All of the reports that have been published are untrue and based solely on speculation. Kelechi and the CWK Girls team has been working day and night to remain in good standing with our investors and protect the CWK Girls brand. Over two hundred refunds have been initiated.