Koibox, an alternative beauty & cosmetics company, has been the topic of debate amongst beauty bloggers & makeup alley patrons. Koibox produces popular nail polish with shades such as “Dali”(pictured above), “Bamboon”(which is described as “pink like its ass. a bright pink”), “Hootchie”, “Tryst”, “Uncle Vince”, & “Shusui”. The company was most recently featured in Lucky magazine, and has become increasingly popular especially in the blogosphere & several beauty websites. In fact, most who have tried the product fall instantly in love with the shades & polish quality!
So what is the problem you might ask? Someone, who shall remain anonymous, over at the incredibly popular website, MakeUp Alley, received some nail polish from koibox as a gift and decided to check out the rest of their line on their website. She just so happened to be browsing with her eight year old daughter and was shocked to see a nude model covered in white powder and posing suggestively on the homepage with a strategically placed display of nail polish. The online patron found the image to be offensive and decided to write a letter to the marketing department of koibox. Among other things she also offered constructive criticism about the packaging of the polish. Given that Koibox is a relatively small company it is not surprising that she received a response directly from the owner & CEO. Please read further to see his response:

“Well (name omitted) seeing as how you took the time to voice your opinion and elucidate your rather obviously limited knowledge of branding, packaging and design, I thought I might also take some time too respond. First of all thank you for showing an interest in our product glad you liked the color of Uncle Vince unfortunately everybody does so that makes you.. not so astute. As for the packaging, we let the professionals determine what is good and what is bad. When we designed the packaging for KOIBOX it was a deliberate move to “wrap” the bottle in a manner that was different and unique, that is what good branding and package design is about..stirring interest and conversation. I say this in confidence given the award KOIBOX received from Communication Arts Magazine 2002 Design Annual..Best of Packaging. The award was given along side a few other notable companies like Evian and Skyy Vodka…but what do any of us know about package design especially Communication Arts Mag! I am certain that you don’t even frequent a newsstand that carries such high brow periodicals.As for your second issue. To begin with we did not intend to sell this product to women that are pent up with personal biases towards the beauty of the female body, in fact the reason we chose such a demure and unclothed women was to fortify the notion that all women are beautiful and the same in general terms…it is color and accent that makes them different to the eye of the beholder. You will notice that the model was dusted in white and posed in a manner to suggest that she was not the focus or the impetus for our campaign..the polish is. I feel sorry for your daughters that they should grow up in an atmosphere that obviously has disdain for the female body and anatomy..remember they too carry the same equipment and should be proud of it. As far as you and your friend are concerned…sounds like one guy was dumb and the other was glad of it. The TITS stay. Go find another product to bitch about… Quaker.

Best,
**name omitted but it is the
CEO of Koibox***

PS. check our feature out in the March Issue of Lucky Magazine..just another publisher that doesn’t know anything about women.”

I personally don’t have a problem with the image (click here to view it), or the packaging for that matter. i think the packaging is very chic & unique. however, annie, over at blogdorf goodman, brought up some good points concerning the practicality of the design that had not even occurred to me. I find the names of their products to be clever, humorous, and fun. In addition, I have tried their polish, and & happened to like it quite a lot actually, and that is why i am so disappointed by this company reaction to criticism. I am just appalled by the letter! This response is so incredibly unprofessional! Even if the CEO did not pen it himself, the fact it was sent out on company letterhead is unconscionable. A number of people have already written to Koibox, and publications who have recently ran features, or plan to run features on the company’s products such as Lucky & the Denver Business Journal. If you would like to contact the company directly, please see the below contact information.

KOIBOX
2696 S. Colorado Blvd. Suite 500 Denver, Colorado 80222
By Phone(303) 282.5618 [Local]; (866) 228.9564 [Toll Free]

marketing@koibox.com
Info@koibox.com

Read what the bloggers are saying about the koibox scandal:

Blogdorf Goodman

5 Comments on Koibox Scandal

  1. Sally Green
    January 26, 2007 at 1:42 am (11 years ago)

    The problem PB is that everyone talking about it is the kind of free publicity and promotion that makes these products a success. I heard about this sometime back and decided to not to mention it at all….greta blog.

    Sally
    Chic Alert

  2. platinum blonde
    January 26, 2007 at 3:14 pm (11 years ago)

    sally. you have a definite point. controversy always stirs up talk. that talk usually translates into popularity. i’m sure many people were not aware of the brand before this little controversy erupted. Sure Make UP Alley people were aware of this…but many other people were not. The intention with the marketing of the product was most certainly to stir a reaction from people, they are not afraid of controversy, they wanted to be unique, different, and they obviously wanted to get noticed. the product is not a bad product, but the way this business conducts itself professionally is a problem and i personally felt that i should bring attention to it. i realize it is a catch 22. don’t think i didn’t think about that before i posted about this. i just think it is important to talk about this before Lucky magazine runs its feature on koibox. As history suggests, about anything featured in Lucky magazine turns to gold. People should know about this, and make their own decisions. If it doesn’t bother them that this guy is an unprofessional A-hole, or love the polish enough not to care, then so be it. But at least they are informed consumers. That is all I ask. You should know what you are buying into. That’s all. I respect your decision not to post about this. Thanks for commenting! xo Melanie

  3. Anonymous
    January 26, 2007 at 3:30 pm (11 years ago)

    I find the whole conversation very interesting. What was the did the original letter sent to Koibox include to receive such a reply. Whatever was said, it must have been a rather direct attack on Koibox,it’s product and the company’s personal morals. The girl is obviously an “visual piece” to conjure up emotions,(a sucess!)whether those are that of someone who finds it salacious or a avant guarde artsy statement on how sexy the right shade of nail polish can be. With regards to the daughters viewing of such an ad, we must take care the kinds of messages we send about the female body and it’s innate beauty. Shame and disdain for nudity in a tasteful display of woman that is not being tortured,solicited or attacked is unfortunate. Also, this is an $11 nail polish designed for Women not small children. Police your childs internet viewing as I do mine. In any case this is an obvious and simple situation for both parties involved: Koibox maybe rethink your next artsy visual piece as not to upset your more puritan customer base. Never be rude to a customer, no matter how right you think you are. Lady:Find another nail polish site to visit,kiss your daughter and tell her she is going to become a beautiful woman regardless of what cosmetic she uses. Aim your anger and frustration at injustice and intolerances in the world.
    Lastly everyone on both sides. Lighten up it’s just nail polish!!!

  4. platinum blonde
    January 26, 2007 at 3:56 pm (11 years ago)

    this is what she wrote according to her post at makeup alley: “recently, i received uncle vince from koibox from my best friend. my soon to be stepdaughter who is 8 and i went to the site to check out more colors and there is a naked woman on it. not posing with a bit a discretion but naked period. i understand artistic nudity but this was ridiculous. so i wrote them stating that the woman’s nipples showing was a bit much. i also had a problem with the wrapper as with it on, the bottle won’t stand up and with it off, you have absolutely no label. this is the letter i received from the “founder”…”

    companies, politicians, professionals, and virtually anyone in the public domain receive direct attacks & criticisms everyday. as a professional you can decide to ignore these things or you can respond. if you choose to respond you should respond in a professional manner. judging from his response i think her comments were in line with her objections, and not offensive…that is without using profanity and such. especially since he called her a “quaker”. …i don’t know many quakers who use vulgar or offensive language do you? the founder seems like the type of person who is trying to be cutting edge and simply isn’t afraid to take someone head on. i think your suggested response is far more appropriate for the situation, and way more professional. you’re right… it is just nail polish after all. if you don’t like it…just buy essie, o.p.i, chanel, or pick up some wet n’ wild. i share that opinion, but this woman clearly felt strongly enough to complain to the company and i feel that the response she received was out of line & unprofessional. as stated in the post, i personally have no problems with the marketing, the packaging, and certainly not the polish…i have made a personal choice not to purchase anything from this company.

  5. Anonymous
    January 26, 2007 at 9:21 pm (11 years ago)

    Platinum Blonde,if I may make an addendum to my previous statement.

    Meow Ladies,
    I find the whole conversation very interesting. What was it in the original letter sent to Koibox included to receive such a reply. (Only a rendition of it appears online.)Whatever was said, it must have been a rather direct attack on Koibox,it’s product and the company’s personal morals. The girl is obviously an “visual piece” to conjure up emotions,(a sucess!)whether those are that of someone who finds it salacious or a avant guarde artsy statement on how sexy the right shade of nail polish can be. With regards to the daughters viewing of such an ad, we must take care the kinds of messages we send about the female body and it’s innate beauty. Shame and disdain for nudity in a tasteful display of woman that is not being tortured,solicited or attacked is unfortunate. Also, this is an $11 nail polish designed for Women not small children. Police your childs internet viewing as I do mine. In any case this is an obvious and simple situation for both parties involved:
    Koibox maybe rethink your next artsy visual piece as not to upset your more puritan customer base. Never be rude to a customer, no matter how right you think you are. Discuss the merits of your packaging and marketing,don’t land on someones head as if you have nothing to loose–You DO!!!.

    Lady:Find another nail polish site to visit,kiss your daughter and tell her she is going to become a beautiful woman regardless of what cosmetic she uses. Aim your anger and frustration at injustice and intolerances in the world.

    Bloggers: Try not to punish (boycott) someone infinitely, for a moments error in judgement.I am sure this guy is thinking he was an !@#$&*! idiot for saying what he said by now. It is obvious we all agree with that assessment,much to his dismay at this moment.

    Lastly everyone on both sides. Lighten up it’s just nail polish!!!